College & Career

Stock up!

By Morgan DiVittorio, Riverside Brookfield
and Amy Tan, Walter Payton

Chances are if you’re a senior, things are starting to fall into place. Graduation is finally in sight, and you’ve most likely decided on your post-high school plans. If these plans include moving away to college, you’re probably busy looking for a roommate, figuring out housing or signing up for orientations.

Something that you may not be thinking of yet is what exactly to pack when you venture off alone to a completely new place you will call home for the next four years. Obviously, you know the basics—clothes, bedding, laundry hamper, etc.—but what about the not so basic things? Don’t worry. These few items can make your first semester at college feel a little less overwhelming and a lot more like home.

A special memory item from home

Build-A-Bear Chicago Cubs

Moving to an entirely new place can cause homesickness. Whether it’s a blanket, a teddy bear or even an old scrapbook, it will remind you of home and make you feel less separated.


A Keurig

Coffee in bed

If you aren’t a coffee person, you will be in college. Having a coffee maker can be essential for all-nighters and 8 a.m. classes. This will especially come in handy if you’re running late and don’t have time to go the dining hall.


Power strip

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Imagine all the electronic devices that you’ll need to survive college, from phones and laptops to hairdryers, and multiply by the number of roommates you’ll have. There are simply not enough wall outlets for everyone, which is why having a power strip is absolutely essential.


Air freshener


Something that freshmen don’t realize is that when you’re cooped up in a room with sweaty socks and shoes, things can get pretty stinky very quickly. Stock up on some sweet scents that will not only cover up the smell, but make you feel more at home.


A wireless printer


While yes, schools have libraries with printers you can use, it’s always convenient when you can wirelessly print something from your laptop in the comfort of your own room. Also, some schools charge you for printing with their printers.


Portable charger


One of the worst things that can happen during a college party or event is when everyone is taking photos with their friends, your phone suddenly dies on you because you didn’t have time to go back to your dorm to charge it. With a portable charger, that will never be a problem again. This could be a life saver.


Ear plugs


Ear plugs are something you might never use in your daily life now, but you will find a use for them at college. If your roommate is an unexpectedly loud snorer or your neighbors have a tendency to blast music into the early hours, you can pop them in your ears to block out the unnecessary sounds.


Closet organizers


In a dorm, you will most likely have very little closet space. Closet organizers such as shelving units, hanging bags and bins can help you make the most of the little space you are given.


Shower caddy


For all of those who are going to have communal bathrooms in college, the shower caddy offers a quick way to organize all your toiletries and lug them to the bathroom down the hall every day.


Reusable containers


These are handy for saving food from the dining halls for those late night cravings. They can be washed and used again for an endless stash of snacks in your dorm.


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About The Mash

The Mash is the Chicago Tribune's newspaper and website written for teens, by teens. The paper is distributed for free every other Thursday at Chicago-area high schools and is written largely by high school students.

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