As caps and gowns are becoming more prevalent, graduation parties are filling up our schedules, and times with the people you grew up with are being cherished, a big season is waiting ahead. You have probably heard time and time again, “Are you ready for your first year of college?” Your mom is probably going insane making a list of every single item you need. Your first year of college is approaching, and you just don’t know what to expect.
If you’re like me, and you’re the oldest sibling to trudge off to college, things can be difficult. I had to learn in my first year of college what I needed and what I truly didn’t need. It was all kind of a mystery. But friends, I don’t want you to be nervous about this transition, and I want you to be prepared. And being prepared means crossing off things from our packing lists that in fact, aren’t really needed.
Without further ado, here are the ten things you should not bring to your first year of college.
1. Your entire wardrobe
Yes, you might be deemed as a “fashionista”. You might even love clothes (and sister, I can relate with you on this one). But coming from personal experience, I brought almost every clothing item I had in my closet, and some never even saw the light of day. In college, people do not wear dresses or skirts, and truth be told at 8:30 in the morning after no sleep you probably won’t even be in the mood to wear one either.
Focus on bringing seasonal clothes, and if you’re going to go overboard, do it with shirts and jeans. Don’t even try to prepare for fancy looks, because college is not fancy by any means. So save yourself and the limited closet space for clothes you actually will wear.
2. Your Entire Shoe Collection
This goes hand and hand with number one. Once again, bring seasonal shoes. In the fall, I brought booties and boots. However, my issue was I brought every pair. There were some boots that I only wore once or twice, and the rest were just taking up space. Yes, you might find comfort seeing all your prized possessions everyday, but they are doing no good just collecting dust. Plus, in college you do a lot of walking, so bringing shoes with big heels or uncomfortable soles is not the best idea.
3. Laptop Tray
Before going to college, I thought I absolutely needed this. On my Target trip (which all of you will eventually make your way to this saving grace in the course of your packing expedition), I was certain I needed to buy a laptop tray. It was in all the college lists on Pinterest, so I felt it was a necessity. I imagined myself in my dorm at night with it plopped right on my bed, relaxing, and enjoying a nice cup of coffee in its handy dandy drink holder. But truth is, I only used this puppy once. And my roommate didn’t even take hers out of the Target box.
In the one time I used my laptop tray, I was sick and it was within the first couple of weeks of college, which is a prime adjustment period. It was one of those really bad days already, and I thought taking this thing out would make everything better. So I got all cuddled up, and I took it out like I imagined I would be doing when I bought it, only to find that the lever needed to be adjusted. So I raised the laptop tray above my head to fix it to my liking, and low and behold the tray’s surface smacked me right in the head. You can now guess why I never took it out again.
4. All Of Your Favorite Books
As a book lover and avid reader, I will admit I find tremendous comfort in the company of my favorite books. So it wasn’t a surprise that I brought about fifteen of my favorite books of all time. And of course, I didn’t open one of them, and they collected dust on my desk. If the thought of not bringing any of your favorite books to school makes you want to cringe and hide in a hole, I suggest you bring your favorite book of all time and leave it at that. The other ones will always stick with you, no matter how close in proximity they are.
5. Chair (Or Any Additional Furniture)
My roommate and I had a chair in our room, and as much as I loved to sit in it, I barely sat in it. In fact, no one ever did. Instead, it just kind of took up space in our room. Your room will already provide you a desk chair, and that should leave you covered for your sitting wishes.
School wise, college is incredibly different from high school. I thought they would be more or less the same, but boy was I wrong. In high school, you typically assign one binder to each subject. You will usually have an array of paper stacked in each of the sleeves and tucked away in each filed area. In college, on the other hand, there are barely any papers passed out. There is no homework filled out in paper, so there is no reason to bring a hole puncher and prepare for a whole lot of paper organization. Instead, the professor speaks, and your job is to take notes. This is how it works in college.
Some people kept track of the information by typing notes on a word doc on their laptop, while I loved writing what I learned in my notebooks. I brought one binder to school before I realized that it was useless for the college style of learning.
7. Plastic Knives and Forks
The reason why I leave out spoons is because my roommate and I lived off of yogurt for breakfast. Spoons is actually what we ran out of most in college, believe it or not. On the other hand, you shouldn’t feel too worried about stocking up on plastic forks and knives. You rarely eat in your room, unless it’s a jimmy johns sandwich (which thankfully, doesn’t require any utensil).
8. Tee Shirts From High School
I thought I needed a bunch of tee shirts, because I sleep in them at night and workout in them. But then I joined a sorority and I got too busy to find time to workout. My tee shirt selection in college was overflowing through my drawers, with many of them collecting dust and never being worn. Whether you plan on joining Greek life or not, I would suggest keeping your tee shirt selection to a minimum. Your college will supply you with free tee shirts left and right, and on top of that, the organization you pour into will give you an abundance of tee shirts as well. Steer clear of making the same mistake I did.
Yes, I know you might cringe at the thought of living without your “Crisp Fall Night” candle while the leaves are falling from the trees, or your all-time favorite lavender scent for relaxing before bed. But friend, you most likely will not do a whole lot of relaxing in college. And when you are, the first thing you are going to want to do is plop on your sea of pillows and not move or talk to anyone for a good solid hour, instead of briskly dancing to light your candle before you start your relaxing time. Also, I am pretty sure you’re not even aloud to burn candles in your dorm room for fear of the dorm burning down. Even though it sounds terrible to leave your candles at home, you will feel confident in your decision by the end of the school year.
10. A million knickknacks
You might think you need a bunch of cute dorm decorations for your desk, but slowly but surely you’ll find they cram up space. Filling up your desk might be the norm in your room at home, but in college, you barely spend time in this space. Sorry if I crushed your dreams with that one.
I didn’t spend much time at my desk because I would be tempted to take a nap or turn on the TV when I desperately needed to study for Calculus. So because your time there is limited, keep the desk decorations to a minimum.
I wish I would’ve known not to bring these items to my first year of college. Now, I hope you all feel much more confident for your big move to adulthood.
You may be nervous, and that’s normal. A huge life change is about to occur! But this time in your life, regardless of what your dorm looks like or how many pens you have, is going to be fruitful and provide tons of growth. You will learn a lot about yourself and you will make friendships that will last a lifetime.
Best of luck on your new, exciting journey!