The summer is quickly coming to an end and you’re about to begin your freshman year as a Warhawk! You have your new bedding, futon, microwave, school supplies and everything else you need throughout the year all packed and ready to go…or so you think! From personal experience and student feedback, I have created a list of unusual and forgotten must-haves that will help get you through the school year successfully.

  1. Dry Erase Board: It’s hard enough to keep your schoolwork in order, and then you add in work schedules, extra curricular activities, and don’t forget about a social life! Dry erase boards allow you to easily keep track off all of your assignments, exams, and meetings for the week in one location. Plus, who doesn’t love erasing tasks you’ve completed?
  2. Noise-Canceling Headphones: Even though they cost a pretty penny, you won’t regret your investment. Whether you’re trying to study in the sometimes-hectic dorms, your roommate is blasting music, or the TV is too loud, noise-canceling headphones will help you stay focused during study cramming sessions.
  3. Extension Cords: Who doesn’t love watching Netflix in bed? Having the ability to charge your laptop or device will help you stay up to date with the latest binge-worthy Netflix shows (after your homework is done of course) while making sure your phone and alarm clock are plugged in for classes the next morning.
    1. Power strips: While very similar to extension cords, a power strip with a surge protector works to protect against a power overload. Living in a dorm room often means needing to maximize your outlet space, and a power strip gives you more outlets but also provides further protection!
  4. Netflix: I mean what else are you going to do when your friends are in class?
  5. Spotify: Whether you’re trying to motivate yourself to go to the gym, celebrating academic success, or trying to fall asleep, this free service is definitely something to take advantage off. They have music for every genre and you can listen to it through your noise-canceling headphones.
  6. Umbrella: As ridiculous as it might sound, packing an umbrella is one of the most important things to have. It always seems to rain in Whitewater, and when it does, it pours! Plus, you want your clothes to stay dry incase you see your crush in the hallway.
  7. Flip Flops: For the dorm showers… you’ll thank me later.
  8. Lock: Most desks at UW-Whitewater comes with a drawer that can be used with a lock to hide any important items. While you may not always need this, it can be handy if you want to have a little more security in your room. This is especially important if you plan on bringing any important papers, like your passport or even medications.
  9. Swimsuit: Warhawk sporting events aren’t your thing? Go unwind at Whitewater Lake!
  10. Fan: Not having air conditioning the first few weeks in the dorms is rough, especially on move-in day. Buying a box fan for the window and a clip fan for your bed will help you survive the first few weeks.
  11. Planner: Most people use their phone or laptop as a planner, but you can’t always rely on technology. A large portion of professors don’t allow technology in the classroom, so being able to write down future assignments and exams makes life a whole lot easier. At the bookstore you can pick up an affordable planner with all of the campus events, breaks, exam schedules, and holidays listed.
  12. USB Flash Drive: If you’re like myself and enjoy doing homework in bed, a flash drive is one of the most important things to have. If you have to print out your essay or homework assignment, putting it on a flash drive makes the printing process a lot easier. You will quickly learn that it isn’t easy to find your documents via email because you feel like you get 100 a day. USB flash drives give you the ability to work on your schoolwork in-between classes in the dorm labs, the library, or the lecture hall labs.
  13. Journal: As cheesy as it is, keeping track of your college experiences won’t only show you how much you have grown into a professional, but all of the memories you’ve created along the way.
  14. A First Aid Kit: Living in such close proximity to hundreds of other college students is an easy way to catch a cold. Having a first aid kit not only is useful for any cuts or injuries, but keeping some medicine around can be handy too! We suggest Emergen-C, Tylenol, and cough drops.  Also, it would probably be a good idea to have a thermometer, and some extra face coverings on hand, so you have them between laundry days…etc
  15. A Loud, Annoying Alarm Clock: As convenient as setting an alarm on your phone may be, it won’t get you out of bed. Getting an ear-piercing alarm clock will help get you out of bed and make sure you don’t sleep through class.
  16. Mattress Topper: It would be nice if the mattresses included with your dorm were memory foam, but unfortunately they are not. Bringing a mattress topper is an easy way to make your dorm feel more like home. There are so many types, thicknesses, and even textures that you can get and it simply goes on top of the bare mattress and under your sheets!
  17. Confidence: College is ultimately what you make of it. By hiding from awkward social encounters in your dorm room, you are only hurting your college experience. There are opportunities all over campus to get involved and they can help you develop your resume. Interested in a club or intramural spots? Go check it out! Who knows, maybe you’ll meet your new best friend there.

Overall, these items won’t guarantee happiness or success in college. The biggest ingredient is YOU! Yes, you’ll have to work hard at classes, stay up late studying, and force yourself to go to your 8am class, but hopefully these items will help you to manage your time and stress. My final bit of advice is to get out of your comfort zone and create relationships with your professors and classmates. They will not only help you during your years here on campus, but they may turn into lifelong friends that ultimately will help you after your time at UW-Whitewater.

Good luck and have fun!