Okay. Here is my list for packing for college. Please leave comments if you want to see things added, like explanations or whatever.
So a bunch of you are now going off to college in the fall. What will you pack? How will you survive your first semester? The following is general stuff that I hope you will find helpful. There are two sections: What to Bring and College Advice.
What to Bring
(In this section: Clothing, For the Bathroom//Hygiene, Cleaning Supplies, Electronics, For Your Desk//School Supplies, Storage, First Aid Kit, Toolbox, Food Items and Such, Craft Items, Miscellaneous, Items to Pick up in the Campus Vicinity, Items NOT to Bring)
We’re all from New England, we all know how to deal with the weather (for those of you who don’t: layer). However, there are some clothing issues you might not be aware of:
1. Underwear. Bring enough to last you for at least two weeks.
2. Ditto with socks; if you're going to a cold climate, bring a few pairs of wool socks.
3. Slippers, even if you don’t wear them at home, are really nice to have at college.
5. Bathrobe, for those 4am fire alarms. (Note, though, that actually getting dressed is a better idea, and that the bathrobe serves other purposes.)
6. Long-sleeved t-shirts are great and useful in layering.
7. Clothes to work out in, because you might go to the gym.
8. Figure out what you need to bring clothes-wise, for pants, shirts, sweaters, sweatshirts, bras, button-down shirts, ties, belts, shoes (snow boots, hiking boots, sneakers, nice shoes, rain boots, etc.), purses, blazers/sports jackets, shirts to wear to parties, coats and jackets, mittens, scarves, hats, etc.
10. Laundry detergent, dryer sheets. (Tip: wash your items on a regular basis. Follow the care instructions. And it’s okay to change your bedding, too! It feels really nice.) Also recommended is two rolls of quarters, in case the card machine in the laundry room gets busted before you go home. Of course, this all depends on how laundry at your school works. You should find out before you arrive on campus.
11. Have at least one nice thing to wear. “You never know if you’re going to end up at a little semi or a Greek event.” Though I recommend avoiding Greek everything if possible.
12. Bring shoes with good traction, especially if you’re going to school where weather can be nasty.
13. A hamper. If it’s a small hamper, you’re more likely to do your laundry on a regular basis and not run out of clothing.
14. A small sewing and repair kit. You can buy these pre-packaged at a bunch of stores. I keep mine with my stain remover (which you should also have) and cleaning supplies. You might also want a lint remover, but you can substitute that with masking tape.
15. If you're going to have to iron anything, bring an iron and a small collapsible board.
Tip: Don't bring your winter clothing in August. Trade off seasonal clothing during school breaks, or ship things home/to school.
Tip: Learn how to do laundry or put on an index card how to do laundry. So you do it right and don't shrink stuff.
For the Bathroom//Hygiene
Don’t leave your things in the bathroom, because people will steal it. Well, it’s better to assume they will, anyway.
1. Liquid soap. Easy clean up for if you drop the bottle. NOT SO MUCH WITH A BAR.
2. Hair dryer, hair brush/comb, hair elastics, hair styling products
3. Some sort of carrying device for when you shower. Almost anything will work: a mesh bag, a shower caddie, whatever. If you get a shower caddie, make sure it has holes on the bottom so it can drain water.
4. Towels, wash cloths.
5. Hand towels. You should have one anyway, in case you need to use the ice pack (or you could use paper towels for the ice pack) Another use for the hand towel is as a mat for wet items (shoes, umbrella, rain boots). Also, some schools may not have paper towel dispensers. And if there is a community hand towel, would you really want to use it?
6. Nail clippers
7. Tweezers (and if you don’t tweeze anything, these are good for a first aid kit)
8. A small magnifying mirror so you can tweeze your eyebrows and examine that
9. Flip flops for the shower.
This is very important for different reasons. Often other people’s hair will just build up between shower stalls, and you don’t want to step in it. Some people pee in the shower. Some people spit. Some people have sex in the shower. I know of one person who drank beer and spilled everywhere, and then the floor was sticky forever. Also, some things are easily transmitted, even if you don’t have open cuts on your feet. You should always protect your feet when you enter the bathroom, even if it’s just socks, and even just to pee. Because you don’t know what hasn’t made it into the toilet.
10. Toothbrush and toothpaste. Bring several replacement toothbrushes (you will probably drop at least one toothbrush on the bathroom floor). Also, if you brush your teeth every day, you’ll go through two tubes of toothpaste (both my friend and I did, anyway). Listerine, because some days you will wake up late and not have time to brush your teeth. And floss.
11. A loufa.
12. For girls: pads and tampons, make-up and make-up remover, nail polish & remover, cotton balls, jewelry, perfume, whatever else you do for beauty.
15. Multiple bottles of shampoo, conditioner, hair styling products, etc., because you'll go through it quickly.
16. Razors, lots of razors. And shaving cream/gel.
17. For those of you with sensitive skin, be prepared for hard water and know what soaps
OMG CLEANING IS SO IMPORTANT. Even if you have a messy room at home, I highly recommend that you keep your room at college neat. It’s so much nicer to come back to after class. Also, try to not spend too much time in your room. Go to various places to do work – the library, dining commons, outside, the lounge, a rec room, etc. The less time you spend in your room, the cleaner it might be (theoretically, because you won’t be living in it). But here’s what I found useful:
3. Scented kitchen trash bags (it smells really nice when you change trash bags)
4. Stain remover .is.your.best.friend.
5. Paper towels
6. Two or three bottles of Clorox wipes.
7. A small vacuum cleaner (This has been recommended by three people, though if you don't have a rug and don't plan on eating on your bed, you probably don't need one).
8. Windex. You will be surprised how much dust and dirt your mirror and window will pick up.
9. If you know that the floor will be bare (meaning, there won't be a carpet provided by the school), perhaps you'd like to bring a swiffer. These are nice when you go to a cold climate because you get snow, salt, and dirt stuck to your shoes and then it goes all over the floor and sticks there.
10. A broom and dust pan.
Tip: Clean down your room before you move in.
Tip: Good to keep on hand: unscented baby wipes, napkins (from the dining commons).
Tip: If you don't feel like lugging these items with you, you or your parents can pick them up the day you move in from a local store, like CVS (and there is usually one within the college vicinity) or Target or whatever other little stores there are.
1. Obviously, your computer and printer (for your printer, I recommend it be able to scan and copy as well). I also recommend you buy a lock for your computer, and lock it even when it’s in your room. You don’t know if your roommate will always lock the door. [Tip: For the lock, the combination should not be your birthdate (ex., 0710), nor should it be your birth year (ex., 1983). These are easy to find out and/or guess (and most of your classmates will have been born in the same year).]
2. Your digital camera, because you’re spoiled, AND battery charger; Cell phone AND battery charger; iPod or other music listening device.
3. Speakers, if desired. One contributor says, “Speakers make movies louder and clearer, and you will appreciate bass so much more.”
4. Printer paper (if you don't bring a printer, bring paper so that when you have your friends print your papers for you, they don't have to use their own. It's a nice gesture.)
5. Ink and replacement ink cartridges. You will print many papers.
7. That memory stick thing that goes in the USB port.
8. Extension cord or two, and two or three surge protectors.
9. The user manuals to all of this equipment.
10. For your computer, check for viruses weekly.
11. Installation discs and all the cords and wires that come with your computer.
For Your Desk//School Supplies
1. A desk light. Room lighting may not be adequate.
2. Book ends, if you plan on having books on your desk.
3. Some books that you enjoy reading and that would make for a good study break. I recommend books from high school that you might have enjoyed. I highly, highly recommend Coping with Difficult People by Robert Bramson, Ph.D.
5. Surge protectors (two or three)
6. Trash can (your school will probably provide you with a recycling barrel thing, but that's because they want you to separate your recyclables from your trash)
7. Address book with the addresses of your friends at college. Sending and receiving letters and cards is a nice treat. So also bring envelopes and stamps. Everyone loves getting mail, and you’re more likely to get it if you send it. (Don't feel like writing it out? Type it.)
8. A nice box or big folder where you can store important paper work and user manuals to things.
9. An envelope to store all your receipts in, so you can keep track of your college spending.
10. Rubber bands are so goddamn useful. Also, staples, paper clips, pencil erasers, pencil sharpener, post-it notes, thumb tacks.
11. Stapler, hole puncher
12. Scotch tape, masking tape, duct tape
13. Batteries, AAA and AA
14. A bunch of small notebooks and index cards
15. Some larger notebooks for class notes, because your computer does not have the battery capacity for all your class hours in one day, and also because dragging your computer around all the time is a pain in the ass, and if you take your eyes off it it'll probably be stolen.
16. A container for your desk scissors, ruler, sharpies, pens and pencils.
17. More pens than you will ever use in your lifetime. Keep extras in your backpack and purse in case you forget to bring one to class. Try to not lend them out, because, as we all know, you will not get them back. Also, highlighters.
18. A calculator.
19. At least one backpack.
20. A room phone, especially if you don’t have a cell phone. (Tip: Sign your room phone for the National Do Not Call List.)
Every college student is concerned with storage.
Tip: Pack things into your storage containers for when you move to college, instead of bringing 8 suitcases.
1. Store like items together. Example: all your cleaning items should be together, not thrown in with food items.
2. Plastic milk crates are useful for smaller items. (example: food, shoes, cleaning items)
3. Store things under your bed and out of sight. All clutter is bad.
4. Plastic storage bins (Rubbermaid, etc.) are wonderful and store easily under the bed.
5. Ziploc bags. The one-gallon sized ones are great for storing underwear and socks. You can also use the smaller ones for other things -- like for the pens in your bag, or your pads and tampons in your bag, or those grapes you stole from the dining commons, etc.
First Aid Kit
I used my first aid kit a lot this year, for two reasons: Friend X and Friend Y. And also some other friends. So, here are some things that I found to be really useful in having:
1. Q-tips (I kept some in an old Rx container. Q-tips are useful for applying Neosporin and (after wetting) for removing dirt particles from wounds)
3. An ace bandage
4. Cough drops
5. Athletic tape and gauze pad, for larger scratches (like a fully exposed nail bed)
6. Aloe Vera
7. A thermometer
8. A bag of frozen peas to keep in a freezer somewhere – works as an ice pack. USEFUL!
9. Lip balm
10. Sudafed Sinus & Cold (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Great for colds!)
11. Your own medications, such as for migraines or allergies, birth control, behavioral health, any other prescription medication you're on.
12. Hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol to clean out larger scratches and wounds.
13. Heating pad (also useful for when you have menstrual cramps or when you’re cold).
14. Aleve and some form of Ibuprofen. I've found that Ibuprofen works better for aches, pains, and fevers, and Aleve for headaches. Also, when you're very sick, you can double up on medicine and take ONE dose of each at the same time. If you do it correctly (push fluids, eat something first!), it works well and is safe. But remember to drink lots of liquids and to eat something, or you will have abdominal cramping. [WARNING: Check labels to make sure you aren't mixing two medications that shouldn't be mixed...]
15. A box or two of assorted sizes band-aids.
16. An anti-itch cream (Cortizone, hydrocortizone, something along those lines) for bug bites.
17. Tums or Rolaids or some other form of an antacid.
I guess you don’t need a toolbox, but I’ve found it pretty helpful. Here’s what I have in mine:
1. Various electrical tapes
3. Plug adapters
4. Ziploc ties
5. Two knives, different sizes (these can be used for a variety of activities, including for food)
6. Permanent adhesive
7. A small bungee cord
9. Assorted nails and screws
10. A screwdriver with assorted heads
11. A wrench
12. A hammer
13. Duct tape
Tip: Label everything with your name and keep track of your items if you lend them out.
Food Items and Such
Students at my school are allowed to have microwaves and small refrigerators, so maybe this won’t apply to you. But I found these things useful to have:
1. Chicken noodle soup and accessories: cans of chicken noodle soup, a bowl for it, a can opener, saran wrap.
2. Oven mitts (for removing hot items from the microwave). Alternative: a hand towel or wash cloth.
3. Tea, with assorted things (sugar, honey, etc., you might be able to steal this from the dining commons)
4. Mug or two for tea. Recommended, “Find thermal mugs from local businesses (from home!) and bring them for hot chocolate/tea/coffee. It’ll feel nice to be different from everyone else with school stuff.”
5. Paper plates and plastic silverware, because you really will not clean dishes and silverware. It's okay to bring tupperware, though. Also bring dish soap.
6. Plastic cups
7. Ziploc bags!!
8. Make sure your fridge and microwave meet school guidelines. If possible, get a tall fridge, “or nothing will fit, and tetris in the fridge sucks.
9. Ideas for snacks: fruit, peanut butter, Ritz crackers, animal crackers, cookies, tuna and mayonnaise, granola bars, yogurt, orange juice, popcorn, cereal… A chocolate stash, and yes, you need one.
Tip: Steal from the dining commons, as much as you can get away with!
[Chicken noodle supplies and accessories useful for when your friends get sick. Even if you don’t make it for them, giving them the stuff is really nice.]
Items to steal from the dining commons: napkins, fruit, muffins, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches (store them in your fridge for later/tip: put peanut butter on both sides so the bread doesn't get soggy from the jelly), milk or other beverages (put it in your Nalgene; use the milk with your cereal).
Tip: You don't need to bring this with you when you first move in.
Just as the header says. This is good for when you need to make quick birthday cards for your new friends, and also for when you just want to dick around.
7. A ruler and stencil, if desired.
9. Knitting/crochet materials, if you're into that.
10. Origami, calligraphy
1. Sun screen. Make sure it screens both UVA and UVB. Also a 15 SPF chap stick -- and yes, they are out there.
2. Bug spray.
3. A jar or container to store loose change (it’s nice to have it organized in one place)
4. A bathing suit. You will go swimming.
5. Earplugs. There is always the possibility you will live on a loud hall or that your roommate might at times be inconsiderate with his/her noise level. These are also great for fire alarms -- like, really, really wonderful.
6. Body moisturizer. (For people with really dry skin: Norweigan Formula Body Moisturizer, from Neutrogena)
7. Flash light
8. Alarm clocks, especially if you have a hard time waking up. Bring at least one that doesn’t run on electricity, in the rare event that there is a power outage. TIP: Set all your clocks 5-10 minutes fast.
9. A watch, even if you don’t wear one. Because there are no clocks on campus, and time means everything. Hang it on your backpack or the loop of your pants, or you could even change your habits and wear it.
11. A deck of playing cards.
12. DVDs, though it's easier than not to check out the library's collection.
13. “Stop your relatives from giving you white boards for your door,” (though one is useful), “gift certificates are your friends.”
14. Bring a phone for your room (especially if you don't have a cell phone).
15. Sunglasses (make sure they screen UVA and UVB rays). Especially if you are moving from a warm climate to a colder one with snow -- be prepared for glare off the snow, which is hell on your eyes and can also cause sunburn.
16. You will get a lot of credit card offers while at college. Throw all the offers out. You do not need a credit card. It's tempting to spend money you don't have, but credit cards ultimately only put you into more debt. Speak with financial aid about tips for saving money and for getting discounts. And every time you make a purchase anywhere, ask if there's a student discount (have your college i.d. on hand, though).
17. Hand sanitizer, like from CVS. In case they run out of soap in the bathroom, or you spill something weird in your room, or if you want to clean your sex toys, or whatever.
18. Drawer liners. You can pick this up when you get there, because the drawers are can sometimes be pretty gross.
Things to Pick up in the Campus Vicinity
Because you don’t have to drag everything with you. This is optional; you can choose to bring this stuff from home. Due to high demand, some items may not be available at local stores.
1. A fan. Jesus Christ, a fan, you need one. Your room will be ridiculously hot in the fall and the spring, and the fan can also act as white noise. And white noise is absolutely necessary.
2. A small hardy houseplant. Green all year is nice. Money Trees are hardy and easy to take care of (don't need a lot of sunlight and don't need to be watered frequently). Other popular plants for the dorm are aloe, lucky bamboo, and spider plants.
3. A Frisbee. You can use one to store loose items on your bureau, and empty it and toss it outside with friends.
4. A giant calendar that you can get at Target or CVS. Use this to write down social events, appointments, birthdays, due dates for assignments, etc. Hang it in your room rather than lay it on your desk.
5. OPTIONAL: A water gun.
6. A Nalgene or two. Hint: Do not put alcohol in these, as the smell will never come out. If you use them for water, to help your room from becoming dry, keep them on your dresser, away from electronics and stuff, opened.
7. Especially if you'll be living in a populated area, a phone book.
Items NOT to Bring
Some of this may be common sense, some of it may not be. I am positive that this is not a complete list.
4. Pets of any kind
5. Power tools
6. Board games (I recommend you don’t, anyway, because this will just take up space, and they should have some in the rec room or house office)
7. Again, your stuffed animal collection.
8. Sun lamps (for tanning).
9. An air conditioner.
(In this section: How to Take Care of Yourself, Drinking, Other Drugs, Basic First Aid, Tips for Succeeding at College, Your Classes, Tips for Studying, Tips for Making Friends at College, Your Roommate, Tips for Your Room, Other Tips for When You Arrive on Campus, In Case of Emergency, Final Notes, Thanks…, Useful Links & Communities)
How to Take Care of Yourself
1. Know your limits. When is it too much? "It" being social stimulation, drugs, alcohol, your roommate, friends, one person, whatever.
2. Know your boundaries (with other people. What constitutes a good touch vs. a bad touch. I’m not even joking. Also, where you stand on certain things, like is it okay for your roommate to have sex while you’re in the room? Do you want to experiment with drugs or alcohol? Know where you stand so you won’t be on the spot if/when you’re propositioned. Example, someone approaches you and says, "We're going to have a massive orgy involving drugs and alcohol, and condoms are prohibited." What is your response?).
3. Schedule fun events for yourself, whether this is watching tv or taking a walk outside.
4. Get enough sleep. I cannot stress this enough.
5. If you go to a larger school (or have access to a larger school's resources), it’s possible psychotherapy will be free, if you end up with a grad-student. Take advantage of this!
6. If you are already in therapy, get in touch with campus Health Services as soon as possible. You may feel good at the beginning of the year, but having this system set up for when you need it (say, winter), is priceless. I speak from experience on this one. Also, take your medication. It needs several weeks to work, so finding the right medication before your bad season is useful. If you feel your medication isn't working, discuss with your psychiatrist upping the dosage or switching to a different medication. If you feel the psychiatrist at school does not have your best interests at heart, call your psychiatrist from home to get their opinion. Check out the hotline link I have at the bottom of the page under Useful Links.
7. Keep in contact with home. Before you leave for college, agree on how often you should contact them. If you don’t, it could possibly lead to problems (homesickness, your parents being angry with you). Also agree on a day and time (e.g., Tuesday evenings, or Saturday's before 3, or whatever).
8. Take a self-defense class, especially if it’s free. This goes for guys, too. Here's a list of a variety of hotlines. I highly recommend reading THE DATE RAPE PREVENTION BOOK: THE ESSEN
9. Wash your hands with soap after you go to the bathroom, for obvious reasons. If you feel that your immune system is strong enough to withstand whatever nature throws at you, great. But please remember that other individuals may have weaker/weakened immune systems and may not be able to fight off viruses and infections.
10. Know your surroundings at all time. There is no such thing as being too safe. Know fire exits, where the blue lights are, who you are hanging out with, what kind of section of town you are in when you go off campus.
11. Learn how to say no to people. Don’t spread yourself too thin across too many activities and through too much socializing. “Don’t try and do everything all at once in your first semester… remember that it’s a new environment and you must adjust to it before it adjusting to you.”
12. Remember to stay healthy. Don’t forget to eat (or attempt to) a balanced diet, and go for walks with friends (“Hey, want to go for a walk in the woods?”, "Want to go explore a different dorm?")
13. Do not join a fraternity or a sorority. These are Bad Organizations.
14. Similarly, do not join any club or activity that you feel uncomfortable about (example, The Bestiality Club).
15. Manage your time! That’s why you have a giant calendar. If you feel that joining a club is too much, promise yourself to go to some of their events. (Example, don’t have enough time to join student a cappella? Go to their concerts.)
16. Take advantage of the free items on campus: condoms, magnets, bumper stickers, THE LIBRARY (check out their DVD collection)…, etc.
17. Be careful with what information you throw in the trash. Use a sharpie to black out sensitive information (e.g., social security number, bank account number, etc.).
18. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Tip: Don't take up smoking, no matter how cool it looks. It's expensive, and a lot of non-smokers don't like hanging out with smokers, which means you cut down on the number of possible friends you can make.
1. Don’t get caught by your R.A. At most schools, R.A.'s have the ability to punish students if rules are broken.
2. Do it in a safe place (behind closed doors).
3. Know your limits. (Also, some medications react with alcohol pretty severely. Please check with your doctor/psychiatrist before experimenting! No, SERIOUSLY.)
4. Stay hydrated! This is the biggest and most important point I can make regarding drinking.
5. Have a plan in case of an emergency (example, do you know what to do if someone passes out?)
6. Also very important: never leave your drink unattended. If someone else “watches” it for you while you go to the bathroom, you’ve left it unattended. It’s not worth the risk to drink it – buy another one!
7. If/when you get hung over, HYDRATE your system. Your pounding headache and fatigue and sometimes even the nausea are signs of dehydration. I recommend watered down Gatorade (as full Gatorade might be too harsh on your dehydrated system).
1. Do it in a safe place, with people you trust, especially if it’s your first time and you don’t know how you’ll react. You don’t want to be taken advantage of.
2. Know your source. Is your product clean?
3. Have an emergency plan.
4. Do not bail on your friends if you or they are having a bad trip.
Basic First Aid
Very basic first aid. It is highly recommended that you take a first aid course - you will use it for life. Guaranteed.
1. Scene safety. Is the scene safe? Is there broken glass, is there a live wire, is there an angry person with a baseball bat? Do not enter the scene unless it is safe. To make a scene safe, call Campus Police. They are trained in first aid and CPR.
2. Body Substance Isolation. Try to not get their fluids on you.
3. Use your common sense. Can you handle the situation? If you aren't sure, call Campus Police.
4. Is there damage to the spine? If so, do not touch the victim: unless properly trained, you will only injure them further. Call 911 immediately.
5. Are they conscious? Are they alert, do they respond to verbal stimuli, do they respond to painful stimuli, are they unconscious? If they are unconscious, call 911 immediately.
6. ABC: Airway, Breathing, Circulation. Is their airway open and unobstructed? Are they breathing? Do they have any life-threatening bleeds that need immediate attention? This stuff applies to CPR, which … I cannot teach you.
7. For small scrapes: clean the area with soap and water. Apply a band-aid (anti-septic only if the scrape isn’t that small or if they request it).
8. For wounds spurting blood: Apply direct pressure to the wound, call out for help, have that person call Campus Police or 911. To apply direct pressure, use whatever is handy – a hand towel, the shirt off your back, dirty clothing in the person’s room, etc (or, in a very extreme situation, your bare hands if nothing is available - be wary of blood born diseases, such as AIDS and Hepatitis C). While waiting for more experienced hands to arrive, applying direct pressure should work, but if it doesn’t, elevate the wound above the heart. If it’s the leg that’s injured, have the person lie down and elevate the wound. Treat the person for shock by throwing a blanket over them.
9. Broken bones: the most broken bone in the body is the clavicle (collar bone). If you are not trained for splinting broken bones, do not splint it. You will only injure it further. Have the person stay in a position of comfort. For bones protruding from the skin: DO NOT push it back in. This leads to you fucking them up further by creating dozens of bacterial infections. If the femur (the thigh bone) is broken, call 911, because the victim probably has internal bleeding as well. For all breaks, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
10. Soft tissue injuries: Pulled and strained muscles, apply heat. If the area is swollen, ice and elevate. Apply ace bandage if you feel the area needs extra support (i.e., joints, muscles that feel weak and unable to support weight). To apply the ace bandage, start away from the heart and roll the ace bandage towards the heart. This pushes out fluid that may want to stay in the area. The ace bandage should be snug, not tight – you should be able to comfortably fit two fingers between the skin and the bandage. If you cannot apply the ace bandage correctly, do not apply it at all.
11. Tooth injuries: if a tooth falls out, put it in a glass of milk to keep the nerves alive. Seek a dentist immediately -- within the next 12 hours if possible. Also remember that teeth can easily be replaced.
12. Injuries to the eye: If something is protruding from the eye, do not remove it and do not allow the victim to remove it. Stabilize the item using a cup (cut off the bottom), gauze pads, and athletic tape. Also cover the other eye (please see comments). If chemicals get into the eye, flush with water immediately for up to 15 minutes. To flush the eye, keep it open and hold back the eyelids if necessary. In extreme cases, hopping in the shower with all your clothes on is also an option.
13. The victim should go to campus health services for check-up or to the hospital, depending on the nature of the injury (minor things excluded).
14. Most importantly, do not give care that you are not certified to give, unless someone who is certified is giving you directions (and there are only two examples:
1. a 911 dispatcher who is directing you over the phone,
2. or a person on hand, like a doctor or EMT, who is having you assist with 2-man CPR.
You should never do CPR by yourself if you are the one being directed face-to-face, unless the person directing you is physically unable to help).
Note: 911 is the emergency number for many areas in the United States, but it does vary from country to country, and in the U.S., region to region.
Tips for Succeeding at College
I wish I had known some of this stuff at the beginning of the year.
1. Have a master sheet with all assignments written on it, order according to due date. Hang this above your desk. It’s useful to have this information on a master sheet rather than on a giant calendar because it’s all clearly written in front of you, and you can see each assignment. DO WORK AHEAD OF TIME. This is one of the most useful tips I can give you. Also, "doing work ahead of time" is different from "don't procrastinate."
2. Have a separate to-do list above your desk, with things on it like, “Do laundry, Call Person X, Make an appointment at Health Services,” etc.
3. Speak with your academic advisor, or with student advising, as early as possible and often. They are downright helpful. Even if it’s just to introduce yourself to the office… do it. Find out your requirements for freshman year, when you need to declare your major, etc. [Excellent academic resources: your advisor, the people at Student Affairs, librarians, professors, tutoring services... Find out who you need to talk with for accomodations. Accomodations can include but are not limited to -- "I have Mental Disorder X, and sometimes this interferes with my ability to focus; would it be possible for me to get leeway with all of my assignments?" Don't be afraid to be stubborn and aggressive. If you need accomodations, you need accomodations.]
4. Remember to take care of yourself. Schedule fun, get enough sleep, and know your limits. Drop friends if they’re holding you back. My mother always told me it’s just as easy to drop friends as it is to make them. Don’t get caught up in a bad crowd, this will really fuck you up.
5. You are not a therapist, and no one’s mother. This means look out for yourself first.
6. Don’t be afraid to take a course from a hard professor. They usually end up being the best classes you’ll ever take.
7. Talk to older students about their experiences on campus. Is there something that they wished they had known when they had first entered college? Can they recommend a really good professor, or even a really bad one? Events you should go to at least once before you graduate? Local restaurants you should visit? Services provided by the school that aren’t well-advertised but are goddamned useful? A good place to get your hair cut?
8. Get a job on campus. Having responsibility outside of class, and also receiving a paycheck, is a good experience. Having less time to socialize and study will also probably help you better manage your time (it does for me, anyway). Also: a source of income, even if it’s only $20 a week, is really helpful.
9. Figure out your sleep schedule early and stick to it. You’ll miss fewer classes and be less pissed about going to them. Sleep seriously is very important and one of the biggest contributing factors to your continued success at college. Tip: Don’t nap right before meal times, because you might sleep through food.
10. Get your required courses out of the way. Make sure that you will complete all of your requirements for freshman year, freshman year. This way you have exposure to the different disciplines, and you'll probably find you have interest in an area that you had previously dismissed -- example, science.
11. Sometimes it’s difficult to eat a balanced meal and get all the nutrients you need. Start taking a daily vitamin – this helps out a lot and may help deal with unexplained fatigue. Also, for a balanced diet: try to eat fruit and vegetables on a regular basis; eat protein; stay away from fried foods as much as possible – let it be a special treat; drink lots of water, and try to stay away from sodas.
12. Expect to spend about $200-400 a semester for fun activities. However, some important tips: don’t order take-out every week – let this be a special, once-a-month treat; keep your receipts so you can track your spendings; don’t spend money on campus if you can get it off campus for cheaper (include transportation fees, if there are any, in your calculations); don’t buy it if you aren’t going to use/wear it. For fun activities, don’t pay for other people unless you know that they will pay you back (and sexual favors do not count as being repaid). Always have $20-30 on hand in cash, this is good for impromptu outings. Get a job! Any income is a good income!
(Tip: When you go out to eat at restaurants and rack up a bill, pay for your items -- don't split the bill between all who came out to eat. Another tip: Check the bill to make sure you aren't being overcharged. Some restaurants will do this, especially to large parties, because in all the confusion, it's likely the mistake will go unnoticed.)
1. Attend as many of your classes as possible. Set a limit as to how many classes you will allow yourself to miss each semester.
2. Arrive on time so you can get a good seat. This is especially true for small classrooms or big lectures.
3. Be prepared. Is there an assignment due the first class? What do you need to bring – the books, a pen, a notebook, your computer?
4. Map out where your classes are on campus and plan accordingly. Your desired class schedule might not be possible due to the time to get from one building to the other.
5. Sign up for one more course than you are required to take. You can then drop the course you like the least. Do not hesitate to drop a course because you have heard bad things about the professor - bad things meaning incompetence. The course will likely be offered again a different semester and with a different teacher (especially if you go to a large school). ALSO, do not rely upon ratemyprofessors.com. This is a stupid site and the information is not reliable. Anyway, point of the story is that there’s an add/drop period for your classes and that it has a purpose.
6. Meet with your professors outside of class during their office hours. Talk about the assignments, any questions you have, your progress in class. If it’s not possible to meet with your professor, meet with the TA to discuss these things. I swear to God this is useful.
7. Participate in class. The end.
8. Learn to read selectively. Sometimes skimming is more useful than close reading.
9. You should know the basics of academic writing. Chances are, though, that you're not writing on a college level -- don't worry, your first year courses will quickly get you into the swing of things. Don’t use Wikipedia as a source. Use your library resources, especially databases they may have online. (Resource Portal for Writers -- non-academic. Advice on Academic Writing.) The Elements of Style by Strunk & White is absolutely crucial. Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss is a great read and can also help tremendously.
10. Buy your textbooks early in the semester. Shop around for the best prices – the bookstore on campus will probably have used copies, which, if the books are in good condition, is a good deal. Use these used copies while you shop online (Amazon, eBay, used textbooks lj communities, half.com, other sites) for an even better deal. Chances are you can return and get refunded for the books you bought at the bookstore if you return them by the add/drop period (BUT make sure this is the policy! You don’t want to get screwed over).
Tips for Studying
These are things I've learned through my own mistakes.
1. While studying, as soon as your attention starts to wander (usually after a half hour), stop with that subject and begin a new one.
2. You should be reading about a page a minute.
3. Study each subject only once a day. You need about 24 hours for the information to sift into your long-term memory.
4. Get on a study schedule! Wake up early to study (4-7am) – most people do not study well at night. Also, studying between classes (outside of your room, like in the library or in the dining commons), is good. I've found the library to be less busy during the day. And studying during the day leaves you more time to socialize at night.
5. Only participate in “study parties” if they have worked for you in the past. By study party I mean a gathering of a few people to study, not a private lesson in making out.
6. Use post-it notes to mark pages that seem important, useful for papers or tests, or that are hard to digest, so you can come back to them later, without having to flip through the entire goddamned chapter/book.
7. Familiarize yourself with the library web site. Use the databases they have for trial searches on things you’re interested in – video games, world issues, whatever. The databases they have are really useful when it comes time to write papers, instead of having to work your way through stuff from Google. (Here's how to improve your database skills.) Talk to the librarians! They love helping people.
Tips for Making Friends at College
Because everyone’s scared and intimidated, and then there are the few scary people who are way too outgoing.
1. Be courteous. There are many examples of how to be courteous and how not to be courteous… I’m not going to give any here.
2. Socialize with the people on your hall, BUT ALSO with other halls and with groups not associated with halls or dorms.
3. Carry a lighter. (But again, don't smoke. It's expensive. And if you don't smoke, you can still hang out with smokers, though the reverse may not be true.)
4. Go to social events that are hosted by different organizations (movie nights, game nights, food events, music concerts, improv shows, the geek club events, whatever).
5. Don’t be a pretentious asshole. You know what I mean.
6. At the beginning of the year, meet as many different people as possible. At my school, a good place for this was in the dining commons, though this may not be the case at other colleges. Everyone is more likely to be friendly the first half of the first semester, so take advantage of this. Throughout the year, you’ll learn more about your acquaintances and figure out who you like more. Though this process might mean it will take you a longer time to meet a good group of friends, I assure you, they will be better quality friends. And although this process worked for me, it may not work for you.
7. Volunteer your time for student organizations or for activities on campus. (You don't have to do it on a regular basis, but volunteering once a semester is a nice thing to do.)
8. Get a job on campus. And there are plenty of jobs, I assure you. You only need to look and ask around. Do this immediately, as jobs go quickly.
9. Join two or three clubs. It’s not hard, and you don’t have to go to events that don’t interest you (if you have to go to every event, it sounds like a Bad Organization). Also, if you’re trying to transfer, having clubs will help on the forms.
10. Facebook and AIM. Tip: On facebook, don't friend dozens of people before you get on campus, but don't reject them either. Let them sit in the queue. Rejecting people is a good way to not make friends.
11. Don’t be a drunkard all the time just because, w00t, you're in college.
1. Communication is so important.
2. Talk to your roommate before you arrive on campus, like on the phone or via aim, to discuss what each of you is bringing. You don’t want to have two microwaves and no refrigerator.
3. Communicate with your roommate. Even if it’s to agree that you want to talk to each other as little as possible, any and all communication is really important. If you need to have your R.A. step in, that’s okay, too. The room is your space, too. And remember to communicate with your roommate before you bring a problem to your R.A. Your roommate is not a mind reader. Also, label your items as yours. Don’t be passive-aggressive.
4. Agree to give each other messages left for the other one on the answering machine, if you have to share one.
5. If you do not like your roommate, spend as little time in the room as possible.
Appendix A: Things to Discuss
These are some things you might want an agreement on, before they become problems...
. Quiet hours of the room (If hall/dorm quiet hours are 12-8 or something ridiculous like that, you can always make your room quiet earlier, like 10-8 or whatever)
. What time the lights go out
. Locking the door all the time
. Privacy issues (changing, personal belongings, sex)
. Cleanliness of the room. Encourage your roommate to not leave out used plates and empty soda/beer cans and mountains of dirty clothing. DO NOT CLEAN UP AFTER YOUR ROOMMATE. If the room becomes disgusting and your roommate won't cooperate, talk to your R.A.
. Room visitors (What is a reasonable time to expect visitors to leave, or is this even a problem?)
. Room decorations. Yes, no, and are there any decorations that you don't want to see - a blow up doll or The Periodic Table of Sexual Positions or religious motivational stuff?
. The phone -- at least try to establish calling hours, this will hopefully cut down on calls after midnight that you have to listen to.
. Probably some other things.
Tips for Your Room
1. Keep the window open and the curtains back as much as possible. Fresh air and sunlight help to kill germs, no joke! Having the window open and a fan on helps circulate air, and keeps your room well-ventilated, meaning you breathe in fewer germs (theoretically). Also, keeping your door open once in a while brings in a cross draft.
2. During the winter, your room may become incredibly dry. To solve this, get one or two heat resistant bowls or cups, fill with water, and place on your heater: instant humidifier. If you find your heat lacking, dress in layers. See if there’s anything Physical Plant can do if you think your heat is seriously messed up.
3. For your bed, bring a “foam mattress pad egg carton-y thing.” Everyone agrees this is a great buy and a necessity. College mattresses are not amazing!
4. Buy bedding that fits – your list from college should say what size the beds are. If it doesn’t, a good guess is extra-long twin sized. Also bring extra bedding (fitted sheet, flat sheet, one or two extra pillow cases). Also bring a fleece blanket, because these are nice to curl up with when you watch DVDs. You can also bring an extra comforter if you want something bigger and better than a fleece blanket, and for extra warmth on those really cold nights.
[ETA: After some thought, bringing a sleeping bag as your extra comforter might be better. You can unzip it all they way for the desired shape. Also, if you have friends from high school or other colleges visit, they don't have to bring a sleeping bag.]
5. Extra pillows make your bed more comfortable. (Consider using floor cushions as supportive pillows on your bed. They are firmer.) Also, if you make your bed and keep it neat, that's extra sitting space for visitors - cuts out the need for you to buy an extra chair for them or something.
6. Keep your hamper and trash out of sight as much as possible. Use the desk to help you hide these items – leave room between the desk and the wall it is next to for this purpose. Or arrange your room so that these items aren't dominating the room.
7. Empty your trash as often as necessary, and at least once a week. You will feel better with an empty trash, I promise. (Also, use trash bags because it makes it easier to empty. Tip: Use bags from when you go shopping (i.e., CVS, Target, etc.) as trash bags.)
8. Your room is your space. Spend as little time socializing there as possible. Your room should be your retreat.
9. At least attempt to keep it clean and not so odoriferous. This will help you socially and academically. (Even if you don't spend a lot of time in your room, cleanliness will help you.)
10. Only bring one or two stuffed animals, not your entire collection.
11. Recommended to me by a friend in a double: “Try to get a single for two reasons: one -- my roommate was REALLY creepy. Secondly, I could have banged people whenever I wanted.”
12. If you’re going to sleep at someone else’s for the night, remember to turn off your alarm. Not turning it off annoys people like no other.
13. Decoration for you room. Know if posters and stuff will distract you or help your room feel more like home. You can also always make art when you arrive at college and hang it around your room. Bring pictures of people from home, or you could be like me and not, because you don’t care.
14. Lamps (not just a desk light).
15. Bring a long, mountable mirror with a little warp. “Ours is literally an anorexic’s nightmare."
16. Sub-free housing. Look into it, especially if drug or alcohol problems run in your family. Sub-free doesn't necessarily mean that you can't drink ... it just means that you may not be able to go onto that hall when you are under the influence of anything. Sub-free is incredibly useful if you don't want to be around substances -- you can still find that scene on campus, it just means you don't have to live with it. HOWEVER, some campuses have incredibly strict rules regarding sub-free housing, so look into that before you sign up for it.
Tip: If you sign up for sub-free housing, but aren't sub-free, respect the sub-free kids and the rules and be as discreet as possible.
Other Tips for When You Arrive on Campus
1. Find out about the emergency services provided on campus. Is it confidential? Is the service effective? Are the personnel humane? Does the service cost anything? How do you reach this service in an emergency? Keep an index card with the extension numbers of useful places next to your room phone (extensions of friends, emergency services, student services, health services, etc).
2. Find the free condoms on campus. They should be everywhere. Grab a handful, take them back to your room, put them in a plastic cup, and store them in a drawer. Even if you do not have a significant other, it is best to be prepared if a situation arises. Also find out which condoms you like best, lubed or non-lubed, Trojan vs. Lifestyles vs. Durex, “ribbed for her pleasure,” extra strength condoms, etc. ALSO, a good lubrication is also nice to have on hand. There should be some free samples with the free condoms, but if not, do not hesitate to buy some.
3. Relationships: Do not actively seek a relationship your first semester at college. People drop out, transfer, end up being crazy or not what you expected, etc. Wait until the spring semester, because by then it’s the good kids, the ones who you’ll want to have a relationship with, who have stuck around. Also, first semester you should focus more on getting into the swing of college and making friends. Also note that HALL BOOTY IS BAD BOOTY. For every hall relationship that does work out, there are hundreds that haven’t. Don’t take your chances. (To help yourself out, consider everyone on the hall, same sex and different sex, as a cousin or some form of close relative.)
4. Find out about Emergency Contraception in the area. If you’re a guy or a lesbian, this is still useful, because it can help you support your significant other or friends. Important information: locations of EC (on campus (try Health Services)? Off campus (local pharmacies)?), cost, how long after the incident will the medication still be viable (note on this: the sooner you take action against the incident, the more effective the treatment will be) … (For people attending college in the US: the states of CA, WA, AK, HI, NM, ME, NH, and MA, as of 03/2006, have passed laws so that pharmacists can hand out EC without a prescription from a doctor. Some pharmacists, even with a doctor's prescription, may refuse to fill EC as it may go against their religious or moral beliefs. If this is the case, ask that pharmacist to give you the location and name of another pharmacy where your prescription can be filled. If you need a prescription for EC, call the EC Hotline: 888-NOT-2-LATE (888-998-2-5283). If you cannot access EC within the time restraints, there is also the option of the Abortion Pill - for your closest provider, call 800-772-9100. Check out the hotline list link I have at the bottom of the page -- they offer alternatives, such as adoption centers. This site also offers alternatives.) A small bit on healthcare. Also, I would highly recommend reading this article, which recommends keeping a filled prescription of EC on hand.
5. Find out about counseling on campus. Are there peer counselors? A counseling hotline? An advice nurse? These services should all be available 24/7. This site offers hotline numbers, including ones for self injury, suicide, mental illness, and behavioral disorders.
6. Know the schedules for on- and off-campus transportation. Keep several schedules close, like in your backpack and in your room.
7. If you bring a bike to campus, get a lock and learn how to use it correctly.
In Case of Emergency
Some general advice.
1. Stay calm. Think and use your common sense. Chances are, if you’re panicked, the severity of the situation becomes exaggerated.
2. In your cell phone, next to the numbers you want called first in case you are severely injured (and cannot communicate), put in ICE (stands for In Case of Emergency) before it. I’ve put ICE for my home phone (ICE 1), my dad’s cell (ICE 2), my mom’s cell (ICE 3), and my sister’s cell (ICE 4). But I’m a safety freak. Your cell phone will usually only be checked when you are at the hospital.
3. Also carry your insurance card in your wallet. (This is pretty important.)
4. Also in your wallet, carry an index card with the name of your primary care physician, psychiatrist, and dentist. On the back of the index card, write down any medications you take on a regular basis (everything you take, even over-the-counter products), and any relevant diagnoses (i.e., epilespy, diabetes, anything else you think people should know about if you cannot communicate. Are you deathly allergic to any medications or foods?).
. Bring a sense of humor. Although college is a place for you to advance yourself, it’s also a place to have fun and meet lots of great people.
. If you have a sport, “try out for it, dammit.” It’s a way to be social and stay active. If you’re afraid you won’t make the team or that it’s too time consuming, go for the intramural teams.
. Go with as much stuff as you think you need, and then a lot less, especially if you're one of those people who always, always overpacks. You can always get things shipped, and/or depending on how close to home you are, pick them up during a long weekend, or pick up things in the area.
. I do not have a roommate, and I’ve never shared a room with anyone, ever, so I don’t really know about roommate situations. I do know that in all casual relationships that you have with every person you ever meet, good communication is key.
. Take good care of your keys and identification card. Having them replaced costs money.
. Always lock your door, even if you’re just going to the rec room for a few minutes, emptying your trash, or taking a shower, and always during a fire alarm.
. At the end of the year, bring things home on different trips. Spring break or a long weekend is a really good time to bring home stuff you know you won’t be using for the rest of the year. I.e., leisure books you’ve brought up but haven’t read, snow pants, small trinkets and stuff you don't want to throw it, whatever else have you. Do not sell items that you don’t want to bring home, like your microwave or fridge. Find an off-campus self-storage place and rent a room with a friend or two. ALSO, because lots of people are leaving, they often leave FREE STUFF behind. Scavenge. But make sure you're actually taking free things and that you're not stealing.
. A lot of items on this list are optional. If you don't want to bring lamps for your room, or a mirror, or arts and crafts items, or a first aid kit, or whatever, don't bring it. THE BARE ESSENTIALS: clothing, bedding, toiletries, your medication, & computer.
. This is by no means a final list of how to prepare yourself for college. Some items may not apply to you. Void where prohibited.
Summer coworkers (2004/05)
Advice on Long Distance Relationships (Courtesy alxc )
Lynne's list of what she brought to college (Courtesy kiyara)
Hampshire College's LJ community Advice List
Student College Reviews (Entertaining and brutally honest)
A list of hotlines (Amazing resource)