So every big-box store will try to sell you everything you could possibly need for going away to school—big butterfly chairs, Christmas lights, bed extenders, a full kitchen set, top of line bed toppers—and it will seem impossible to use it all. Some of this will be obviously beneficial, and then the rest will end up in your basement forever.
Things that actually benefitted me (and saved my sanity) were often not on any suggested list. And so for you, dear reader, here is my tried and true list of seven things no one told me to bring to school:
1. Earplugs—Whether the noise is coming from the homesick neighbor or the Nerf-gun fights happening down the hall, they will be your best friends for more than one night. While I still love my roommate from my first year, I have to thank my earplugs for that fact.
2. Pictures from home—College is all about new experiences and new friends, but what about the people who helped get you there? As much as you’re going to want to make your own name for yourself, it’s important to maintain ties to home in little ways, too, with things like pictures and the occasional correspondence to keep in touch.
3. Rain/work boots—Can’t say much more than just a solid investment to make if you value dry, warm feet through a two hour and fifteen minute class.
4. Storage—You will need a place to put those extra gym clothes and sneaker or Tupperware for leftover late-night Howie’s pizza. I would also suggest investing in a solid tumbler for taking coffee out of Baldwin (or possibly for anything else you may take down Porter Street).
5. Cellular patience—Many a night my first year I would get a text 45 minutes after a friend needed to be let into the building. Phone calls? A nightly group would form on the back, front and side porches. Either you’ll need to get used to it in Wesley or maybe invest in a cell booster if your provider offers it.
6. Blank white tees, cheetah print, Hawaiian shirts, pirate gear—Though I thought the college nightlife wardrobe would be cute dresses and heels or button-ups and dark jeans, the nightlife at Albion often requires otherwise. Themed parties are in high demand, so Goodwill, Target and possibly your parent’s closet will be great go-to’s as you explore what each party require in attire.
7. School pride—Please notice I didn’t say “school spirit.” I wouldn’t suggest painting your face for the first football game or trying to get anyone to chant—lots of blank stares will meet you. Throw on your Albion College gear when you can: it’ll remind you of the community where you belong as well as getting away with a wearing another T-shirt for the 12th day in a row.
(Lauren Ridenour, Troy senior, and Elise DeYoung, Grand Rapids senior, are dressed to impress as Mary Kate and Ashley for a special theme party.)