New College Students Have Tendency To Over-Pack

| August 10, 2012 | 0 Comments | Education

Students who can transition easily to the college lifestyle are more likely to do better in school. Rather than overpacking, shop smarter, thinking about what is light and mobile.

It’s that time of year again for school to start. Even if you’re not a fan of school, you’re probably excited to start your first year of college.

With the excitement comes a bit of anxiety, especially on the parents’ part. I know my mom was not pleased to see me go. Luckily for her I’m close to home as I attend George Mason University. But don’t let being close to home discourage you. Most of my friends at GMU are jealous that I can come home whenever I want, and several of my friends transferred schools to be closer to home.

Anyway, whether you’re going near or far, I have a bit of advice for you – do not over-pack. People have a tendency to do this. Bed Bath & Beyond, Target, and other stores big on back to school offer a variety of enticing items that scream, “You need me to survive!” This is generally not the case. Be wary of over-packing. My suggestion is to pack the necessities, move into your dorm, and survey the area. How big is the dorm room? Can you fit more stuff inside? Do you need the seven different pillows, four different storage units, and three boxes of microwave popcorn? Probably not.

There are places to shop near your college. You don’t have to pack up your van and your car to carry all your stuff to campus. Pack the necessities, assess the situation, and then go out and buy the stuff you forgot you would need, such as extra toothbrushes. I know Bed Bath & Beyond allows you to buy stuff at the location near you and then pick it up at the store near your college. GMU is offering a Back to Campus Event where students are taking over the nearby Target from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. Students can hop on the free shuttle service to do some last minute shopping, and maybe meet some new friends as well.

Most colleges should have some sort of packing list, and they have a list of prohibited items. GMU’s packing list includes items for bed, bath, closet/laundry, walls/décor (something you can get after you arrive at the dorm), desk and school supplies, electronics, kitchen (most freshmen dorms don’t have kitchens), and miscellaneous such as an umbrella. I highly suggest investing in a good umbrella and some rain boots or rain jacket, unless of course you’re going to college in Arizona. Rain can get pretty heavy, especially when you have to walk to every class and sit with wet shoes.

As far as laundry goes, I would suggest a good laundry bag that you can wear like a backpack or one with some sort of strap or a heavy-duty drawstring. My first laundry bag fell apart before the first semester ended. Also, I would definitely bring Purex Complete 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets. Two of the girls I became close friends with during my freshman year were from Portugal. One of the funniest moments was watching them do laundry. They would lug their clothes out in suitcases and try to balance their detergent, softener, and dryer sheets all on top of their suitcases. My friend Yasemin would yell, “This detergent weighs 5 Kilos!” (a little over 10 pounds for us Americans). I offered them some of my Purex Laundry Sheets, and they couldn’t believe how simple and lightweight they were. The girls would then drag all of their stuff halfway across the residence area to get to a laundry room, when there was one right across from us. So, make sure you know where the closest laundry room is!

And again, if you forget any of these items, I know GMU had boxes for the residents to grab that included a small packet of laundry detergent, shampoo, deodorant, and other essentials.

GMU suggests you talk with your roommates and decide who is going to bring what – there just isn’t enough room for each roommate to bring his own fridge. However, I highly stress that you only share a few items: microwave, fridge, and that’s about it.

Regardless of where the campus is located, campus life is a lot like city life. Students will be walking to and from campus most of the time, not taking a car, so less is more, and outerwear is essential!

Hanna’s Suggestion List:

  • Comforter
  • Extra-long twin sheets
  • Pillows
  • Towels
  • Toiletries (shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste)
  • Shower caddy or tote
  • Shower shoes
  • Robe (if you don’t want to walk around in a towel)
  • Hangers
  • Purex Complete 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets (I say Purex because I’m not aware of another brand)
  • Laundry bag
  • Backpack
  • Calendar or planner
  • Pens, pencils, etc
  • Trashcan
  • Paper, notebook
  • Laptop (I don’t suggest bringing a computer unless you’re a big gamer)
  • Printer
  • Radio/Stereo/Alarm Clock (make sure you have a good alarm clock or have your mom call you to make sure you’re up for class)
  • Mini fridge
  • Small microwave
  • Surge protector
  • Umbrella
  • First-aid kit

(There are other items that are necessary such as a stapler, organizational shelves/containers, wall décor such as posters, Command™ strips, a flashlight, etc but you can survive a few nights without these things and should go shopping once you move-in.)

© 2012, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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