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What to Pack for Summer Orientation

Summer orientation is right around the corner, and it’s time to start packing! You have your clothes, hair dryer and toothpaste packed, but there are some things that you might forget to stuff in your suitcase. These items are essential to not only having a good time at orientation, but also getting the most out of your orientation experience.

1. A notebook and a pencil


There’s going to be a lot of information thrown at you during orientation. Move-in times, popular places to hang out, how to get to class and which classes to register for are only a fraction of the things you’ll want to remember when fall rolls around. Stuffing a small notebook and pencil or pen in your bag at the beginning of the day means you’ll have a way to jot down notes as orientation progresses.

“At my orientation I learned about where to register for my classes, where all the buildings for the different majors were and about the best ways to meet people on campus,” says Sara Kinsey, a freshman at City University of Seattle. “I brought a notebook with me and wrote down a lot of the information that I think other people missed. I’m happy I came prepared because I registered for my … fall term without a hitch!”

2. Comfy shoes


Orientation is going to include a lot of walking from the dorms to the cafeteria to the science building to the student center and all around again. If you don’t wear something with some support, your poor feet might give out on you! And as cute as those sandals you bought last week are, if they give you blisters, you might as well leave them at home.

“I didn’t think about the fact I would be walking around campus all day plus hanging out with new friends at night,” says Seraphina Yves, a junior at the University of California, Davis. “I wore new shoes and my feet were so sore, and I had blisters all over my heels the next day.”

Bring comfy (but adorable!) shoes that allow you to walk all day as you make new friends and start your new adventure!

3. Sunglasses


Find your cutest sunnies to protect you from the bright sunlight. You’re going to be outside most of the day, and you don’t want the glare of the summer sun blocking you from taking in your surroundings!

“Definitely keep a pair of sunglasses in your purse,” says Summer Orwell, a freshman at the University of Arizona.  “If I didn’t have mine on me at all times, I would go blind.”

4. Sunscreen


Be sure to protect your skin from the sun as well! “My orientation for school was the week before [class] started,” says Claire Bodosky, a freshman at the University of Texas at Austin. “It was definitely not fun starting my freshman year out with a blazing red sunburn and a farmer’s tan until November.”

Since you’ll be in the heat all day long under the hot summer sun, protecting your skin is really important. Put on sunscreen in the morning and reapply throughout the day to keep your skin a nice tan color instead of red.

5. An umbrella or a raincoat


It might be summer, but that doesn’t mean that the rain can’t come out and play. “Even though it was summer, I spent my entire orientation in the rain,” says Sarah Phillips, a student at the University of Oregon, “I didn’t even bring a jacket to protect myself! It was definitely was less fun being soaking wet as I walked around.”

Being absolutely drenched you while you’re trying to enjoy campus and your new classmates is going to ruin all your fun. Pack an umbrella or a raincoat to make sure you aren’t stuck in the middle of a rainstorm while checking out the quad.

6. Cleaning wipes


If you’re staying overnight, you’ll most likely be staying in the dorms. That means you’ll be sleeping where hundreds of other people have slept before you, which can be gross.

“I took travel-size Cottonelle Fresh Care Wipes (to clean down toilet seats if necessary),” says Nina Aghadjanian, a junior at the University of California, Irvine.  Sounds pretty smart, right?

7. Your ID


At orientation, you’ll most likely receive your student ID card for the year, and you’ll also likely be filling out important documents for the fall. That means you’ll need an ID of some sort (driver’s license, passport, etc.) to be able to fill out the forms.

“Before leaving for my orientation, I checked my school’s site and saw what they recommended bringing,” says Sonia Whittaker, a freshman at Rutgers University. “They asked for my driver’s license and my social security [card]. Had I not checked the site, I wouldn’t have even thought to bring my social security card.”

Your college will have a list of what documents you’ll need to bring, so make sure to look it up before you pack!

8. A blanket


Dorm blankets can be thin, so bringing an extra blanket can be incredibly helpful at night. Bring a pillow from home, too, so that you can be comfortable.

“I have a lot of trouble sleeping away from home, so I brought my pillow and blanket to make me feel better,” says Kelly Parker, a sophomore at Boston University. “It helped a lot with being in a new place.”

Sleeping in an unknown place can feel odd, so bringing those little comforts will make your time more comfortable and more like home.

9. Flip-flops


People are in and out of dorm showers all day, and that means a lot of gross stuff will be floating around on the floor. Protect your feet by wearing flip-flops in the shower.

“Whenever I see people in the showers without flip-flops on I get grossed out because there are so many germs,” says Jackie Harden, a freshman at the University of Oregon. “I definitely always wear my flip-flops.”


Summer orientation is going to be lots of fun, and you’ll meet people who will become great friends. But it’ll definitely be less fun if you don’t bring all the essentials! These items will make sure you maximize your experience (and don’t have aching feet for the entire trip).

Morgan Hegarty is a Journalism student at the University of Oregon and National Contributor Writer for Her Campus. Originally from sunny SoCal, Hegarty has lived in California, Oregon, and Colorado, resulting in her love for any climate. Ever since she was a wee little lady, Hegarty has loved writing. In primary school Hegarty was called "Harriet the Spy" by her teacher because she always could be found writing in the black composition notebook tucked under her arm. As time went on Hegarty would continue to write and decide to make a career of it, thus choosing the UO as the perfect school for her to become an accomplished writer for either magazines or web. Her interests include England (a lifelong obsession and a future study abroad), rock music, film (she loves British comedy), and playing around with various computer programs in her spare time. When she isn't headfirst in her studies she can be found either blogging or watching "The Carrie Diaries." Hegarty's writing endeavors include her own blog called "Teenage Enthusiasm" (her baby for three years now), a teen blogger for The Huffington Post, and her time here on Her Campus.
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