Move-In Day Mysteries - How to Survive TCNJ Move-In Day

Moving into college begs a lot of different questions, ranging from ‘what do I pack’ to ‘what is my roommate going to be like?’ And even though not all of these questions can be answered before you arrive, this article serves to answer some of the major questions that incoming freshman may have, as well as pose some questions you may want to think about before arriving. 

1. Roommates

When talking to your roommate before arriving to campus there are a few necessary things you may want to discuss. It’s important to share your thoughts, so that living together goes as smoothly as possible.

As a person without any major food allergies, the thought that I might have to be conscientious of certain foods didn’t even cross my mind. I recommend that if your roommate has any major allergies you discuss the extent to which the allergy occurs and if you will be able to accommodate each other. Be honest with your roommate from the start as TCNJ is very helpful with rearranging living circumstances if you cannot work around an allergy. 

A few of the questions on your roommate agreement include details such as the temperature of the room, what can and cannot be brought in the room, rules for outside guests, and sleeping schedules. Even though college may change some of your preferences as you adapt, it’s a good idea to discuss what you are accustomed to. Additionally, I recommend writing down all of the items you agree upon because when you get to college you will be required to fill out an official roommate agreement. You should also talk about the physical setup of your room including furniture arrangements, decorations, and accessories. Some examples include fans, water pitchers, nightstands, curtains, and cleaning supplies. Be sure to work out who will buy what or if you are going to split the cost of each item so that you don’t end up with unnecessary duplicates.

Just don’t forget that it is a shared living space. Think about your daily routine and how this is going to affect the other person. When my roommate first asked what the policy for changing in front of each other was, I was completely caught off guard having not thought about it before that point. I recommend going through your daily routine and thinking about possible problems and solutions to discuss ahead of time. 

2. Communal Bathrooms

One of the most dreaded things about most dorms are the communal bathrooms. People often worry about getting ready in the morning, trying to find a stall/shower, or just not having a private bathroom. But as a student who uses communal bathrooms, I’m here to tell you that it is not as bad as you imagine. Foremost, morning routines usually occur at the sink in your room and don’t require going to the bathroom in the morning. However, when you do have to use the communal bathroom, know that they are cleaned daily. There is also a rare chance that every stall/shower is taken at once; the bathroom is often completely empty. Additionally, if there are any problems, it is possible that your floor has a group chat to discuss such issues and find remedies. Don’t let the thought of having a communal bathroom worry you too much, as they are usually not as bad as you may think. 

3. Packing

When it came time to pack, I combined multiple lists to make my own (I will provide this list below). Some items such as fans, a drying rack, closet/underbed storage, and a power strip are important to have early on, however, being a student now, I realize that you don’t need everything on the list all at once as it is usually easy to get items shipped to your dorm. Additionally, not all of these items apply to everyone, so I recommend moving in and seeing what is required before over purchasing. For example, I was nervous about not having a rug or nightstand before coming to school. However, once I arrived, I realized that with the setup of our room neither is required and we saved money.

With all of the questions running through your head, just keep in mind that any issues can be remedied and college is meant to be a delightful opportunity for you to accomplish amazing things!


  • Bedside lamp

  • Alarm clock/clock radio

  • Mini trash can

  • Storage bins

  • Under-the-bed storage trays

  • Desk lamp

  • Fan

  • Drying rack for laundry

  • Bulletin board and pushpins

  • Dry-erase wall calendar/board

  • Mini toolkit (including screwdriver, hammer, wrench)

  • Picture hangers (double-sided tape for concrete walls)

  • Power Strip

  • Hangers

  • Bulbs

Linens/Laundry Supplies

  •  Sheets and pillowcases (2 sets. Check with college for size needed — some college twin beds are extra long.)
  • Towels (3 each of bath, hand and face)

  • Pillows (2)

  • Mattress pad (check with college for size needed)

  • Blankets (2)

  • Comforter/bedspread

  • Clothes hangers

  • Laundry bag/basket

  • Laundry detergent, fabric softener and stain remover

  • Lint brush

  • Mini sewing kit

  • Stain Stick

  • Mattress Cover

Office/Desk Supplies

  • Electronic storage media such as memory cards and USB flash drives

  • Stapler and staples

  • Printer paper (if you decide to bring a printer)

  • Pens and pencils

  • Pencil holder and sharpener

  • Notebooks

  • Folder with pockets

  • Labels of various sizes

  • 3 × 5 index cards

  • Sticky notes

  • Paper clips and binder clips

  • Rubber bands

  • Tape

  • Scissors

  • Highlighter pens (multiple colors)

  • Ruler

  • Stackable desk trays (at least 4)

  • Stamps and envelopes

  • Planner

  • Calculator

  • 3-hole punch

  • Binder

  • Laptop

  • Thumbtacks

  • Permanent Markers

  • Duct tape


  • Laptop (printer is optional; there are usually computer labs where you can print)

  •  HDMI cord, Ethernet cord for computer (check if your room has wireless)

  •  Surge protector

  • Extension cords

  • Headphones

  • Camera

  • Cell phone

Shared Items — Check with roommate(s)

  • Audio equipment

  • TV and DVD player

  • Coffeemaker/hot pot/microwave (if allowed)

  • Small refrigerator 

  • Area rug

  • Posters/art

  • Water filter Pitcher

  • Shoe Rack

  • Doormat


  • Antacid

  • Aspirin or other pain relievers

  • Vitamins

  • Antidiarrheal medicine

  • Adhesive bandages, antibiotic ointment

  • Cough drops

  • Shower caddy

  • Face Wipes

  • Shower shoes 

  • Shampoo and conditioner

  • Hairstyling products

  • Bath and face soap

  • Travel soap container(s)

  • Toothpaste and toothbrush

  • Dental floss

  • Comb/brush

  • Tweezers

  • Nail clippers

  • Hair dryer/straightener/curling iron

  • Razor and shaving cream

  • Lotion and/or facial moisturizer

  • Cotton swabs

  • Bathrobe

  • Towels

  • Pepto

  • Motrin


  • Underwear

  • Socks

  • Pants/jeans

  • Shirts/blouses

  • Sweats

  • Pajamas

  • Slippers and/or flip-flops

  • Sweaters

  • Light/heavy jackets

  • Gloves/scarf/hat (and other foul-weather gear as needed)

  • 1 pair of boots

  • 2 pairs of sneakers or comfortable/walking shoes

  • 1 set of business-casual clothes

  • 1 pair of dress shoes

  • 1 swimsuit

  • 1 fancy dress

  • Gym clothes

Household and Kitchen Items

  • Paper towels

  • Trash bags

  • All-purpose cleaner

  • Plastic storage bags

  • Food-storage containers

  • Dish soap

  • Wet wipes

  • Tissues

  • Bowl, plate and cup

  • Coffee mug

  • Water bottle

  • Silverware

  • Can/bottle opener

  • Ziploc Bags

  • Paper plates

  • Cleaning Supplies (Swiffer/Febreze)

  • Handheld vacuum

  • Electronic Wipes


  • Umbrella

  • Backpack

  • Sports equipment

  • Insurance and Passport

  • Umbrella

  • Gym Bag

  • Bike/Bike lock/Skateboard/Helmet

  • Computer Lock