Freshman 15: My Top Five Items to Bring to School


Before shopping for my freshman year, I read a plethora of must-have lists for college. The internet is full of very extensive college packing lists that can be really helpful, but I often found them overwhelming. Sifting through the long lists I tried to find which items were repeated on multiple lists to determine what was more likely a necessity versus just nice to have on campus.  Then making my own list I thought about whether I would use an item often or if it could be considered optional. I found it helpful to read the must-have lists of current students and the descriptions of how they used these items. The answers definitely change depending on who you ask, but now I have a few staples that I found myself using often (and loving), making them stand out on my list of what to bring to school.

sweatshirt (c/o)

Here's a list of five items I used almost daily and would definitely recommend, but at the time of purchase I did not see myself greatly appreciating. I will be using all the items on this list again this year and most likely through the rest of college. Whether you're unsure about bringing an item or debating if it's worth the money, I hope this post helps with your packing!

1. Mattress Topper
If I were to tell you to splurge on one item for school, it would be the mattress topper. I cannot stress how important it is not only to have a mattress topper, but also one that you love. This is one item you will use every night and helps you sleep better and as a result function better. My mattress topper was a dream — a full 3 inches of memory foam that made me love crawling into bed each night. To be honest, I began to love my twin bed at school more than my full bed at home simply because the mattress topper made it just so comfortable. Depending on how many years you will live in a dorm or have a twin bed, you may use this item for multiple years so I highly recommend investing in a quality and generous height (at least 2 inches) mattress topper.

2. Comfortable walking shoes
I walked everywhere freshman year. My dorm was a 10 minute walk from the Quad and 18 minutes from my sorority house. Walking to class, the house for meals, trips to the library and Starbucks and everything in between meant I was easily walking at least eight miles a day. Whether you attend a large or small university, it's likely you will do plenty of walking. I invested in a more comfortable pair of gym shoes in November and it made a huge difference in my comfort. I think I am fully converted to only purchasing Asics gel gym shoes in the future because they provide so much structure and padding for my foot. This might not be the brand for you, but definitely consider investing in a pair of great shoes that you'll be able to walk around campus all day.

3. Business casual outfit
At multiple points throughout the year I had one event or another that required a business casual outfit. Whether I was attending my sorority's chapter meetings, interviewing for an organization or position, or attending an event for Capstone Agency, I wore a business casual outfit semi frequently. I would recommend packing a pair of versatile pants and a blouse or a dress that's easy to dress up or down. You never know when you may need it, and it's great to begin building a closet with some staple pieces that look more professional.

4. Portable charger
Depending on what my day looked like, there were times when I was away from my room for more than 12 hours at a time. While I charged my phone while I slept, the battery did not always last the entire day so I always kept my charger with me. It was easy to charge my phone in a place like the library, but grabbing the last open seat at Starbucks or sitting in class for 75 minutes meant that an outlet was not always available when I needed it. A portable charger is ideal for always being on the go and allows you to always be with your phone when it's charging (and not have to plug it in to a wall and walk away from it). You do not need a big investment. An inexpensive portable charger can save you when you need an immediate charge and it will likely be an item you will find yourself using more often than not.


5. Lamp(s)
I really liked my dorm room, but not the overhead lighting. It was so harsh and after being in public buildings all day, the last thing I wanted was for my dorm to feel the same. I mentioned this in my tips for making a dorm room homey post, but I think adding a lamp or two to my room made a huge difference. I was able to see comfortably in my room at night without the overhead lighting on, and only used the overhead light when studying. Adding a lamp allows you to add a touch of personalization to your room and also create a warmer more pleasant atmosphere.  You are going to be living at school, but you do not want to feel like you are living in a classroom.

While these are definitely not all the items you'll need for a great year, they are a few that I found myself using frequently and was thankful that I brought them with me to Tuscaloosa. 

What items are your top items to bring to school?


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