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A List of Random Things You Need at College That You May Not Think You Need

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Williams chapter.

As of Friday, September 30, I will have officially been living the Williams dorm life for a month. Crazy! If you were to rewind the clock to exactly one month ago, you would have found me stressing about what I was forgetting on my extensive packing list. I thought I had everything laid out. I could have shown you my extensive Excel spreadsheet that included everything from which parts of my already-lacking closet I was bringing, to the school supplies I needed in order to start what I knew would be my hardest school year yet, to the exact posters I wanted to put on which of my walls. 

A month in, however, I find myself scouring Amazon and begging my teammates to drive me to the nearby Walmart for all of the things that I had completely overlooked. Here are my top 5 things that I found myself missing so far:

  1. More Socks! 

Maybe it is my hockey team’s 1-2 daily workouts or my excessive foot sweat, but I find myself changing my socks at least twice a day. By the time I hit Day 4 or 5 of my 7-day laundry cycle, I’m either going foot-commando (I cannot stress how much I do not recommend this) or wearing the socks my sister bought me in 10th grade with pictures of my face on them and hoping that nobody notices (also extremely embarrassing). I thought the 8 pairs that I packed would be enough – boy was I wrong!

  1. Scissors and Scotch Tape 

In my defense, I did consider bringing a pair of scissors. Then I told myself that all of my assignments would be on a computer or in my notebook and that I am not in elementary school nor planning on doing arts and crafts. However, I have found myself needing scissors and scotch tape way more than I would have thought. Whether it’s cutting the tags off my new Shein party-shirt order (so college!), attaching reminders to my door for the morning, breaking the seal of my textbooks, taping my pictures of my home friends to my walls, or opening my instant oatmeal in the morning, tape and scissors are a MUST. 

  1. Two Water Bottles 

I knew I needed a water bottle for practice and lift (#D3StudentAthletelife). But in the last month, I’ve realized that college is all about maximizing your time, and taking even ten minutes to wash and dry my water bottle every other day is not in the cards for me. If you have two, you halve the amount of time you spend washing your water bottle every week. Plus, you can fill them both up on your dining hall card and eliminate the need for expensive and wasteful bottled water for your dorm!

  1. A Mirror! 

Williams College dorms do not come with mirrors. I’ll say it again: Williams College dorms do not come with mirrors. This means that if you want to see what you look like, you have to walk into the common room to see your fit. So let’s say that one day you are going to a country-themed party, and you want to wear cowboy boots, but it’s also 40 degrees out so you also need to wear pants, so you go into your common room to see if you can pull off wide leg jeans tucked into cowboy boots (you really can’t btw). Just as you catch how ridiculous you look in the reflection of your shared mirror, three boys burst into the room and catch you checking yourself out in the mirror, and as they walk by one of them sarcastically decides to say, “Wow, looks great!” That would be the worst–not that that’s ever happened to me, but it hypothetically could have…

  1. Some Kind of Slip On Shoes

I brought shower shoes. I brought sneakers. I brought Air Forces 1s. I brought heels. I brought boots. I thought that would cover it all. However, there have been far too many times when I want to run to the bathroom or around my entry. You don’t want to wear your cheap, wet Old Navy flip-flops to walk around, especially while they’re still soaked. But you also don’t really feel like lacing up your Air Forces every time you want to step outside your dorm. Having a pair of shoes you can slip on just to walk around your entry is KEY. I’ve been eyeing these Birkenstock knockoffs, but any kind of slip-on would also work. 

Bonus: Dust Buster 

My boarding school roommate had one of these, and I guess I wasn’t pulling my weight with our high school dorm vacuuming because I didn’t decide it was important enough to bring one. However, I find myself wishing I had one almost every day. It’s true that your entry will have a vacuum you can use, but it is almost always either full, in use, or completely MIA. Also, it’s heavy and clunky. Dustbusters let you cover the daily spot clean. They also let you get into the awkward crevices you will find in all of Williams’ first-year dorms, and they also work for your weekly (let’s be real biweekly) deep clean. 

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Maddie Samaan

Williams '26

Hi! My name is Maddie Samaan, I live in Orlando, Florida. I play hockey at Williams College. I love sports, the outdoors, and I am a huge Taylor Swift fan! I have two younger siblings and a bernedoodle named Georgie! Academically, I am very passionate about science, especially life sciences, as well as Spanish!