We are just weeks away from the start of college and for incoming freshmen it is an exciting time, with most living on their own for the very first time. For those lucky enough to call the University of Maine home the dormitory experience has improved significantly over the three-to-a-room days your parents may have told you about. And while you will likely spend hours shopping for a mini-fridge, microwave, and new laptop for your room there are several things you probably will forget to pack that will come back to bite you during the first few days on campus. Here is a list of Fill The Steins’ “5 things for college that you’ll forget to pack” and in some cases could make the difference between surviving and thriving at dorm life.
Ear Plugs (50 pairs, $10, Amazon): So you are all excited because you got a new set of Beats by Dre $200 headphones to listen to music while you are studying; that’s fantastic. But while the latest in noise-cancelling headphones are great for studying most of them aren’t comfortable for wearing all night to bed. Dorms can be hit or miss, you might be in a real quiet wing or one that parties at all hours. For $10 all your problems can be solved by having a pair of foam ear plugs ready to go. Roll them up, stick them in, and enjoy a good night’s rest as the bass pumping beats of Steve Aoki shake the pictures off your wall.
First Aid Kit ($12, Amazon): So maybe your mom will want you to pack a first aid kit, and you probably will do that because you know you will be out of the house in a couple of weeks, but it is a must for a different reason. While all of the dorms have resident directors and assistants that will likely provide you with all the bandages you could ever need, sometimes you don’t want to go to them. Teens living together for the first time usually brings out the “shenanigans” and odds are you are going to hurt yourself doing something you wouldn’t want the RD or RA’s to know about. But you’re good because you brought a first aid kit just like your mom suggested.
Quarters ($0.25, Everywhere): In a world that is almost completely electronic, quarters seem about as useful as a rotary telephone, but on a college campus they are still used for a variety of reasons. Before you head up to school, head down to the bank and convince mom and dad to get you a couple of rolls of quarters, how much is up to you and the limits of your begging. Most of the campus dorms have washers and dryers tied to your MaineCard, but not all of them do, and off campus landromats most certainly don’t. Vending machines accept credit cards or coins, so again the quarters come in handy for a quick snack on the run. The bottom line is that you always need a quarter when you don’t have one, so get some in advance.
Duct Tape (50 yards, $9, Amazon): Did you seriously consider going off to college without a massive roll of duct tape? It isn’t all of the standard uses that make this item so important, it is the stuff you never imagined would happen that make it handy. My personal favorite college duct tape use was to patch holes in the doors of my 1989 Dodge Shadow. I was too stupid to use Bondo, and too poor to get it fixed, so I was able to cover up the rust holes just enough to pass inspection each year. In the dorm room itself it is great for sealing up drafty windows in the winter which we know can be a problem in Orono in February.
Family Picture (Free): You may feel like having a billion images of your family on your Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat accounts may be enough to remind you of home, but nothing compares to a framed picture. College is stressful, and for the first time in your life your family won’t be right by your side to ease you through the pain of failed exams and late night study sessions. I can remember having a couple of pictures of my family and close friends in frames on my desk at school that I would glance over at every now and then to remind me of home.
So those are the essentials that you will likely forget to bring to college in the fall. We will have more tips for getting ready for college in the days and weeks to come. What do you remember about moving into the dorms for the first time? Share your comments with us on Facebook or in the comment section below.