Leaving home for college, whether it's to a different city, country, or just the other side of town, can be stressful — and not just emotionally. What to bring to the tiny room that will be your home for the next year? Packing lists abound, but follow them all and you'll barely have enough room to breathe, let alone live, in your new space. Though my university days are a distant memory, I can (just about) recall the most useful items my friends and I brought with us to the dorms.
1. An electric kettle
I'll admit this is a regional choice: as an Anglo-Canadian, I grew up guzzling tea and needed to make sure I could do the same in my university digs. But even those of you who don't share this background (I recently found out that some of my friends from the Southern USA didn't even encounter electric kettles until they moved to the UK) might find this kitchen tool useful: it can heat water for instant coffee (better than nothing for 3am study sessions), ramen/pot noodles for late night snack attacks, and a hot water bottle when you're feeling ill, all without leaving your room.
2. A mini fridge
I didn't technically bring this with me to university — I opted to rent one from my dorm and it was waiting in my room when I moved in, and it was a great decision. Aside from milk for the aforementioned tea, having fruit, yogurt, and basic breakfast supplies on hand can really help on those mornings when you just can't make it to the cafeteria before class.
3. Extra seating
I didn't actually think of this, but my new (and still) best friend, four floors up from me in residence, did. Her room was a magnet for hangouts, in part because it was so comfortable. In your dorm room you'll have a desk chair and a bed — and if you don't fancy your new friends piling up on the latter, bringing some small extra seating is a great idea. A bean bag or blow-up cube (my bff's was leopard print and had a tail — hey, it was 2002) works a treat.
Just trust me on this. You may be a great sleeper in your parents' home, but when you've got an exam in the morning and there's a party going on down the hall, you'll...be at the party, most likely. But in case you're a more dedicated student than I was, a good pair of earplugs (and maybe a sleeping mask, you never know how good the window blinds will be) will have your back. Just try not to sleep through fire drills like I did.
5. A good shower caddy
I hear a lot of college dorms are moving toward en-suite accommodation, so stop me if I'm showing my age here. In my day (did I just say that?), we all shared the bathrooms, and a good, not-too large, not-too-small shower caddy, with a sturdy handle and holes in the bottom for drainage, was invaluable. In your room, a small rubber draining mat is a good idea for storing this without mess.
What was the most useful thing you brought to university?