10 Surprising Things You Need To Take To A College Dorm

For me, the weirdest part of going away to college was packing all of my stuff and then seeing everything I thought I needed in life in boxes in the back of my mom’s car. Make no mistake: packing for a long period of time is hard. Everyone tells you about the basic life staples you need to bring alone, but there are some other surprising things you need to take to college that aren’t talked about as often. Some of these things will end up being your favorite items there! Sure, you’ll remember towels, sheets, and your laptop, but you don’t want to live in a space where it’s just school supplies and home goods. Giving your room more personality and bringing who you are with you to college is easier than it sounds or feels.

Of course you don’t want to over pack and wind up as one of those people on freshman move-in day who shows up with a U-Haul (thinking about it? Don’t be that person), but there are some things you might not be thinking about that you’re going to miss when they’re gone. Don’t forget, most of your life’s mementoes are technically your parents possessions, so you might need to stock up on your own supply or make your own. Some things can be shared with your roommate for sure, but there are some special home touches that’ll make college feel more livable. These 10 items in particular need to come with you. Keep an eye out for them now so you’re all set to go in August when you start packing.

Old Halloween Or Dance Costumes

You're going to attend a surprising amount of theme parties in college. No one preplans these things and makes a calendar so you're prepared in September, so it's best to bring what you have already and hope for the best. Even old t-shirts can do well in a pinch if you need to cut or dye something in order to turn it into something else. On top of that, if you're really into making your own costumes, in college you're prone to get stuff spilled on you, so it's best that you probably bring something old or that's okay to get a little messy. Also, when's the last time you had a dress up box? So fun! What's not to love about that?

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Your Senior Yearbook

High school is so behind you, right? Why would you bother bringing your yearbook? Believe it or not, it's actually useful. It's a super great reference tool when you're talking about your home friends and you want to show your new college buddies where you came from. The things people write will be awkward in hindsight eventually and yearbooks are awesome. And even though you'll hate to admit it, it'll be good when you're feeling homesick and lonely. It's okay, no one's going to judge you.

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Over The Counter Medication

Nothing sucks more than getting sick for the first time when you're far away from your family. On top of not having your parents there to take care of you, you're also going to be without their stockpiled medicine cabinet to fix what ails you. They don't need to be high quantities or name brand, but it's worth stocking up before you head out of your parents' house for months on end. Future sick you will thank you.

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Sports Gear And Active Wear

Footballs, basketballs, yoga mats, whatever active hobby accessories you have, bring them with you to college. You don't have to be particularly good at them or serious about it, but they're going to come in handy when you want them. They can make for fun activities to do with new friends who you're still getting to know. Your school will probably provide some of these things, but there's no guarantees. Bring your own!

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Formal Wear And Business Casual Attire

Special occasions come up in college. Rushing Greek life might mean a series of formals in your future. Taking a business class may require you to wear business casual attire for a presentation. A friend may ask you to be a plus one to their cousin's wedding. Have one or two outfits on hand in case anything comes up and you need to be a little more formally dressed for the occasion. Instead of having to run out and buy an outfit because yours is at home, you're going to wind up saving money as well. Formal wear isn't exactly cheap.

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Photos Of Your Friends And Family

I'm talking about hard copy, printed out, framed and displayed photos... not just pictures living in your phone to whip out and display when a new friend asks who your home bestie is. Prints are super cheap and you can get all of the cute frames you need on Etsy. There are tons of cute ways to display photos that aren't frames if you're still resistant, but it's going to up your room decor game and keep you close to the ones you love.

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Board Games And Card Games

Cards Against Humanity and Apples to Apples are my personal favorite, but in college we all DIY'ed a truth or dare Jenga out of a blank set. I totally forget who's set that was, but we were all super thankful it was there. No one knows what people are going to latch on to. No one thinks they're ever going to want to sit down and play a game either, but you'll be surprised. Bring it anyway.

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A Musical Instrument

I lived for impromptu jam sessions in college and I didn't even play an instrument then. You don't have to be a pro, but even if you want to bring your violin you've been playing since middle school, bring it. Music is about collaboration and playing with your friends is the most fun. Of course, no one wants to be that stereotypical guitar playing douche, but you can bring your guitar without being obnoxious. It doesn't even matter if you're still learning how to do it. Do you. Anyway, here's "Wonderwall."

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An Outdoor Blanket

Quads: outdoor grassy spaces to lounge, read, study, and snack on. I love a good outdoor space, but your clothes aren't going to love being so near the ground all the time. You'll bring blankets to college, but you aren't going to feel good about putting Grandma's special hand-knit blanket on the dirty ground over and over. A nice weatherproof blanket is going to be your lifesaver and new best friend. Trust me on this one. No one likes having a soggy mud-butt the whole rest of the day.

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A Small Safe Deposit Box

You may need to carry some important documents or papers with you to college like your birth certificate, passport, car title, or social security card. While college is a great time to meet new people, there's also going to be a whole lot of people poking around common areas. Most people leave their room doors open when they're out socializing in the dorm. It's better to be safe than sorry. There are some fairly affordable non-intense lock-and-key or combination safe deposit boxes that can be tucked away in a drawer and not be a giant glaring bank safe under your bed.

Source: iStock

What do you want to bring to college? Did we forget anything important? What should we include? Let us know in the comments!

You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.


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