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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

As the semester begins at UMASS Amherst, you might find yourself lacking a few dorm essentials, especially for new students. I determined the top ten dorm essentials YOU need at UMASS Amherst this year. Based on past experience living in a dorm, I could not have survived without these things.

A powerful Fan

Unless you’re living in Honors College, there is typically no AC in any of the standard dorm rooms, or even throughout the entirety of the building. I would suggest a powerful rotating fan, along with a smaller fan that you can blast at your bed at night time. 

A Storage Ottoman

Most of the beds are raised in the dorms to allow for more storage space since the dorms are extremely small, especially with a roommate. If you’re short like me and don’t want to do a running jump every time you want to flop into your bed, you need a storage ottoman. These are the best step stools, great for extra storage and seating.

At least one rug

Most of the dorm rooms have tile flooring that reminds you of high school cafeterias. Personally, that is not sufficient for me, and I have two big rugs and three mini rugs in my double z room. Don’t get a super expensive rug because chances are, it will need to be thrown out by the end of the year.

A fridge and freezer

A fridge is a necessity, you will want a place to put your leftovers from Blue Wall or restaurants in downtown Amherst to eat when you get those late-night munchies. Not every floor has a water fountain, so it is a good idea to keep either a water pitcher or bottled water in the fridge. Sometimes you don’t have time for the dining hall for dinner because of all your homework that’s due, frozen Trader Joe’s burritos have fueled me more times than I can count.

an umbrella

In high school, it seemed embarrassing to have an umbrella, but UMass is a big campus and you do not want to go to class soaking wet. I promise no one is judging you for having an umbrella, if anything they are jealous because they forgot to bring one. 

A tapestry or flag

The walls in the dorms resemble prison walls, which is just depressing. A tapestry or flag of some sort is an easy and cheap way to cover up a good chunk of those ugly walls. My room definitely feels a lot comfier with my tapestries. 

A foam mattress topper

The mattresses at UMASS shouldn’t even have mattress status for how uncomfortable they are. Buy a thick foam mattress topper, they have some great ones at Home Depot online, which is where I got mine. Spend the extra money on it, your back, and sleep schedule with thank you later. 

Power strips

My double only has three outlets in the entire room. That is absolutely not enough, especially if you have a roommate. Bring power strips so you can plug in all of your devices, fridge, microwave, etc. Just remember to flip the off switch when not in use to save energy!

Alternative lighting

Once again the dorms remind me of a prison or high school with the harsh overhead lighting in the rooms. You should absolutely get alternative lighting such as warm light lamps or LED strips, which is what I have, because it makes the room so much more comfortable for the eyes.

Throw pillows and blankets

This is a controversial topic because some people think the pillows take up too much space on the bed, which can be true sometimes, however, they are great for when you have friends stay over. They can sleep on your comfy rug with a throw pillow and blanket or two. You can always store extra blankets, sheets, pillows, etc in your storage ottoman or a tote under your bed. 

All of these dorm essentials will make your college experience so much better. You don’t want to go back to a sad prison-like dorm room after a long day of classes and studying. Having a comfortable dorm room is so important in creating a safe space for yourself in college. I hope this list helps you decorate your dorm room! 

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Joanna Davis

U Mass Amherst '25

UMass Amherst Psychology Student I like to read, travel and spend time with friends.