In our last article, we talked about the different options and facilities available to you if you chose to live on campus. In this part, we will help you to preempt the challenges you may face if you decide to live on campus.
Be Mentally Prepared
Like we said, your experience depends on how prepared you are and how well you learn to cope with all the challenges of living away from home and sharing your space with hundreds of students. You will almost definitely be dealing with a small (possibly shared) living space. That space will be where you do spend most of your time, doing everything from sleeping and eating, to studying and playing games. You will no longer have the luxury of different rooms for different purposes as you did at home. Everything you do will be done in that small area. So it is crucial to be prepared for that change, both emotionally and with what you pack.
What To Bring?
Since this space will be your sanctuary for the foreseeable future, how you equip it can determine what kind of experience you have. We have broken down our list to help you organize your luggage better:
It is important to bring the basics, such as clothes you will be wearing every day to class. Make sure that these are presentable and decent. While you don’t have to go to class in formalwear, it is a good idea to not look unkempt and show up in your pyjamas either. Also, pack at least one set of formal clothes for presentations, interviews, and other important formal events. It is also important to bring comfortable clothing that you can lounge around in. T-shirts, shorts and hoodies have become the college uniform for students relaxing outside class. Don’t forget to bring enough underwear, socks, and shoes also. Since you will be in charge of your own laundry, make sure you have packed enough so that you aren’t wearing dirty clothes to class at the last minute because you forgot to do laundry.
A toothbrush is perhaps the most forgotten item in packing, whether it is for an overnight stay or when you are moving. Also try to remember to bring other toiletries, such as your favorite shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, hair products, and whatever else you consider essential. You may or may not find these things around your campus, and it is always important to check so that you aren’t left with damaged hair as you try out a new hair product.
It is good to remember that you are going to university to study, so you do need to bring in the essentials, including notebooks or notepads, stationery, your laptop (and its charger!), and other supplies (maybe a foreign language dictionary?) that you require.
Now that we’ve sorted out the mundane (but crucial) basics, let’s get on to the important things that many students forget to consider.
Decorating your dorm room is key. The first thing you should do when you get to your dorm is to make it livable and home-y. This room will be your safe haven, your home, for the next one to four years. It is a good idea to make sure it is somewhere you feel comfortable. The key to decorating and organizing small spaces is to think vertically and utilize odd spaces. You will have very little space to work with, so using shelves on your desks, walls or cupboards to store more items and put up more decorations will help. Under your bed is a great space to store your luggage, cleaning supplies or other things you don’t need around you daily.
Another important part of decorating your room is to bring color into the space. Put up photos, posters, colorful bed covers, rugs, lamps and other memorabilia that reminds you of your home, friends, and family. A comfortable living space that feels like home is crucial in adjusting to living away from home. Decorating isn’t just for girls. This room will be your corner–the place you will deal with horrible fights, brain-numbing assignments, and emotionally draining days from. Make sure it can re-energize you on bad days.
Most dorms will have restaurants or cafeterias in the building or nearby, on campus. However, don’t forget to store some breakfast items in your room for the times you don’t have a morning class and don’t feel like getting ready and going all the way to the cafeteria. It is also good to have a bite on hand for those days where you’re running late and you need to eat your breakfast while you’re getting ready. Even more importantly, always have your favorite snacks stocked in your room. Not only are they a afternoon necessity but they make all-nighters and study sessions much more bearable.
It is important to keep your room clean. A dirty room can not only lead to insects and bugs, but it can also dirty your clean laundry, give your clothes and belongings a nasty smell, or even make you the joke (or outcast) of the dorms. Cleaning supplies we recommend for students include a dry mop (which can help you sweep and mop your room), a microfiber cleaning cloth (to help wipe your tables and windows), a cleaning solution that smells nice (which will work for both moping your floors and wiping your windows and other surfaces). Also good to remember is laundry detergent and a nice-smelling softener, and a basket or container to store all your cleaning supplies.
Most Forgotten Items
In all the hectic packing and preparing, there are many things you won’t realize you’ve missed until you need them. Here are some of the most forgotten items that you should pack:
An alarm clock: While your phone may be part of your regular waking up routine, there is no substitute for an alarm clock, especially when you can’t find your charger and your phone is out of charge.
Medicines: University health centers are great for colds and getting out of class. But, for late night upset stomachs and period cramps, having your own stock of medicines and supplements you usually require is quite helpful.
Hangers: You may prefer to fold your clothes, but it is always a good idea to have more hangers on hand than you need, especially if you suddenly realize you need formal wear for the morning and prefer to iron it the night before.
Forks, Spoons and Containers: The cafeteria will provide you with cutlery, but you will also have to return it. It is a good idea to have at least one set of your own plates, forks, spoons, and containers for when you want to eat in your room, or even cook. (We’ll cover Kitchen Essentials in another part of the Dorm Survival Guide.)
Cleaning supplies: As we mentioned before, many students forget that they are in charge of cleaning their own living space, and it is important to be prepared.
Multi-outlet extension cords: These are the most underrated items by students until you start living in your room. But once you realize that one or two power outlets are not enough for all your electronics and lights, or that you have no sockets next to your bed and need to sit by the door to use your phone as its charging, you will wish that you’d brought at least two of these.