Moving to college is an important milestone in a person’s life. You’re finally out on your own for the first time, getting a true taste of adult life. You’re away from your parents and making your own decisions, figuring out how to structure your own life. It’s liberating and invigorating, and it allows you to discover who you really are. All the while, you’re investing in your future with a quality education and forging new friendships to last a lifetime.
Dorm life is one of the exciting aspects of the college experience for many young students. After 18+ years living with your parents, it’s thrilling to plunge yourself into an environment brimming with other energetic youth. Whether you’re interested in the party scene or want to live a quieter dorm life with a few deep friendships, this is an important experience for most college students.
So, how do you set up your dorm for the best college life? It’ll depend on your lifestyle, of course, but here are some of the most essential items to get your dorm in shape and ready for your new life.
1. Bedsheets, pillows, and pillowcases
Between late-night parties and all-nighter study sessions, there may be times you neglect these—but sleep is essential to a happy, healthy college experience, and you should have comfortable bedsheets and pillows.
College dorms don’t come with free towels like hotel rooms. Take however many towels you think you’ll need between laundry sessions.
3. Desk lamp
If you find yourself studying late at night when your roommate wants to sleep, a desk lamp is essential. Study quietly at your well-lit desk while your roommate snoozes away in the dark.
4. Drying rack
Different colleges may have different setups, but in all likelihood, a laundry drying rack will serve you well. It eliminates the need to use the communal dryer, which will often be occupied.
Depending on where your college is, a fan will be more or less important. If you’re going to school in Houston, for example, it’s a must—especially if you’re coming from the north and aren’t used to such debilitating heat.
6. School supplies
College isn’t just one big party—you’re here to study. So, obviously, school supplies have to be on your list. Take pencils, pens, binders, notebooks, highlighters, USB flash drives, staplers, and anything else you might need to succeed academically.
7. Noise-cancelling headphones
These aren’t a must-have, but they’re certainly a strong plus. Noise-cancelling headphones can drown out all the noise of dorm life, allowing you to comfortably study no matter what’s going on in neighboring dorms.
8. Shower shoes
If you have to share a communal shower room with several other students, shower shoes (such as flip-flops) are a necessity. You shower to get clean, and the shower floors certainly aren’t clean—so plan ahead.
Make your dorm your own with some posters or other décor. Plastering some posters on the wall will make your new home feel more, well, homey. It’ll feel more like your own space than a generic apartment.
10. Mini fridge
Mini refrigerators are one of the most stereotypical dorm items, but for good reason: it’s hard to store food without them. You can’t fit that much in them, but a mini fridge allows you to keep food in your own dorm rather than going to the cafeteria or a campus restaurant whenever you’re hungry.