August 11, 2013

BACK TO SCHOOL SERIES: MOST USEFUL ITEMS

Even though this will be my second year not attending school at the beginning of the year, I still get as excited as if I were. I was one of the weird kids that always got excited for school to start again. This was especially the case in college.
So, because I can't have my first day of school at college this year, I thought I'd mention a couple of tips that I learned from my time there and hopefully they'll help any newbies.
Believe it or not, the day after my high school graduation, I was packed up and on the road to BYU-I in Rexburg, Idaho to attend my first semester of school (actually, it was a half-semester). Most people's response is something like "Oh. That sucks," but actually, it was the best decision I ever made. I was so ready to be out of high school and it didn't bother me that I was going straight from school to school with no break, even before I found out how much fun college can be.
After only getting lost twice (because Idaho is SO urban that it's easy to get lost), I finally made it to my apartment, unpacked, and got settled. I quickly learned what items were really useful at school and what were not.

Useful:
  1. Quarters. Bring LOTS of quarters with you to school because most laundromats that you use require quarters and it is a pain to have to go to the bank to get some.
  2. Cinder blocks. With how much stuff you bring, (especially if you're a girl), you're probably going to need more storage than what's offered. Put your bed on cinder blocks to give you more storage space under the bed.
  3. Bicycle. I was on a smaller campus and the bike was nice. When I went to BYU Provo, the bicycle was a necessity!
  4. Costumes. You will not BELIEVE how useful a duct tape dress can be for class skits and just to have a good time!
  5. Lysol wipes. Just leave it on top of the toilet and wipe it down after each use. Clean checks will go a lot smoother.
  6. Laundry bag. (Found this one from Urban Outfitters) Having a basket is nice because you can just throw dirty laundry in there whenever, but walking from your apartment tot he laundry facility when there are boys walking around and your underwear is hanging out on top... Yeah, that's kind of embarrassing. Get a laundry bag that is not mesh or see-through in any way, and it's easy to throw over your shoulder and carry down.
  7. Push pins. I used these A LOT to hang up a few photos and it was especially useful for hanging up my jewelry.
  8. Tape and a stapler. Important for school.
  9. Glade plug-in. Let's be honest... Some roommates stink. My favorite is warm vanilla. Mmmmm...
  10. Extension cords. It's not always easy to find another nearby outlet, especially when you're sharing.

Not Useful:
  1. Dish set. Don't bother bringing that entire dish set that you think you're going to need. Just bring a modest set and wash your dish every time you use it.
  2. Framed photos. You might see all the framed photos around your roommates area and think, "Aw... they look so cool and popular and I should bring some of mine so I look cool, too." C'mon. You do not need that load to take up room in your car. Bring a few photos, some push pins, and some tape and you're good to go.
  3. Printer. Not entirely useless, especially when you're in a hurry, but there are printers on campus. Try to plan ahead.
  4. Pots and pans. If you know who your roommates are going to be, try to collaborate with them to see who's willing to share what so not everyone brings their own set. If not, bring a modest amount.
  5. TV. I'm not kidding. One kid I knew brought a giant TV to play video games on that he set right on the table. Stupid.
  6. Video games. Unless it's something like the Wii where you only bust it out for dates or a fun night with your friends, don't bother.
  7. DVDs/blurays. Just pick a few of your favorites. You're probably going to spend more time out doing things with people than staying in watching a movie, but if you ever decide to, then you've got a couple of options.
  8. Formals. Every formal dance and pageant dress you own does not need to come with you. Maybe the school will have a formal dance, but you don't need your entire entourage.
  9. Furniture. Unless you're moving into an unfurnished apartment, don't bother. Although love sacks are pretty amazing. I might make an exception for that one. Just make plans for hauling it up and back or leaving it with someone when you leave for the summer (if you leave).
  10. Decorations. It's fun to decorate your side of the room a little, but don't go overboard. Rugs and plants would be considered a little overboard.
What did/do you find useful in college? What wasn't?
The main thing to remember is not to take too much with you. There's nothing more annoying than a roommate that brings everything she's ever owned and takes up the entire kitchen, bedroom, and living room with all of her junk. Just make do with the minimum and remember that it won't be like this forever. You can have your entire dish set and pots and pans in a few years, but for now, you'll be fine with cinder blocks and push pins. Happy packing for college you lovely, lovely people! Be excited and be grateful! It's going to be epic.

-Sue
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