“Check!” your mom will yell this August as she crosses another item off her list. Pencil and clipboard in hand, she will circle your bedroom, inspecting the nearly-packed cardboard boxes that cover the floor. She will make sure you have packed everything she deems necessary for nine months of life away from home.

As she throws your fuzzy pink pajamas (the ones with the butt-flap and the built-in slippers) into a box, try to refrain from groaning and rolling your eyes. As it turns out, those dorky and boring items your parents insist you pack will likely come in handy after all. Here are a few freshman year essentials, and why you really need them.

Trash bags

You and your suitemates will inevitably generate a lot of trash. It will more likely end up shoved in fireplaces, under couches, and in bathroom sinks than in conventional trash bags, however. But the economy-sized box of trash bags your parents sent with you will serve an important purpose. Atticus on Chapel Street gives away its freshly-baked bread after closing at midnight, and your two hands won’t carry enough to satisfy those late-night cravings!

Thank you cards

You already thanked your grandmother for the “interesting” polka dot sweater she gave you for graduation. Bring the rest of the pack of “thank you” notes along! They will be the perfect token of affection for the friends who hold your hair back after your first night out.


Maybe you don’t want anyone to know you actually listen to Britney Spears. Maybe you’re tired of hearing your roommate whisper sweet nothings to his or her significant other across the room. Or maybe you absolutely need instrumental music to drown out dorm noises in order to study. Whatever noises you are hiding or hiding from, you will be glad to have headphones to hook up to your computer.

Wacky clothing

You might get some use out of those fuzzy pink pajamas and polka dot sweater after all. A residential college or club sponsors a theme event nearly every weekend. With dances ranging from Pierson College’s Halloween Inferno to the ’80s-themed Safety Dance, there will be an occasion to wear anything and everything, or even nothing in the case of Timothy Dwight College’s Exotic Erotic.

Duct tape

From hanging decorations to dividing your double after one argument too many, duct tape has an endless array of uses. But save some for its most important role: sealing the countless boxes of useless stuff you will decide to send home, because no matter how hard you try, you will inevitably bring all the wrong stuff and leave all the right stuff behind.