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Dorm Essentials: What I’ve Learned Almost a Month into Freshman Year

Going into this year as a freshman, I watched countless TikToks and Youtube videos about what I should bring; this list ranged from a vacuum to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Now, being almost a month in, I can give a list of ten essential things I think every college student needs.

  1. Items that Feel like Home

This is the most important one. Whether it is a blanket you can cuddle with at night or lay out on the quad with, a knick-knack from a trip, you need items that remind and feel like home. This is part of what helps your dorm feel like home during the transition period. For me, I brought a blanket I’ve had and used for years.

  1. MULTIPLE Outlet Cords

One won’t cut it. There are very limited outlets and they’re in awkward places. You need at least two outlet extension cords to plug all your chargers, etc. in. 

  1. Long Chargers

Especially for your phone, you want a 6-10 ft charger for that. Again, the outlets may be in weird, hard-to-reach places, so you want to make sure your phone can reach your bed while you’re watching your TikToks at night.

  1. Mesh Shower Caddy

A mesh shower caddy is the only way to do it. Do not get one of those bins. This way, you can hang it in the shower and don’t have to worry about it getting moldy since the water runs straight through it. In addition, mesh caddy’s tend to be bigger than the plastic ones, so all of your exfoliators, hair masks, shampoos and the like can fit comfortably.

  1. Drying Rack

Drying racks are great to hang up clothes you don’t want to ruin or shrink (jeans, delicate tops, sweatshirts, etc.). Also, if for some reason your laundry gets taken out early, thrown around, or is not fully dry because the load was massive (happens more than you think) you can just finish drying it on your rack.

  1. Vitamin C Pills

Sounds weird, but trust me, you do not want to get sick in college; you don’t have the comfort of your mom’s chicken noodle soup and cuddles. These pills will keep you from constantly getting sick and from getting really sick. As stated by the National Library of Medicine, “Vitamin C contributes to immune defense by supporting various cellular functions of both the innate and adaptive immune system.”

  1. Command Strips and Hooks

Seems self-explanatory, but I couldn’t not put them on the list. These are great for hanging photos, posters, purses, your backpack/bag, chargers, the list goes on. They also don’t ruin your wall.

  1. Variety of Snacks

I went in thinking that I wouldn’t really need snacks. Wrong. So wrong. Get a wide variety; granola bars, protein bars, Cheez-Its, Goldfish, fruits, vegetables, chocolate, and more. You will have many different moods, and will be very upset when you don’t have the snack you want and could’ve gotten but didn’t. You will also definitely want to pack snacks with you for in-between classes.

  1. Brita Insulated Water Bottle with a Filter

This saves you from having to get a water bottle and Brita filter separate. Get the one that has the filter in it and is insulated so you can just fill that up, knowing you are always drinking filtered water, and it stays cold.

  1. First Aid

Again, seems self-explanatory, but don’t forget the essentials: Advil, Tylenol, Excedrin (best migraine medicine), BandAids, Neosporin, hydrocortisone, allergy medicine, cough medicine and drops, maybe Dayquil and Nyquil, and that should just about cover it.

Side note: do not bring Tide Pods. Get the liquid detergent or powder. Tide Pods run the risk of not fully developing, therefore sticking to your clothes and ruining them.

Takeaways: practicality is key. You do not have much space at all, especially with a roommate, so don’t get too much. Get what you need, and try to focus things on the walls (for example: my purse and keys are on a hook on my wall). You can get storage items that are cute and save space and the look of clutter.

Kat Flanders

Lafayette '25

Freshman at Lafayette Majoring in International Fairs
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