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10 Essential Items You Will Need in College

Freshman year of college is a big transition, and it's best to be prepared. Although you were told to pack light, there are some items you will definitely need to keep yourself comfortable, healthy, and happy. Here are ten essential items you will need for a successful freshman year at Dartmouth! 

Heavy comforter or duvet

Late October to November in Hanover gets very cold, very fast. While a light blanket might work fine for the early weeks of September, you will need a comforter or duvet to keep you warm and cozy during the colder months.

Warm winter coat

Invest in a warm, good-quality winter coat because Hanover gets cold early. You will need the coat during the second half of fall term, the first half of spring term, and throughout any winter term you experience in the future. You will spend more time wearing this coat than any other outfit you’ve packed, so choose wisely.

Snow boots

The first snow in Hanover is usually sometime between Halloween and Thanksgiving, and you should have your snow boots prepared. One time I ran to class without wearing snow boots, and I wiped out on ice and fell on my face. Learn from my mistakes. Get snow boots.

Laptop and charger

A laptop is the most essential item on any college packing list. Since most of your school work will be done on your laptop, make sure your laptop is of good quality and is not prone to crashing or freezing. Your laptop should be light enough to carry yet big enough to stare at comfortably for long periods of time. It should also have a webcam and microphone.

Flash drive

There will be times when you need to transfer files from a school/library computer to your laptop or vice versa. It is also a good idea to save copies of your school work to a flash drive in case your laptop crashes (it’s every college student’s worst nightmare to have their laptop crash while writing a final paper and lose all the work they’ve done).

Calendar and/or planner

College life is busy! You will find yourself juggling classes, appointments, club meetings, and social events, and it’s super important to keep yourself organized. Record your scheduled events in a calendar and write down your daily tasks in a planner to keep track of everything you need to do.

Noise-cancelling headphones or earbuds

College life is also noisy. There will be times when your neighbors are blasting music or being rambunctious and you need to sleep or study. There will be times when you want to watch videos or listen to music when others are sleeping or studying. Noise-cancelling headphones are a lifesaver.

Bathroom tote/caddy

If you are sharing a hall bathroom with other students, don’t leave your toiletries in the bathroom (hall bathrooms are not the cleanest of places). Place your toiletries, such as toothbrush, toothpaste, cleanser, washcloth, and pads/tampons, in a bathroom tote to conveniently transport them to and from the bathroom.

Reusable water bottle

Most students carry water bottles with them in their backpacks and refill them at water fountains in the library, cafeteria, or other buildings. Reusable water bottles keep you hydrated all day long while they’re also good for the environment.

Face masks

In the era of COVID-19, wearing a face mask is essential to keeping yourself and others safe. I would recommend cloth face masks because they are more comfortable and better for the environment than disposable ones. Though, remember to wash them frequently to keep them clean. Hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes are good items to have as well.

I hope you've found this list helpful in determining what you will need for college. Don't worry if you haven't brought all of these things-- there is plenty of time to shop in stores (after quarantine) or online. Hope you have an amazing freshman year!

Emily Wang

Dartmouth '22

I am an economics major and English minor at Dartmouth. In my free time, I enjoy music, creative writing, and photography, as well as going on scenic walks, watching rom-coms with friends, and reading psychological thrillers.
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