5 things nobody tells you about college
Have you noticed the influx of ‘What to Pack for College’ and ‘How to Survive Your Roommate’ posts across social media channels? Although these practical guides are useful, they all seem to contain the same information that has been passed around for years. Forget about those tutorials on how to pack my bedroom closet into two small boxes, or how to settle arguments with my roommate – what I really needed was a heads-up on some day-to-day things that not only affected my academic life, but also my social life. So, let me do the incoming freshman class a huge favor and share some things I learned through trial and error. If you’re a new college student, you’ll definitely thank me for these golden nuggets of information.
1. Invest in Bed Bug Protection
College campuses provide the perfect breeding ground for bed bugs. In most cases, you won’t even know they are there until it’s too late. Red welts will begin appearing all over your body and you’ll itch constantly. Even after you have an exterminator take care of the issue, you’ll never quite get rid of the feeling that some of them are still there. Take my advice and pick up a Bed Bug Blocker mattress protector before you leave for school. It’s totally worth the $20.
2. Bring a Sick Kit
You may have been the healthiest high school student on Earth, but once you are on your own things may change. You’ll be sharing space with other people, who may or may not keep their germs to themselves. If you’re in a different climate, this too can play havoc with your immune system. Chances are that your mom is going to be too far away to administer any aid, so unless you have a top-notch health plan or don’t mind sitting for hours in a clinic, come to school prepared. Grab a shoe box and fill it with the following items: aspirin or ibuprofen, bandages (yes, you will cut yourself cooking or shaving!), hydrogen peroxide, Nyquil or other flu remedies, lip balm, allergy medicine, a cold pack, and a heating pad.
3. Buy a Month’s Worth of Underwear
I know this sounds weird, but trust me on this one. Once classes start, and you are knee-deep in assignments, laundry will quickly fall to the bottom of your to-do list. For a quick fix, you can grab your swimsuit and wear it, but that gets gross after a few days. There’s also the option of going commando, but then you’ll need to wash your shorts or jeans more often. Avoid this problem by simply bringing along at least a 30-day supply of undies.
4. Purchase Wrinkle-Free Clothes
Again, laundry will not be high on your priority list, so chances are you’ll be wearing your favorite pants and tops several times before they hit the wash. If you’re like most college students, this also means your clothes may spend some time on the floor or even the clothes hamper between changes. If they’re wrinkle-free, you can simply rub a fresh dryer sheet across them and you’ll be good to go!
5. Hide Your Favorite Food
Have you ever craved something all day, rushed home to retrieve it from the fridge or cupboard, only to find that your siblings or parents have eaten it? Get used to that feeling. Your roommates and their buddies will raid any food in plain sight, especially after a night of partying. To protect your favorite treats, devise clever ways of hiding them. I found that using empty feminine product boxes works really well (especially when guys visit), but keeping them behind cleaning products or in your underwear drawer works well, too. And never label anything ‘Don’t Eat This’ because it will be the first thing to disappear.
One Last Piece of Advice
College is going to be one of the most amazing experiences you’ll ever have in your life, but it will go by in the blink of any eye. Try new things. Step outside your comfort zone. Make mistakes. Embrace new friendships. But most importantly – have some fun!