Living away from home is uncharted territory for most students when they start college, so it’s important to figure out early on how to survive dorm life. A big part of that is knowing what to bring and what should be left at home. When I moved into my first dorm at CUA, I pretty much spared nothing while packing. This became overwhelming really quickly as I was trying to unpack and find space for it all. Some of it turned out to be useful, while other things just collected dust all semester. Here is a list of things I wish I had brought (and was really happy I brought) and a few things that really could have stayed at home, when I moved into my first college dorm at CUA.
Small Umbrella and Rain boots/Water-Appropriate Shoes
I learned the importance of these items very quickly during my first semester. After about three rainy days in a row, I invested in a great pair of rain boots. Also a compact umbrella is great for storing in a backpack if there is even the smallest chance of rain. Showing up to class with wet hair and soggy socks got old very fast. If an umbrella isn’t your thing, definitely bring a rain jacket.
A lot of great events (like Movies on the Mall) are held outside at CUA! Having a picnic blanket is perfect because you won’t have to sit on the grass and everyone will want to sit with you! You’ll also find yourself pulling it out to sunbathe on the Basilica Lawn with friends on nice spring days.
Games/Deck of Cards
My top picks for great games to play with friends are Apples to Apples and The Game of Things. These types of games are perfect for big groups of people and really help you get to know your new friends!
Cookie Sheet and Muffin Pan
Every now and then, you’re just going to need the smell (and taste) of freshly baked cookies. My advice is to be the person who has the cookie sheet even though that may mean everyone else will inevitably be asking to borrow it at some point. Plus, every dorm has a stove/oven and refrigerator access.
Envelopes and Stamps
These are some simple things that might never cross your mind when packing for college, but by the time you realize you don’t have any, you will absolutely need them. Snail mail is also a fun way to keep up with friends and family at home. You can also get these at the campus mailroom, too!
Even if you just bring some Band-Aids and Neosporin, make sure you have them! Every mom and nursing major will agree.
While it is nice to be able to print right from your room, a printer just takes up too much space in a dorm. Also, why worry about buying ink and paper when CUA has free printing at the library and Leahy Hall?
ALL of my Clothes
I really brought almost every piece of clothing I had for every season when I moved in—and it was a disaster. It was such a mess to organize and it all took up far too much space. If it is at all possible, the best thing to do is just trade out your clothes every season. If that is too hard to work out, invest in Space Bags to save room!
Things You Can Share with Your Roommate
Talk to your roommate before moving in to make sure you aren’t bringing two of everything. A lot of things can be shared, like dishes and cups or even chairs and trashcans. Work out what you are each going to bring beforehand to avoid crowding your room.
Paige is a rising senior from Southern Maryland. She is pursuing degrees in both Music and English. As a freshman at CUA, she lived in Ryan Hall room 116 and totally loved it.