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Voices of ACES Blog

10 College Must Haves

Welcome sign on campus dorm building
Sign welcomes students to campus

Pack your bags, you’re moving to college!

Your first taste of adulthood… moving out! It’s intimidating, but there’s no reason you should feel unprepared. Let us help you get ready for college life and class with our 10 college must-haves!

1. Buy the mattress topper!

You may think it’s just another unnecessary item, but I promise that a good mattress topper is life-changing. Entering college means staying up late, hanging out or doing homework. In order to conquer those early morning classes, you need quality sleep with a mattress topper. Whether it’s memory foam, or a cheaper one from Amazon (this worked for me), your sleep will have never been better!

2. Don’t forget your umbrella.

This one feels like a given, but you’d be surprised by the amount of people who forget one! You don’t need anything fancy for this. This will be the item you don’t need until you do, and it should live in your backpack. As long as you have it, you’re in the clear!

3. Get a power strip/surge protector.

There is a high demand for cords and chargers in outlets. You can find a power strip just about anywhere, just make sure it has a surge protector. This is essential for meeting fire safety standards as well as protecting your devices.

4. You need a shower caddy.

Whether it’s mesh or hard plastic, a shower caddy is a must. There is no need for you to be lugging your items in arm to the bathroom every single time. Make the trip quick by keeping it all in one place. It also allows you to hang your shower supplies in your room or the bathroom.

5. Shower shoes are a necessity!

On the topic of showers, no one wants to walk barefoot from their room to the bathroom, let alone stand in that shower barefoot. Shower shoes are perfect for this problem. You can get any type of plastic sandal, but I highly recommend ones with slits in the bottom so the water doesn’t sit in your shoes afterwards.

6. A laundry basket you can easily carry.

Not only is it not super fun to do laundry, it’s also not super fun to haul your laundry basket to the elevator or up and down the stairs. Make sure to choose a laundry basket that’s easy to carry. I suggest one you can wear as a backpack, but ones with wheels or good handles will do the trick!

7. Remember the first aid kit!

You will get cuts and bruises and headaches, so don’t forget this necessity. It’s always a good idea to have items such as bandaids, Neosporin, and ibuprofen. I was always passing out bandaids to my friends who didn’t have any.

8. Bring the command strips and hooks.

You. Will. Need. These. You can never have too many command strips/hooks. I was constantly using them for decor or holding things in place. Not to mention, you’ll use these for the rest of your life, so they’ll never not be handy. Get a variety pack so you can have all different kinds.

9. You’re going to want a phone wallet.

There is student ID access to so many places on campus, and it’s a hassle to open your bag for it every time. Get a cute phone wallet, maybe one with a Block I one from the Illini Union Bookstore, so you have your I-card in your back pocket at all times. This truly makes life so much easier!

10. Obviously, you need a laptop or tablet!

This choice is pretty dependent on your major and what kind of storage you need, but you’re in need of some kind of laptop or tablet. I’m an Agricultural Communications major, so my Macbook Air is great for being lightweight in my bag and having a long battery life.  You can find a lot of resources and recommendations online for what your specific major may need.

Now you’re ready to tackle packing and join the famILLy! Take this list and write it down, make a wish list, and be extra nice to your parents or guardians. It’s scary to say goodbye to what you’ve always known, but this next chapter is just waiting for you, and it will be the best one yet! See you soon, Illini!