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Attention Freshman: Dorm Necessities You Need For Success

All of those countless quizzes, homework assignments, senior essays, and standardized tests have finally paid off; you’ve officially finished high school.  Now that you’re finally on your own, reality and independence are finally setting in for you!  Her Campus UMich is here to make sure that you have all of the necessary items for success this semester (…and none of the unnecessary items!).


DO wear flip-flops in the shower
Freshman year, you’ll probably be sharing a public bathroom with communal showers, and you don’t want to walk in barefoot as if you’re living at home. TONS of girls will be using those same showers, and that means there’s a melting pot of bacteria in those stalls that you will not want on your feet. Protect your feet by taking 30 seconds to put on a pair of shower shoes or flip-flops and you won’t have to deal with nasty foot fungus.

DO use a shower caddy
Those public bathrooms are usually located down the hall, so instead of awkwardly carrying your shampoo, conditioner, soap, razors, and more, have a cute shower caddy to easily bring that stuff along! Also, dorm rooms are usually tight on space and the shower caddy will give you extra storage space for all your bathroom needs.

DON’T buy work-out accessories
If you do yoga or lift weights at home, leave that stuff at home! As a student, you have access to all of the gym facilities like the Central Campus Recreation Building, the Intramural Sports Building, or the North Campus Recreation Building. These facilities have everything from weights, pool access, running tracks, and exercise machines!


DO bring sweats
As you run to those torturous 8:00 AM classes (as we’re sure you’ll go to all of them) you’re going to want something easy to slip into during those groggy mornings. Sweats are super comfy and everyone in college wears them atleast once a week so no one will judge you, trust me. Plus, during finals week, they’re a nice alternative during those late nights at the library.

DO buy plastic shelves or plastic storage cabinets 
Dorms will give you the minimum necessities like a bed, desk, and trashcan; however, you’ll need more shelving than you’ll have available for makeup, hair accessories, and more. My freshman year, I had a plastic five-shelf stand in front of a mirror as a make-up area to get ready in the morning. Having a set-up like this is especially convenient if you get ready during times when the bathrooms are really crowded.

DON’T bring lavishly fancy dresses 
Those prom or homecoming dresses will just waste the precious space of your closet and will most likely not even be worn! Bring light, fun dresses that are semi-casual. These dresses are versatile so you can wear them out to dinner and to a party, later at night.


DO buy junk food for late night cravings
The dining halls usually close by 8 or 9 PM, so you’ll need something to keep your hunger at bay when you’re up late studying. Residence halls do have snack stores open late, such as Ciao Down in South Quad, Victor’s in Mosher-Jordan, or even the Blue Apple on North Campus if you’re looking to have a pizza, sandwich, candy, and other food. But, if you’re feeling lazy, having a box of Cheez-its under your bed isn’t a bad option! If you’re worried about gaining the freshman-fifteen, bring healthier snacks like cereal bars or fruit snacks, as many late night campus stores don’t keep such food!

DON’T buy a full set of silverware and dishware
Most of the time, you’ll be eating in the dining hall because of the ridiculous amount of swipes you get every term, but even if you don’t go to the dining halls, there are plenty of tempting restaurants on State Street, South University, North University, East University, or Main Street! You will barely have time to eat in your room, unless you bring back home-cooked food from the holidays, so lighten up on the plates, cups, and utensils!

DON’T buy coffee makers, panini-makers, and other electrical appliances (without checking with your Resident Advisor first)
Housing has strict policies on prohibited items, and though it differs from area, it would suck to have brought that expensive coffee machine only to find out you can’t even use it; double check with your RA to get the okay. Many of the residence halls have dining halls located on the main floors, so if you’re craving some coffee you can swipe for it or buy some from coffee shops on State Street or South University.


DO buy a desk lamp and even a bedside reading light
If you’re going to share a room with one or more new girls, you will have to adapt to each others’ sleeping schedules. My roommate freshman year went to bed atleast 2-3 hours before I did, so I had to figure out how to continue my late-night studying. For all you night-owls, the alternatives are: go to the library (as they’re usually open past midnight), the study lounges in your residence hall, or just work in your room. If you’re going to study in your room, the desk lamps really help to have sufficient light to work without disturbing your roommates!

DO buy a digital audio-recorder
One huge transition from high school to college is that professors speed through twice the material in half the time. Many classes are heavily lecture-based and not all professors record video podcasts for students. Bring an audio-recorder, so even if you space for a minute or two, you won’t miss anything because you can recap the lecture later on your computer.

DON’T buy school supplies (like notebooks, folders, pens)
Most professors either send out a syllabus late, prior to the first day of classes, or end up changing the syllabus they’d originally sent out. You have no idea how many or what kind of notebooks you’ll need and the extra lugging you’ll have to do to bring all that stuff to your room isn’t worth it. One semester, I ended up with two or three unused notebooks because the class was basically online. It’s not bad to have spare notebooks lying around, but to make it easier on move-in day, I suggest you leave that stuff behind. Plus, there are on-campus bookstores where you can buy notebooks (although they’re pricier), and Target, Meier, and Kroger are each 10 minutes away from campus!


DO buy extension cords and power strips
With the smaller space of dorm rooms, there are few wall outlets. To maximize each outlet’s usage, plug in a few five or six-outlet power strips. This will allow you to plug in that microwave, fridge, floor lamp, laptop, while charging your cell phone! The extension cord is helpful when hanging up decorative lights or if your wall outlets are inconveniently located across the room from the technology you need powered.

DON’T bring a TV
This is your first year in college and I guarantee you’ll be out most of the time socializing with new people, in class, or exploring campus rather than watching TV in your room. The difference between home and college is that everyone is across the hall from you, and all the restaurants and shopping areas are only a five minute walk away. Take advantage of this convenience and your independence and spend time outside! Forget about those TV shows until you head back home. If you have a guilty-pleasure show that you just absolutely cannot miss, most residence halls have common rooms with TVs, so don’t fret, you don’t need to go cold-turkey on TV.

College is a different environment, so things that were high school essentials may not necessarily be crucial in your new college life. Relax and think about what you will need on a day-to-day basis, and if you’re not sure, ask college friends. Rather than having an entire room and bathroom to yourself, you’re going to have to share your space with other people and it’s better to pack efficiently than cram the dorm room with every possible thing you “might” need. Good luck freshmen, and have a great year!

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