College necessities everyone should have

how to handle a new living space

Make sure to bring these unexpected necessities.
Illustration: April Kinney · The Sentry

Everyone thinks packing for college is easy. Toothbrush? Check. Sheets? Check. Chargers? Check. But living without parents for the first time requires thinking about all the tiny things that are so often taken for granted. Thus, here’s a list of things that students will definitely need as they acclimate to their new living situation that they may not have thought of before.

Vacuums feel grownup. It’s one of those things that parents deal with, and their kids never really think about until it’s their turn to do the dreaded chore. Until college happens. And sure, dorm rooms are like, 10 feet by 10 feet. And sure, sweeping has a similar function. But nothing will replace a vacuum. They’re fast, reliable, and absolutely necessary if any eating will be happening in said dorm room. An $800 Dyson isn’t necessary; hand-held is fine.

Oil Diffuser
In almost all college dorms, candles are a no-no (just because someone is a college student doesn’t mean they’re responsible enough to handle a tiny open flame). Despite their small size, or perhaps because of it, dorm rooms can smell… funky. Sweaty, mildew-y, or old-pizza-box-left-on-the-floor-y, all dorm rooms have a certain aroma. No one wants that. Invest in a decent oil diffuser, and bask in the fresh aromas and therapeutic benefits.

Oh god, the torture that is dorm room lighting. Who decided abandoned psychiatric hospitals in horror movies and dorm rooms should have the exact same fluorescent lighting? It’s unflattering, nauseating, eye-burning. Lamps are a few bucks at thrift stores, and they absolutely change the game. Lamps are also courteous: when it’s late (or early), and one roomie is sleeping, turning on the massive fluorescent light is like throwing cold water on them. Using a lamp for late night studying, or getting ready pre-8 a.m. lecture, keeps roommate relations like Switzerland (read: neutral).

Themed Clothing
For those that don’t typically don Hawaiian shirts, cat ears, and tulle skirts, these items may seem irrational. Incorrect : these will prove to be some of the most worn items in any closet. Why? Because themed parties are everywhere. School spirit events, Halloween, even small dorm room gatherings (once everyone is vaccinated, of course). This collection of costume-esque garments will grow, but be prepared from day one with the basics: some animal ears, a floral shirt, and a pair of neon tights.

Some kind of coffee maker
Is there a Starbucks right on campus? Yes. But does anyone want to be going to Starbucks every single day? Maybe, but most college students’ wallets can’t handle that. Instead, bring a coffee-making device. Keurigs, Nespressos, French presses, even just an electric kettle are all under $100, and will basically pay for themselves after a few uses. Even for those who do end up at Starbucks every day (it happens to everyone at some point), in-dorm coffee makers come especially in handy when pulling all-nighters, or when it’s just too dang cold to walk a few blocks.

This is a selection from the 2021 Orientation Issue. To view the full issue, visit:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *