College Dorm Essentials

“I tell all my friends, that living on campus, especially in a dorm, is an experience that you’re never going to have any other time in your life.”

Jake Ellis, an International Business student & Resident Assistant

It is time for college, and you are moving away from home. Leaving family and friends can be bittersweet, sad, and exciting all at the same time. It can be nerve-wracking to leave the friendly, familiar environment of your room at first, but you can make your transition to dormitory life easier by creating a dorm room supply checklist and discussing some essential guidelines with your roommate(s).

Dorm Room Supply List

Not sure where to start? How about with a little bit of planning? Creating a dorm room supply list is a wonderful way to not only get organized, but also guide your shopping to create a comfortable new atmosphere for your college stay. Grab a pen and paper and start writing down everything you can think of that you will absolutely need like your clothing, shoes, computer, chargers for your phone (and laptop if you are using a laptop instead of a desktop), bathroom necessities, and bedding. Once you’ve got the essentials, you can start thinking of the other things you’d like to bring that would bring you comfort in your new surroundings. Some example items may include framed family portraits and other knick-knacks that have special meaning to you. Lastly, jot down a section of goods that you may need to purchase once you move in or replenish in the future, like shampoo, razors, laundry detergent, etc. These should make up the core of your dorm room supply list! Keep it somewhere handy and check things off as you go when you’re packing, and for future reference.

Dorm Room Supply: The Big Items

After identifying the personal dorm room supplies you will bring, it’s time to jot down the bigger items that you and your future roommates will likely be sharing. Space is limited in dorm rooms, but the bigger items like microwaves, refrigerators, and TVs may be useful to have. If you will be sharing a space with roommates, then it would be a good idea to discuss and come up with a game plan. You may already have an extra microwave sitting around at home that you can contribute, while your roommate may have a TV he or she can bring. If there is something that will be necessary but neither of you owns it yet, then it would be appropriate to come to an agreement as to who will buy it and how to split the cost, etc. Communication is key here, so you can avoid clutter and unnecessary spending. This discussion can be a great way to start bonding with roommates and get a preview of what dorm life will be like!

Dorm Room Essential Guidelines

Make dorm life a positive, memorable experience by laying down some basic ground rules amongst your roommate(s) early on before or shortly after move-in. Some colleges and universities actually require roommate(s) to sign a contract regarding expectations and guidelines for the room to ensure that all parties are on the same page. But if not, then it would be smart to take it upon yourself to do so to prevent any future problems that could snowball quickly. Some common lifestyle differences that may cause potential problems include:

  • Smokers vs. non-smokers
  • Neat freaks vs. messy people
  • Early risers vs. night owls

It is totally normal for people to have differing lifestyles. However, it may be wise to address them early on and come to a compromise before it becomes problematic. While dorm life can be unpredictable, having some rules in place and sharing accountability can give everyone a sense of peaceful living. Remember that college life isn’t all about acing exams – it’s also about building communication skills with people of various backgrounds and personalities, developing patience and understanding, and ultimately, learning!

Venturing Out of the Dorm Room

Now that you’ve nailed the dorm room supply list and agreed on some dorm room essential guidelines, dorm life should start to feel like a new home. Once you’ve settled in, it’s time to venture out and provide yourself with a well-rounded foundation for success! Academics are important, but so are other meaningful aspects of the college experience like volunteer organizations that pique your interest, student government, sport or activity groups, and more. Visit your campus Student Activities or Student Organizations office to learn about the opportunities you may be able to jump on! Remember that your years in college will ultimately be what you make of it, so spend every minute wisely to make something memorable. Through joining clubs and organizations, you may find new best friends that share similar interests, goals, and even beliefs & values in life!