Blue pennant with a paw print on it hangs on dorm door
Category: Campus Life

Title: College Packing Essentials Not Enough People Talk About

Author: Ava (C'24)
Date Published: July 26, 2023

One of the most stressful parts of starting college is preparing for the big move. Here, I’m giving you the ultimate college packing guide to alleviate some of the nervousness and ensure you’ve come to college prepared.

I’m leaving out the obvious things to pack and focusing only on all the items no one talks about but will set you up for success on the Hilltop.


OK, this one might be an obvious item, but it’s something I personally forgot to pack. Bring a small and portable umbrella that you can easily bring to class. It will rain while you’re at school and you will need this, without a doubt. Also, contrary to popular belief, it’s way more embarrassing to walk drenched in the rain than to hold an umbrella, I promise.


Stain Remover Pen

Having a Tide Stick or other stain remover pen is incredibly useful in college. They work great and everyone always needs one. If you don’t end up using your Tide Stick, someone will ask you for one and you’ll save their day!


Portable Charger

A portable charger is a must in college. If you’re new to DC, you’ll want a fully charged phone to last the whole day while you’re exploring your new city.


Command Hooks

Get Command Hooks to put up posters, pictures and other art in your dorm room. They’re sturdy and don’t damage walls. You can also use Command Hooks to hang lights in your room or hang coats, bags or towels.


Step Stool

This only applies to first years whose desks are lofted under their bed, which happens to be very common in first-year dorms. If your bed is super high up, invest in a step stool. You’ll be thankful you made the purchase.


Shower Shoes

If you live in a dorm with communal showers, buy some shower shoes, pretty self-explanatory.


Your Childhood Stuffed Animal

As for the more sentimental items, pack things from home that bring you comfort. Whether that is a special blanket or stuffed animal from your childhood, bring it along to college. You’re never too old for a stuffed animal and you would be surprised by how much comfort it can bring in a new environment.


Photos of Family and Friends

Although some people never experience homesickness at college, many people will. Print out photos of your friends and family to keep them close while you’re away.


Beyond the necessities, whenever I go back to school I like to think, “If it brings me joy and fits in my suitcase, I’ll bring it.” So be open and think about what you’ll need to bring to set yourself up for success. We’re all rooting for you! Hoya Saxa!