Okay, so I was one of those freshmen who brought way too much to college, but there's something to be said for being over-prepared. My reputation for "having it all" got around the dorm quickly, and I met quite a few people thanks to my over-preparedness. After all, you'd be surprised how many people tried to open their first can of spaghetti-o's, only to find that -- uh oh -- they didn't have a can opener. And who knew the lemon juice I'd brought to highlight my hair with would so appeal to the drinking crowd?By Lisa Koosis
Okay, so I was one of those freshmen who brought way too much to college, but there's something to be said for being over-prepared. My reputation for "having it all" got around the dorm quickly, and I met quite a few people thanks to my over-preparedness. After all, you'd be surprised how many people tried to open their first can of spaghetti-o's, only to find that -- uh oh -- they didn't have a can opener. And who knew the lemon juice I'd brought to highlight my hair with would so appeal to the drinking crowd?
My personal arsenal aside, what should you really take with you for your freshman year? I think I'll start with what not to bring: For one thing, forget the shower sandals that your mother will recommend to save you from catching a variety of heinous, foot-transmitted diseases. You'll bring them, and the only thing they'll be useful for is killing flies. Trust me on this. You'll never wear them. Don't bring anything breakable. That includes your mom's good crystal and your goldfish bowl. Dorms get rough. Nothing breakable will last more than a week, and I know you'd hate to see your beloved goldfish lying in a puddle on the floor. Most importantly, don't bring anything of any significant value. Leave your diamonds and rubies at home. Even if you're great about locking your door regularly, your roommate may not be. Things get stolen.
Okay, that said, there are some absolute must-brings when you go off for your first year of school...
If your school allows it, by all means bring a microwave and hot pot. In most colleges, the school food is about the worst you will ever taste --unless you like tofu burgers, that is. My freshman year at college there was a food service by the name of SAGA. My fellow students had fondly nicknamed the service "Savage Attempt to Gag Americans". It was very aptly named. You'll also be surprised how many creative meals you can make with these two appliances. I even baked a cake in my microwave. Along those lines, bring eating utensils -- at least one complete set (fork, spoon, knife). You'd be surprised how many people cook their first in-dorm meal and have to eat it with their fingers. (Note on this: some freshmen prefer to eat with their fingers.) A refrigerator is also a must. You're better off buying one rather than renting. Over the course of three semesters worth of refrigerator rent, you could have bought one anyway.
Bring a comfortable pillow and blankets. Your dorm bed will be uncomfortable. This is practically guaranteed -- so bring whatever you can bring to make it more comfortable for you. Invest in 4 cement blocks to raise your bed up. Dorms are notoriously small and this will give you plenty of extra room. This also makes a great hiding place, especially if you have an illegal pet in your room.
Buy yourself one of those erasable message boards for your door. It will probably be one of the most useful investments you'll make over the course of your dorm-stay. This is the standard college way of communicating with someone who is not home. If you don't have one, you won't get your phone messages. I can almost guarantee this. My roommate and I also used to use the markers to leave notes for each other on our mirrors. And on a fun note, the washable markers make great stained-glass window art. Just make sure to assure your Head Resident that they are, indeed, washable.
Bring lots of stamps and stationary. Bring comfortable walking shoes. Girls should make sure to have a jacket with lots of pockets -- campuses aren't conducive to constantly carrying pocketbooks. Bring a fan -- sometimes the heat in the dorms gets unbearable. From what I've heard, this is typical of many campuses.
Most importantly, bring your sense of humor and adventure. All kidding aside, college is one of the best times in your life. Just be prepared to have fun, and to improvise. You'll get good at this during your freshman year. And as long as you have your trusty can opener, what more could you really need?
Lisa Koosis is an author on http://www.Writing.Com/ which is a site for Creative Writers, where she keeps her online portfolio.
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