Welcome to Lawrence University, your home for the next nine months. Are you sure you have everything you need? I remember my first move-in, unpacking, picking which activities to go to, the excitement of Freshman Studies (that feeling will pass). Now, on the edge of my senior year, I pass on my list of essentials-the ten things I wish I would have remembered to bring with me at the beginning of my freshman year, and now the ten things I don’t return to campus without.1. USB Flash Drive When your printer is broken, or the computer lab is out of paper a flash drive may be the key to getting your paper printed quickly. As you will discover, the less often you log on to a campus computer, the longer it takes for it to log you on. If you’re in a hurry, put your paper on a flash drive and find someone already logged on. Ask to borrow their computer, if they have a moment to spare, so you can print your paper.
What’s the alternative? Email your paper to yourself so that you can just as quickly jump on a computer and print it off. Make sure you put it in the right format, or you’ll be running back to your own computer.
2. Hot Pot Do you like tea? Hot chocolate? Soup? Macaroni and cheese? All of these-anything that requires hot water to prepare-can be made in a hot pot. Just make sure that you buy one that is designed for food, and not just water. Otherwise, get yourself a microwavable bowl or mug and use the microwave on your floor. You may also check out a pot or pan from the hall front desk and head down to the kitchen to cook the old fashioned way.
3. Mattress Pad While the mattresses aren’t the worst I’ve ever slept on, they aren’t like your bed at home. The best case scenario? It’s comfortable. most of the time. My advice is to get yourself a mattress pad to make what sleep you get the best possible. Buy a king size egg-crate style mattress pad, and cut it in half. You can have double the padding, or split it (and the cost) with your roommate.
4. Compact Umbrella You never know when it’s going to rain. Just in case, get yourself a collapsible umbrella that fits in your book bag. This way, you’ll never be caught off guard. A rain jacket or a poncho is a good alternative, but can be bulky or easily forgotten on a sunny day. Check the forecast in the morning to see what the weather calls for.
5. Grab ‘n’ Go Meals When lunch just isn’t in your schedule, a snack is a great way to get through the day without hunger distracting you. Keep a few granola bars (or any other stomach filler) with that umbrella, and you’ll never go wrong. Out of portable snacks? Plan ahead and stop by Lucy’s for a Grab ‘n’ Go meal container-fill it up with as much of whatever looks good and have a spare meal on your schedule.
6. Water Purifier and Recyclable Water Bottle Why spend money on bottles of water when you can just refill a recyclable water bottle? Save your money and the environment at the same time. A water purifying jug will keep water at your finger tips and help keep you hydrated. If you’re like me and enjoy cold water, filtered or not, just keep a spare water bottle in your fridge for when the other gets low.
7. Fabric Refresher Spray Don’t waste your quarters doing laundry for things that don’t need to be washed. yet. A bottle of fabric refresher spray can get you another day of wear with that sweatshirt. Did your favorite pair of pants get mixed in with the dirty laundry? A quick spray and they are ready for a night out. A few hours of wear doesn’t mean it’s ready for the laundry, yet.
8. Collapsible Laundry Basket/Hamper Try your hardest to keep the clutter at a minimum, sometimes things just pile up. Your dirty clothes don’t have to be a part of the mess. A collapsible hamper or a laundry basket tucked into your closet or under your bed will help keep things cleaner. It also comes in handy when laundry day finally arrives and you have to cart your clothes to the laundry room.
9. Date Book Stay organized with a date book. If you keep it with you at all times, you’ll always know when you’re available, or when your paper is due. When you get your class syllabus, transfer all of the due dates to your date book-it’s harder for a paper to sneak up on you if you keep yourself organized. If a date book isn’t your style, try using Google Calendar, it’s free if you have a Gmail account (which is also free), or get a wall, desk or dry erase calendar. Whatever works for you to keep organized is the right system.
10. Vitamins We all try to eat right, stay hydrated, and get plenty of sleep, in the beginning, but then things build up. The stress of trying to keep up starts to build up, and pretty soon eating right is reduced to remembering to eat anything at all. It isn’t always easy to remember to take care of ourselves. Help keep yourself in top performing condition by staying as healthy as possible and taking a multivitamin to fill in for what you don’t or can’t get on a daily basis. Don’t know what to buy, or what your body needs? Stop by the health center for some free advice.