What to Bring to College . . . and What to Leave at Home
by Nina Torres, SRA Class of 2008, Columbia University Class of 2012
It’s the big move-in day. You think you’ve brought everything. You have your toothbrush, laptop, bunny slippers… and then you realize you’ve forgotten the single most important article of dorm life: shower shoes.
Certain items seem like obvious necessities for moving somewhere new, but you have to remember that a successful college move-in requires unique considerations. It is important that you bring a lock for your computer (and your bicycle if you have one): laptops and bicycles are the items most frequently stolen on a college campus. For your dorm room, remember to buy long twin sheets for your bed, because most dorm beds are longer than the average twin. You may also want to buy bed risers to create more storage space under your bed. Extension cords and power strips are always good investments, because there’s no way to know how well you will be able to reach outlets in small rooms with a lot of furniture. A desk lamp is also usually a smart buy. If bathrooms are shared, you may want a shower caddy to put your supplies in.
And I wasn’t kidding about the shower shoes; they really are the single most important item to remember to bring with you. Some folks think there’s no problem with showering barefoot, but meningitis is a real issue in dorm bathrooms and a pair of flip flops is a cheap and easy solution to what could otherwise become a serious problem.
As for what you shouldn’t bring, I advise against bringing any of your own furniture. Dorm rooms tend to be pretty small, especially your freshman year, and odds are, you just won’t have the space. I also think that unless you really feel you need your private TV time, televisions are not worth bringing. Most dorms have TVs in common areas and you’re not likely to need one in your room as well.
If you plan on bringing your own wireless router, consider carefully. It was a major problem on my campus because there were a lot of people who thought it might be clever to have their own internet. Though every college is different, there is a good chance that the campus provides wireless for you, and if that is the case, bringing your own router will disrupt the wireless that other students are using. Find out if your college provides wireless internet, and if they do, please respect those who depend on it by leaving your own router at home.