actual college essentials | back to school series

It’s back to school season and already you are being bombarded by all the “essentials” and greatly enforced items but let’s be real…if you want to save a bunch of money and get things that will actually benefit you through the whole year, then this post is for you! Every store wants your business and even in this day and age, social media influencers are trying to help brand items as “necessities”, when that may not be the case.

Take it from me as an almost college junior…these are the essentials that I am highly recommending:

Water Heater

For tea, coffee, hot chocolate, soup…literally everything…I highly recommend having one on hand! Also, dorm life rules vary between different campuses, so make sure that you know what is allowed and what is not. (Check microwave & fridge policies!)

Large Storage Bins

I can’t tell you how great these are! Not only can you use them to store your belongings, but they also help transport during move-in and move-out day. Need a small desk in a pinch? Throw a long scarf over the top of it and it transforms! Multi-task items are key.

Layered Fashion

Having a bit of everything can never hurt, but it is far too easy to over pack clothing. Jeans and shoes can get really heavy too if you are worried about traveling with weight requirements for airlines. That being said, have a few of everything and make sure that it is layerable and easy to clean/match/wear. Dorm closets are small and chances are, you will not be too on-top of laundry so bring as much underwear as you can and a sample of your home closet to rotate through. Also, don’t bother bringing t-shirts because chances are, you will end up with a bunch of free ones within the first week alone.

Heavy Duty Backpack

Textbooks, notebooks, chargers and laptops all weigh quite a bit and if you have a busy day, the times of dropping things off in your high school locker are over. Get a backpack that will support your supplies comfortably, safely, and adorably. Trust me…you will want this to last a long time!

Laptop Case/Chargers/Phone Case

This goes without saying, but make sure that you have all of your electronic essentials and protection for them! I highly recommend phone cases that double as wallets too to keep your school ID and credit card close and safe.

External Hard Drive

As a film student and a person who just so happens to make a lot of videos (youtube.com/sarahfhamilton!), I have a great tendency to run out of space, need to back up my laptop as much as humanly possible, and bring files around with me. As a film student, an external hard drive (or two) are truly essential but I highly recommend to anyone in college. A flash drive or two helps as well. Store your stuff, keep it safe, and make sure that it stays as organized as possible!

Planner

I have been a solid believer in the agenda/planner since the earliest of my schooling days. It is truly a great way to organize your to-do’s in life and other reminders. Having one that works for the school year is absolutely great and the lighter it is, the more likely you are to carry it with you everywhere! Save yourself some stress and keep your thoughts on pages.

Essentials

A laundry bag or hamper, pillow, sheets, cleansers, personal hygiene items, small lamp, shower shoes/caddy, mirror, few bowls/mugs…keep few of these things on hand to make life simpler.

As it goes for textbooks and school supplies, wait until the end of the first week! Once you get your classes situated and syllabi read, you will have a much better idea of what you will actually need. Long story short, you will be collecting as the year goes by so start as minimalistic as possible and know that things you need will be collected as you go along.

I wish you the best of luck this upcoming school year! Let me know what some of your school essentials are in the comments below or tweet them at me @sarahfhamilton!

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