This post will show you the college essentials you didn’t know you needed.
You got in to college! Congratulations! Now what, though?
Sometimes it feels like your entire life has been leading up to getting into college. In high school, you probably didn’t spend much time thinking about what to do after — I mean, getting in to college is hard enough. But as an incoming senior, I can tell you that the real excitement starts now and I guess so does the real work.
In college, you get to do things on your own. And sometimes you HAVE to do things on your own.
So, it’s easy to forget a lot of things your parents may have always figured out for you: ironing your clothes, taking care of you when you’re sick, etc. And also, things that you probably shouldn’t forget.
The Ultimate (Free!) College Packing List
Wondering what to bring to college? Check out our complete guide to everything — and we mean EVERYTHING — you need to bring to college.
But that’s where I come in.
As an incoming senior, I’ve been around the block a few times, more times than I’d like to admit. And while I would love to turn back the clock, take my own advice and redo three of my favorite years, I can’t, so I’ll settle for passing down some knowledge.
Packing for college is overwhelming. Especially your first time around at move-in day. It’s a real balancing act of whether you’re bringing too much stuff or not enough.
But no need to stress anymore, because I’ve got you covered. Here’s everything you might not have thought you needed to bring to college, but trust me, you’ll find yourself in need of it once you’re there.
Related reading: 15 Target College Essentials I Always Throw Into My Cart
Styling your hair in college often ends up being a 5-minute time window from the moment you finish your homework to the time when your friends are going out. So you need the tools that will help you get ready in that timeframe.
My Revlon hair dryer is my favorite thing in the world and an absolute college essential. I don’t need to style my hair, or curl it or straighten it, it’s a one step process. A hair salon at home.
You may think you don’t need to iron your clothes, I mean what would you even need to iron? But the satin slip dress trend will prove you wrong. While it is the reason I bought a steamer, I end up using this invaluable piece of equipment at least twice a month.
When you’re going to a party or more importantly a job interview, you don’t want wrinkly clothes. And you won’t be able to just call your parents to come iron your outfit, so that’s where a steamer will come in handy.
Trust me, soon you’ll be everyone’s go-to person in your friend group when they need something to be wrinkle-free.
Don’t be that girl who spends $5 a day on coffee. I was that girl and that girl almost went broke.
Coffees in college will add up, so instead invest in a good coffee machine like a Keurig to save you hundreds of dollars a month. What’s the alternative? Quit coffee? Are you insane?
In college there are a few things you need handy: college ID card, government ID, credit card, local ice cream shop punch card. But a big wallet isn’t easy to carry around for a quick store run, and it’s hard to carry with you to parties or in your backpack.
A small ID wallet fits in every bag, is easy to put in your pocket, cute to carry around, and convenient for grabbing the cards you need constantly. Trust me, no one carries cash around anyways. This one is 100% a college essential.
Eye Mask for Sleep
Take it from me: Universities aren’t investing a lot of money into their blinds. If you don’t want to be woken up every day at, like, 7 am, an eye sleeping mask is essential.
This is not even to mention that if you have a roommate you’ll be on different schedules and will likely have different sleeping habits. Trust me, this one will come in handy. Soon enough you won’t be able to sleep without it.
Dorms are not the cleanest environments, and I’m pretty sure that’s the reason I got sick 7 times my freshman year. The whole ventilation system of the place is not ready to house a bunch of college students with terrible eating and sleep habits.
An air purifier is a college essential that can help you with sleeping, concentration, and just actually feeling like your dorm is your home.
I didn’t get a rug for so long, because I didn’t want to deal with cleaning it, but the moment I did, my room instantly became cozier.
Not to mention, it’s a lot easier to get out of bed when you know your feet won’t hit the cold floor. This means you might actually make it to those 8 am classes. See? Rugs help you do better in school.
As a freshman, the excitement of college and going to classes is the most pressing thing at the moment, and understandably so. But soon enough you’ll start having to think about why you’re in college and what you’re studying for. So, when you start applying to jobs, you’ll need that blazer your mom insisted you take to college. (Yup, she was right, as usual.)
A black blazer is a classic and will likely go with most of your outfits, so invest in a timeless style you can use for your long and successful career.
First Aid Kit
When you have a cold or a headache, you won’t be able to ask your parents to take care of you. You’ll have to be your own doctor and have your own little cabinet full of medications. You may not need a cabinet but at least a few medications to help you out in a time of need. Or, just buy this first aid kit and be set.
Picture of Your Family
Trust me, this is actually the first thing you should pack. You might be focused on getting the cutest wall decor on Redbubble, but don’t forget a picture of home and a photo frame to keep it close to you for those first few months that are the hardest.
What are your college essentials?
Three years later and I still have all of these items and don’t give these situations a second thought. The summer going into college is a mix of excitement and nerves, but most of all it can be a little overwhelming.
Above all else, don’t get too hung up on what you should or shouldn’t take, if you forget something it’s not the end of the world. If you take too much stuff, you’ll be like everyone else in college trying to find space in a 4×4 to fit all your clothes.
For more on moving to college, see our guide, The Best Packing Hacks to Make Moving So Much Easier.
What is something you never use? What’s your one advice to incoming freshmen? Let us know!