When your kids are young, schools make it so easy for you to get everything they’ll need for the year. Lists are sent out to Targets and Walmarts everywhere, and all you need to do is cross out the supplies you have left over from last year and pick up the ones you’ll need for this year. However, when your kids are older and graduating high school, getting all the things they’ll need for college might not be so simple. Some universities will courteously mail out a “Freshman package,” including lists of things new students might need. For those who are need of a little more guidance, here are some things that I wish I had for Freshman year:
Seems simple enough, right? Wrong. My friends and I personally failed to realize that we’d be outside a lot more than in high school, braving the elements as we trekked across campus to class through rain and snow. Especially snow. No matter how many pairs of socks you wear under your Ugg boots, they aren’t going to keep the ice and snow from melting into your shoes and freezing your toes off. Nothing keeps your toes drier than good old rainboots, which reminds me: if you’re going to college in another state, make sure you pack for the weather difference.
2. Head Phones / Earplugs.
Looking back, I really wish I had invested in some ear plugs when I was a freshman. Reason being, freshman year in the dorms I went potluck and ended up sharing a room with a girl that seemed pretty cool and normal at first, but who ended up being, for lack of a better description, a total psycho. She probably fought with her boyfriend over the phone almost every night until she finally broke up with him, which wasn’t for a while. She also liked to bring friends over on the nights when I was studying for a big exam. Needless to say, I soon became closely acquainted with the library and assorted study rooms. It would’ve been nice though, when I felt like being in the comfort of my own room, to have had some ear plugs so I could block out her drama-filled nights and get some quality sleep. Luckily, I did have some headphones that I could just plug into my nano iPod and drown out her hysterical nightly arguments. Either way, sometimes your roommate is going to want to blast their music when you need quiet, so ear plugs are a great investment.
3. A bag of quarters.
Now this is something that a lot of college students seemed to know about, but I arrived without a clue. I never really gave much thought to how I would be doing my laundry, much less how to do it. Each dorm building had a set of washers and driers in the basement, and there was a Laundromat across the street. A lot of times I happened to stumble across some change and would excitedly save it for laundry day – other times I bummed some quarters off of my kind-hearted friends. I didn’t live close enough to drive over to my parents’ home every weekend to do laundry. Parents: make sure your kids have the necessary funds to do their laundry every week. And college kids, remember: wash whites with hot water, and darks and colors with cold water. Don’t wash your towels with your clothes. Yeah, I saw some of my peers do that. I’ve seen quite a few things in my time.
4. Last, but not least, first aid kit.
Somewhere between buying comforters, mini-refrigerators, and school books, a first aid kit somehow gets lost among the frenzy. However, there are many times when a band aid, some” migraine” medicine, or some Neosporin would have come in handy. Being a reckless, lazy college kid, I usually just let my immune system do its work for most of these maladies. Nevertheless, if I had had access to these things to quicken up the healing process, I’m sure there would have been fewer times that I missed/was late to class.
From all of us at Smith, we hope your college kids are excited and prepared for the next four years of their lives. Take a tip from a college grad and make sure your freshman have these four essentials as you are completing your back-to-school shopping.