Ultimate first-year survival guide

Coming into college, you may have heard several rumors about the dorms. You may be feeling quite anxious about it or are very unsure about what to bring along with you on the big move-in day. You’ve talked to your roommate on who is bringing the mini fridge, but that’s about it. 

Here is a list of a few suggestions of things to bring along with you as you move into your new room. Hopefully, this will calm some of the nerves or speculations you may be having about the shoebox you will call home next year.

Communal bathrooms, oh my!

First, bring a shower caddy. These can help you organize all the things you need to take a shower since you cannot leave your things in the shower like you did at home. Also, your room might be the farthest one from the bathroom. The worst is getting all the way to the bathroom to brush your teeth and forgetting your toothpaste in your room. Okay, it’s not the worst, but it isn’t enjoyable. 

Wisconsin weather, a fickle thing

Being in Wisconsin means you must bring seasonal clothes. Your new closet may be a little smaller than your one at home, so limit the clothes you bring to school to whichever season it is. Try and plan the times that you can switch your wardrobe and be honest with yourself: Do I really need my parka in September? No. 

Possibly ‘Marie Kondo’ your wardrobe so that not only your specific clothes items bring you joy but the extra space in your closet does too. 

More Caddies

Speaking from experience, bring a bed caddy. At home, you may have had a night stand to store all the things that you may need when you crawl into bed at night. Bed caddies can come in handy to hold all of these things and save space in your dorm that a nightstand would take up, or if you choose to, loft your bed. 

The idea for a freshman dorm room is to keep it as simple as possible. Bring in your own style, pictures and decorations to make your little room feel like home but don't be fooled, you’re sharing a small room with someone else: simplicity is the key. 

Bring a good attitude

Some people make living in the dorms sound like a very bad experience. You may have heard that it will be the worst place that you will live during your college experience, that the bathrooms are gross or that it is impossible to live in a space that is so small. 

While all of those may be true, ignore these comments and bring a positive attitude. It’s your new home. This is where you will create countless memories that you will hold close to your heart. You will meet people here that you may want to spend the rest of your college career with. Your shoebox room will be the least of your worries when you’re having the best time of your life.  

Yes, there will be things in your dorm that you are not used to, like living so close to people or sharing a bathroom with every person on your floor. However, I promise that if you move in with an optimistic attitude and a will to take advantage of all the opportunities your dorm can offer, you will go home next summer wishing you could relive it all again.

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