Ah, a new semester. Time to pack up, kiss your sobbing mom goodbye, shake your dad’s hand and pretend not to notice the manly tear in the corner of his eye. Next, load your car with the stuff you need for the next few months of school.
But let’s not get too carried away. Naturally, you have your iPod, your iPad, your laptop and your cell phone in case any redundancy in music and communication was not covered. You’re wired and ready for the new semester, right? Sure. But, here are a few things no college student should be without.
1. A new wardrobe/persona
In high school, you stuck with your group of BFFs and dressed as they did to avoid social ostracization, a fate worse than death for most high school students. But the drama and gang-like loyalty to cliques is much more relaxed in college. Now, hopefully, you will make new friends. With the fleeting lifestyle of the typical college student, there is little time to form a pretentious clique, unless you join a fraternity or sorority, in which case the conformity is built-in with uniform T-shirts.
Explore your new college fashion self. Go to the clothing store and purchase that skirt you were too scared to wear in high school. Reinvent yourself. It’s therapeutic and acceptable in this atmosphere.
While you’re out exploring your redesigned self, pick up a pair of sweats. You will most likely gain that infamous “Freshman 15.” Now that your metabolism is aging and Mom isn’t around to make you eat your vegetables anymore, you will most likely start packing on some pounds. It’s normal, and unless you’re “that person” who wakes up at 6 a.m. every morning to jog and eat an apple before heading out to your first class, you’ll most likely start looking a little less like a cute high school kid and a little more like Danny Devito. Embrace it; buy the sweats. Or get off your lazy butt and start jogging in the morning.
Yes, quarters. A college student is practically required to plug quarters into everything to keep things moving along. You’ll need quarters for the washing machine (and the dryer), the soda machine so you can fuel your caffeine-powered lifestyle between classes, to fuel the air pump when your jalopy gets a flat tire, and — for the age-appropriate college students — to bounce into beer cups and chug away. You don’t have to wear a fanny pack wherever you go, but it’s always a good idea to make sure you have a decent amount of quarters.
4. Mini fridge
Especially if you’re going to live in the dorms, a mini fridge is invaluable. When you come home after a long day of hardcore learning, it’s nice to flop on your bed and pull a cold soda out of a mini fridge nearby. A mini fridge is a little pricey for the average college student, but it will pay for itself after a short time.
5. Pictures of the family
For many freshmen, college is the first time they leave the comfort of their parent’s home to try their hand at independence.
Even though it’s the day you may have anticipated for years, once you’re out and doing your thing for a while, you might find yourself missing mommy’s kisses. Take some pictures of the family with you. Put them in your room to remind yourself you have love and support when things get rough. Because, if this is the first time you’ve had to pay your own bills, it will get rough. Don’t worry, be happy. Mommy and Daddy still love you.
6. A good alarm clock
You’re on your own. You have a social life. For those nights when you go out against your better judgment, knowing you have an early-morning class you shouldn’t skip, make sure you have a decent alarm clock. Make sure it has a back-up battery and is loud enough with the right kind of ring so you will drag your booty out of bed and into class. With a good alarm clock, you have no excuse to not go to class, other than if you’re just lazy.
7. Power strip
Get a power strip for your room. If you’re lucky, you’ll have a lamp, a TV, a laptop, an iPod, a cell phone and a mini fridge or whatever electric devices you deem worthy enough to accompany you to college. If you’re in the dorm, you’ll only have one or two plugs for all your precious electronics. Get a power strip so you can stay connected.
8. Dry erase board
Yeah, dry erase boards are for nerds, but you’re in college, so you are most likely kind of nerdy. Get a dry erase board so you can easily see how your social life, college academia and work schedule will fit together. It’s easy to see, easy to edit and if you’re creative, pleasing to the eye. It’s crucial for college students to stay organized. It’s easy to fall behind and if you do, it’s really hard to get back on top of things.
9. Plastic stackable storage
This is a cheap, easy way to store your stuff. Most college students can’t afford the nice mahogany dresser and the room with a walk-in closet. If you keep the color scheme of your room in mind when you buy the plastic bins, you can make it stylish as well as affordable. Then college students you wish to romanticize will applaud your efficiency and style, and you will be a huge hit on campus. There’s no down side, really.
10. Let go of your inner pack rat
Just let it go. Your football trophies, the scrapbook you and your girlfriends made to commemorate your super strong friendship, the movie ticket stub from that date with the hottest guy/girl in your high school, all of it. Just let it go. Leave unnecessary items in your parents’ storage because you won’t have room in your dorm or apartment. If you don’t absolutely need it, leave it behind. It’ll still be there when you visit home, and it will just get in the way at college. Also, leave your collection of bracelets you wore as a little girl with your mom.