When late August sets in, the exciting reality that you will soon be a Yale student grips you in full effect, and so does the realization that you will be living in a dorm, possibly with a roommate. If you find yourself wondering how you can possibly compress your life’s worth of belongings into a few empty boxes, check out this handy guide to the essential things that will make freshman year get off the ground without a hitch. Sometimes the things you deem most important turn out to be the items that never make it out of the dusty depths of your dorm room closet until the end of spring.

Bulletin board

The moment you set foot on campus, you will be bombarded with an endless array of announcements, reminders and invitations from the University and extracurricular organizations that are all vying for your undivided attention. The easiest way to display these papers, as well as photos of your friends and family from back home, is a mid-sized bulletin board. This will help prioritize the insane accumulation of information you will undoubtedly encounter.


Since your bathroom will be communal, it is always a good idea to bring a pair of flip-flops to wear in the shower. Not only do they feel comfortable on your feet, they also protect you from the hair and other excess particles that invariably end up on the shower stall floor. They also serve a valuable purpose on those warm autumn and spring days, when you can lounge out on Old Campus in casual style.

Alarm clock

Of all the items you plan to bring or buy for college, the alarm clock is definitely the most important. After late-night chill sessions with friends and classmates, it is all too easy to sleep through the morning appointments of the next day. An alarm clock will ensure that you’re not missing out on anything important, like Dean Brodhead’s incredibly witty and inspiring speech during the freshman address.

Trash bags

Trash bags will make removal of storage boxes, leftover pizza, and permanently stained clothes easy and fun.


The person who has the foresight to bring a hammer is always the most popular student on the first day of school. Whether used to put nails in the wall, assemble furniture like futons and bookshelves, or threaten your noisy roommate, the hammer is a multipurpose tool that will make you come across as the big handyman on campus.

Desk lamp

Although many Old Campus rooms have overhead lighting, it is often insufficient if you are studiously reading Nietzsche at your dark wood desk at night. By concentrating luminosity on your desk, a basic lamp will allow you to read, write or play with your computer while slowing the onset of eyestrain.


Because summer is still the season, the first few days of school may be especially hot, so a standard fan adds a nice refreshing breeze to an otherwise stuffy room. Additionally, the constant humming of the fan drowns out New Haven street noise, allowing you to effectively penetrate the realm of slumber.


So maybe your roommate doesn’t appreciate your European trance mixes as much as you do, or maybe you can no longer tolerate the excessively sentimental phone conversations your roommate may be having with his or her lover. A pair of headphones will allow you to avoid needless confrontation with your living partner, while also signaling to others that you are currently occupied with something more important.

Shot glass and bottle of Advil

Sometimes all the incredible life experiences of freshman year may leave your head throbbing. A bottle of Advil and a glass of water will take your pain away and allow you to continue enjoying the good-hearted camaraderie of your fellow classmates.

Three of your favorite books

Even if you never get around to reading them during your incessantly busy freshman year, having a few good books on hand makes others think you to be especially interesting and literate. But make sure you leave out the high school yearbook; not only is it heavy and cumbersome, but few Yalies will care whether you were valedictorian or the band president back in the day. Everyone is looking to start afresh, so leave the past in the past, and focus on the amazing times in store for your future.