As finals approach, I keep thinking about the fact that next september I will be starting my junior year at Saint Mary’s. The thought is both exciting and terrifying. I’m looking forward to so much that will be going on next year, but I also keep reflecting on the last two years. I’ve compiled a list of 10 things I think are important to have when entering college, and though they are mainly materialistic, I think they are super useful!
1) A good jacket. Depending on where you go to school, there are going to be times you need a good jacket, eg, coming back from the library late, going to early classes, standing outside at night hanging out with people, attending bonfires, etc. At Saint Mary’s, we see a lot of North Face and Patagonia. I would recommend both brands, along with Barbour. Depending on where you are in the world, your jacket may need to be heftier or lighter, but you can probably figure out what would be best (if you’re on the East Coast of the US, you’ll probably need a pretty thick jacket).
2) A big book bag (and a stylish bag is even better). Longchamp, Very Bradley, and North Face all are great places to find the perfect book bag. If you get a Longchamp, make sure you get the large if you plan to use it for books, as the larger bag can fit a laptop and can hold more weight. Having a good book bag makes it easier to stay organized, and will make it easier to transport books and other things that are necessary for class.
3) Journal. Something I’m so thankful to have from my first year of college is my journal. When I was getting ready to leave for school, one of my close friends gave me a journal, and said that she wanted me to write about myself. She knew that I tended to write fiction, but that she wanted me to have a book of my own memories when I graduated college. I wrote almost every day last year, and now, looking back, I’m thankful for the memories because now they are unchanging to some degree. While my relationships and opinions have changed in reality, its almost as if I have my own autobiography in a journal fashion.
4) Travel Coffee Mug. If you claim you’re not a coffee drinker, get a travel mug for tea or water or whatever but get one. Trust me, once you experience one too many sleep-deprived nights, you’re going to start drinking something caffeinated, and a travel mug will be a great thing to have.
5) A watch. If your college is anything like mine, your classrooms will not have clocks in them, so having a watch is great to keep track of how slowly or quickly your class is passing. If you are in a class where you have to talk a certain number of times, keeping tack of the time will be helpful. Also, you’re going to be attending interviews and meetings, and it is impolite to have your phone out as a method for keeping time. Watches are super important if you plan to go into a job that requires a ton of meetings or one-on-one time.
6) Little Black Dress. Speaking of interviews, you will have times in college when you need to dress up a bit. My first year on campus, I received tickets to the San Francisco symphony, and knew I needed to dress up a bit. Having a little black dress with you will make it easy to transform from “residence hall casual” into “sophisticated college student.” Also, every woman needs a little black dress regardless of if they are in college or not. Black dresses are classic, slimming, and romantic.
7) A planner. College life is hectic between meetings, extra curricular activities, interviews, homework, and events that are mandatory for class. Oh, and making friends. When I was getting ready for college, someone told me that college is a triangle consisting of a social life, sleep, and academics, but that I would only have enough time to choose two. Make sure you pick all three, and actually accomplish all three by the end of your four years by staying super organized. Next year I want to get the “Simplified Planner.” It includes the hours of each day, a to-do list for each day, and dinner plans or meetings. I feel like its going to be a super effective planner.
8) Good walking shoes. My campus is pretty small, but I still do a ton of walking, and if you go to a big school, you’re going to want to invest in good shoes. It may sound a little funny, but honestly, shoes can make all the difference if you do a ton of walking all day. You’re probably going to lose your sanity because of sleep deprivation, don’t lose your feet too.
9) Pictures of your family and friends from home. Being away from home is hard. There will be people you will miss constantly, so make sure you have pictures of them in your room so they still feel close. I made a collage of photos of my friends and I and my family on my wall in my room last year because it assured me that those people were still a part of my life. Also, you’re going to be meeting new people and making new connections and getting busier, but having photos of the people you love will remind you to give them a call when you have time!
10) Cute and comfortable bedding. In most college dorm rooms, beds double as couches. You’ll want to have cute and comfortable bedding because everyone is going to see it, and everyone is going to be sitting on it when you hangout in your room. Awesome places to look for bedding? Target, Pottery Barn, PB Teen, Urban OUtfitters, Anthropologie, and Kohl’s. All have great selections, and all have good quality for their bedding. You’ll also want to be sure to get bedding that is more of an investment and that will be durable because your bedding should last you your four years, if not longer. Also, make sure that it is cute bedding, but also bedding you won’t get sick of because it is going to be your primary decoration for your room. While you can hang posters, put pictures around, etc., your bedding is the focal point because its probably going to be the largest thing in the room.
I hope this list makes sense! All ten items have helped me transition into college easier, and are things I feel are important to having a successful first year!