It’s that time of the year again — back to school. Whether you’re a freshman or grad student, preparing to head back to college can feel overwhelming. There are so many items to buy and pack for your dorm or new apartment!
Here are some words of encouragement: going back to school doesn’t have to be difficult. Sure, moving away can be scary, but if you’re well-prepared, you have nothing to worry about. The only problem is trying to remember all that you need.
Most people might think of microwaves and ramen noodles when they think of college essentials, but there are many more out there. Here are some important items that don’t necessarily come first to mind, but that you’ll probably need.
1. Birth Control
You never know what might happen at college. While many campuses offer free condoms and STD testing, it’s better to be prepared for anything. Did you know you can get birth control online without having to visit a doctor or gynecologist in person? This can help you out if you don’t like making those awkward trips to the doctor’s office.
Even if you’re not sexually active, birth control is a highly recommended form of regulating hormones and your period. You can be more sure of your cycle, which creates peace of mind and can save your cute, white shorts. No more period-tracking apps or stealthy markings on the calendar!
Staying in charge of your menstrual cycle can help you feel more in control while balancing college life. University can be overwhelming, but taking steps to manage your health and wellness will help give you a clear mind.
2. First Aid Kit
In addition to medicine, it’s a good idea to stock up on first aid basics. Accidents happen all the time. It’s a good idea to be prepared for anything. While you might think you’ll never use it, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Not having a first aid kit on hand can mean wasting time at the health center for something minor. Valuable time, which could be used for studying or socializing with new friends.
Most drugstores sell first aid kits in various sizes. A small kit will offer the basics–bandages, rubbing alcohol, tylenol, and the like. Larger kits include items such as motion-activated ice packs and antibiotic ointment. It’s up to you how prepared you want to be, but remember that serious injuries can be worsened without first aid.
It’s a little known fact that dorms tend to have dry air. This is because dehumidifiers are placed throughout the building in an attempt to prevent mold growth. All those steamy showers in one building can create some serious mold without it.
If you tend to get a dry nose, a personal humidifier can help prevent discomfort. No one likes to wake up with a bloody nose. Keep a humidifier close to your bed to blast moist air near you. There are many small ones on the market. And some charge via USB, so they are portable.
Not to mention, there are many benefits to using a humidifier. The extra moisture can help with dry skin, warding off viruses, and keeping your houseplants healthy! Some options also allow you to add essential oils, so you can combat the funky dorm room smells that accompany community style residence halls.
4. Plates and Utensils
Most basic dorms don’t come with a kitchen, hence why many students invest in a microwave or mini fridge. However, if you’re going to enjoy snacks in your room, you’ll need something to eat with. Paper plates and plastic silverware are cheap options if you’re okay with the one-time use.
Many dining halls also let you take packs of plastic utensils.
However, not everyone likes going to the busy cafeterias for something small like a fork. Plus, having your own means you won’t have to make an extra trip just to eat some ramen in your room. If you’re looking to be more environmentally friendly, consider purchasing a small set of utensils and plates. There are many colors and designs to choose from. If you pick a fun print, it could be a cheap way to add some personality to a small dorm room.
5. Noise-Canceling Headphones
Whether you have a roommate or like to study in public places, you’ll find that noise-canceling headphones can save your day. Whatever you like to listen to, it’s nice to not have other people’s noise drowning out your tunes.
In fact, listening to music while you study is actually proven to be helpful. The Florida National University reports that listening to music during study sessions can improve focus, decrease stress, and increase memory. The best kind of music for this purpose would be instrumental, since there aren’t any lyrics to distract you. Go ahead and rock out to some Bach!
6. Dry-Erase Calendar
The most important step you can take to succeed in college is to stay organized. Making schedules, to-do lists, or whatever helps you feel on top of things is essential. After all, college is all about deadlines. You don’t want to forget a big assignment!
A great investment is a dry-erase wall calendar. You can hang them with wall-safe mounting strips, and they’re pretty inexpensive. Most come with a couple of dry-erase markers, too, so you’ll be ready to go.
Being able to map out each month’s deadlines and important dates will help you stay in control of your schoolwork and other responsibilities. Dry-erase calendars make this easier because if a deadline changes, you can simply erase and write the new day. Not to mention, it’s more eco-friendly than going through paper calendars or planners.
Preparation Takes the Stress Away
Remember, you should try to enjoy your time in college. While school should be a top priority, don’t forget to allow time to relax and have fun. Being prepared can lessen the uneasiness of moving away. Make your lists, do some shopping, and pack (not last minute). You’ll do great! Just don’t forget to enjoy yourself, which will be easier to do with the items mentioned above. You’ll tackle the semester with ease.