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Lexi Tokarski / Her Campus

Essentials Every Freshman Needs, But You Might Not Think to Buy

Freshman year is a lot to handle, and there are a lot of things you need to prepare for it. This year, there are obviously a lot more items needed– masks, extra cleaning supplies, thermometers for symptom tracking– but let’s take a few minutes to stop stressing about that and think about everything else college requires.

Even though the semester has already started, there are probably some essentials that you forgot to pick up, or maybe you didn’t even know that you needed. It’s not your fault– there is a pandemic preventing many of us from going about business as usual. Whether you’ve already moved into your dorm or not, think about picking some of these necessities up.


Even if you don’t have a kitchen, there are some kitchen-related essentials you’ll need for your dorm– especially now that COVID-19 is affecting dining hall hours and options! Definitely buy some microwaveable meals, snacks, and simple ingredients– like peanut butter and jelly– in case you get hungry but can’t make it to a dining hall.

If you’re a coffee addict but don’t want to drink coffee from Locke’s, save money with a Keurig. Starbucks will drain your bank account and you want to use that money for all of your dorm essentials! Utensils, bowls, and plates are important too because you’ll obviously need something to eat off of. Also, a reusable water bottle. 

Finally, a sponge and dish soap. Trust me, you don’t want to wash the things you use to eat with anything but dish soap.


I had a suite my freshman year, and there were a few things my suitemates and I bought that really helped us clean our bathroom. For example, if you have long hair, a vacuum or broom is a necessity– you wouldn’t believe how much hair will be on the floor every time you clean it. Other cleaning supplies, like wipes and toilet cleaner, are particularly important at the moment, as well as a first aid kit and cough drops. Also, invest in large packs of toilet paper, garbage bags, and hand soap.


You probably know all the basic needs– comforter, pillow, extra sheets– but have you considered the need for a mattress cover and topper? College mattresses are old, germy, and uncomfortable, but these will help make your bed cozier. Think about obtaining a husband pillow too, they make it easier to sit up in bed which is great for studying or reading.

If you have a lot of extra things to store but your bed doesn’t rise on its own, get bed risers. They’ll give you a lot more room for any extra shoes, snacks, and so on. Extension cords (so you can charge your phone in bed!), fans, desk hutches, and good slippers are fan favorites too!

School supplies

    I cannot stress enough the importance of a good planner or calendar of some kind– just something to lay all of your assignments and due dates out on. My personal taste is to use a planner and Google calendar so that I have all my homework assignments written down where I can check them off as I do them, as well as a way to check upcoming events right on my phone. Additionally, you want a laptop and backpack that will last four years at least. The MacBook Air and NorthFace backpack work great for me!

There are a lot of extra items you should keep in your backpack. For example, an umbrella or rain jacket. In college, you walk to class outside and it’s the worst when you have to show up to class wet. And if you’re on your period, be sure to have an emergency bag in case you or a friend have a slip-up!


    Other than studying and having amazing experiences, one of the most pertinent aspects of college life is self-care! After all, how can you do anything if you don’t take care of yourself? You might think that self-care is just about face masks, but there is so much more to it. Some self-care items that helped me mentally throughout my freshman year was my journal and my AirPods. Writing down all my thoughts and alleviating any stress with music was very beneficial. A childhood stuffed animal, an adult coloring book, a bathrobe, and essential oils are great too!


    There are certainly a lot of things to buy for college, as you can tell from this article. But the best thing to bring to college is something you can’t buy– a growth mindset. Allowing yourself to grow during your freshman year will change your outlook on life for the better. I was a completely different person one year ago, but I’ve changed in so many positive ways because I let myself go. If there is anything that you should pack for college, willingness to change for the better is it.

I hope this article helps you during your freshman year! As always, you can reach out to me via Instagram @jilleenbarrett or email me at jbarrett02@manhattan.edu.


Jilleen Barrett is a communication major with a minor in women's studies at Manhattan College. She is a member of various clubs, such as the school newspaper and Sigma Delta Tau. She loves running, baking, and going on bike rides around her neighborhood on Long Island. She is excited to be writing for HerCampus!
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