Being an expat kid can be tough. However, by the time we leave for college, many of us are already fully-equipped with the qualities needed to be a successful “freshie” in university. Nevertheless, here are some insider details about this big thing called “going to college,” including packing tips and must-haves.
Many people come up with a humungous checklist of What to Bring to College. But come moving day, they suddenly find themselves juggling five pillows, a wheeled office chair, and a huge new stereo they bought to “enhance their living environment.” People always say freshmen bring more “stuff” than the average upperclassman. Having seen my freshman peers drag boxes and indistinct lumps of stuff on the campus lawn, most of which they could’ve done without. I get it: Parents have good intentions. They want to make sure we’ve got everything we could ever need. But I promise you that you’re never going to need that fancy espresso machine or ergonomic head massager.
College Must-Haves Checklist:
- Bedding (You don’t need more pillows, but definitely a mattress pad or two to soften those back-splitting dorm beds.)
- Shower caddy (especially if you use communal showers)
- Clothes hangers (But not too many – usually, the college will provide you with a wardrobe where you can fold most of your not-so-easily-wrinkled clothing.)
- Power strip (for plugging in your tech stiff when the wall outlet only has two plugs or is hard to reach)
- Laundry basket (This saves your room from being a mess when you have clothing sprawled out everywhere and are too busy studying.)
College Optional Checklist:
- Water purifier (North America has generally excellent tap water; take advantage of it!)
- Mugs, spoons, and bowls (These are always useful, but don’t overpack.)
- Bedside caddy (I found this very useful for storing my phone, earphones, electronic chargers, and even umbrella, but not everyone needs one.)
- Bed raisers (A little-known item, bed raisers make any dorm bed as tall as the most luxurious queen bed.)
- Flashlight (Most people have a smart phone or some type of device that lights up these days.)
- Alarm clock (Again, most phones have this.)
- Dishes and utensils (Unless you live off-campus or don’t have a meal plan, you won’t need a full dining set.)
- Storage bins (Piling your stuff under your bed is perfectly OK most of the time, as long as it’s neatly stacked.)
- First aid kit (Keeping some band-aids in your room is OK, but there’s a school nurse for anything more serious.)
- Tool box (Unless you plan on fixing all the little things that squeak or rattle in your dorm room, maintenance can take care of repairs.)
These lists are based solely on my own experience, but feel free to tell us about what worked or didn’t work for you in the comments section.
“Life Beyond Beijing” is a series of posts that chronicles a former international school student’s experiences in college. They’re written by Elizabeth Wu, a returning beijingkids summer intern. A former student of BWYA and CISB, she just completed her freshman year of journalism and will be returning to The New School in New York City this fall.
Photo by ofeverydaylife via Flickr