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Soon to be college freshmen are anxiously waiting for their new found independence. What a time to be alive.
Has it really been 10 years since I graduated High School, packed up our family minivan, and shipped off to college? College was a time of trial, many errors, lessons learned, tears, laughter, mistakes, successes. Feeling nostalgic, I started sifting through old photos from my high school and college days. You know, because we had to print them back in the day? It’s hard to believe a time before smart phones and paper thin computers. I chuckle at the huge textbooks and 10-pound laptop I had to lug across campus. I wish FitBits were around back then so I could’ve logged how many miles I walked around campus each day. Many of my classes were clear across campus (University of Maryland College Park is pretty big and spread out) so I had 15 minutes to carry all of my books up hills both ways (no joke, there were hills in both directions depending on where your classes were!).
I would definitely go through college again if I had the chance. I “hated” aspects of it (late night cram sessions, all nighters etc) plus all of the extra obligations I had to do with Air Force ROTC and my dorm program. However, I made some of the best of friends. Friends that I still have to do this day. College is also where I met the love of my life. I’ll forever be grateful for that one! 🙂
Seek Out a Community of Believers
The Lord revealed Himself to me in many ways my freshman year. I learned what true friendships are. I learned that studying for tests is actually important (I was one that didn’t have to study too hard to make a decent grade in High School… depending on the class). I learned to not eat milkshakes and calzones at 10 pm for 3 nights in a row and wonder why my jeans weren’t fitting.
Before I get to the material items I believe every college freshman needs to have in order to make dorm life more bearable, I need to stress the importance of finding a Bible teaching Church and College Ministry to join. I was a part of a campus ministry called Reformed University Fellowship and it was one, if not the biggest, tool that God used to draw me closer to Him. The preaching, fellowship, and fun were what drew me back to the fold after trying to do everything my way my freshman year. The friendships I made while in RUF have lasted all through college and I still count them my dear friends to this day. Many of my friends shared the same worldview, morals, and beliefs and helped me grow in all of those things. Before anything, that should be the first order of business for any Christian college freshman! 🙂
Once you establish that firm foundation during the constant changing winds of college, you will have the support you need from friends and people who genuinely care about your soul.
10 Must Have Items for College Freshmen
I have no doubt that there have been many changes on college campuses across the nation since I’ve graduated. However, I believe that these items hands down made college more like home!
1) Bed raisers- these give you up to 8 inches more for under the bed storage! These made a big difference in my storage situation 🙂 Most dorms are tiiiiiiinnnny (like mine was Freshman year) so any extra storage you can capitalize on is gold.
2) Shower caddy- this is a MUST if you’re going to be living in a dorm. I used this both in the dorm and when I lived in a house with other girls from RUF. It’s super handy to have all of your stuff in one place 🙂
3) Desk lamp- I wish I had known about this one when I was in college! Self-explanatory, but this is great for those *cough* late night* cough* study sessions and to not wake up your roomie! We’re all about peaceful roommate situations! I might actually get this for myself now…
4) Thin hangers- Unless your dorm room is in a castle, I’m willing to bet that you won’t have a lot of closet space! These hangers were LIFE savers for our limited space and I was able to get rid of those chunky plastic ones. The other reason I love these hangers, they’re non-slip so you don’t have to worry about things falling to the floor every time you search for an outfit! LOVE!
5) An amazing mattress pad- My mattress pad was amazing. So amazing, that many times I didn’t want to get up in the morning for classes! The last thing you want to do is come home from a late night study session in the library to an uncomfortable bed when you have an 8 am exam the next morning. Do yourself a favor, and get one of these mattress pads! 🙂
6) Noise Cancelling Headphones- This is one thing I regret not having when I was living in my dorm. My roommate was great, but our neighbors not so much. We survived and many times I spent hours studying in other places across campus. These still would have been super handy! Especially if you aren’t as lucky and have a loud roommate!
7) Electric Tea Kettle- Another item I wish I had, both in my dorm and when I moved into a house with 4 other girls. Just think of all of the convenience foods you could make with hot water! Ramen! Hot Chocolate! Mac N Cheese!
8) Mini Fridge with Freezer- My roommate and I LOVED having this mini fridge. My favorite part was having a freezer along with it. We stuffed Hot Pockets and Ben-n-Jerry’s in ours 😉 Plus, it’s super handy to stash some milk and cereal if you don’t have the chance to run to the dining hall!
9) Lap Desk – I really wish I upgraded my lap desk to something like this back in the day. I’ve had mine since 3rd grade (no lie) and it’s pretty much lost all of its padding! Do yourself a favor and get one of these, looks super handy with the phone holder!
10) Reading Pillow- For real, I had one of these I affectionately called “my husband” and it was ah-may-zing. So much more comfortable than stacking up regular pillows in my opinion! Plus, if you’re heading out to another dorm room to watch a movie, and there isn’t any prime seating left on the bed or futon, you’ll be super thankful to have one of these!
Get Plugged In!
There you have it, 10 items that college freshmen shouldn’t leave home without! If I could do college over, I would definitely grab that table lamp, electric kettle, and noise canceling headphones! Remember, your first priority is to get plugged into a great church and find like-minded friends when it comes to your faith. You’ll have the support you need when college gets overwhelming! You won’t regret it!
Go team go!
What other items do you think you should bring? If you’ve graduated already, what were some life savers that you had?
(This post was originally posted Aug 2015 and has been given new life!)