Five Things I’m Glad I Brought With Me Freshmen Year and One Thing I Wish I Had

Hey Terriers!

Working in the Dean of Students office here at BU, I answer a lot of phone calls from parents, and a good amount from incoming freshmen as well. A question I’ve been getting more and more often of late is “What do I need? What do I need to bring that no one ever thinks to bring?” Although I am always happy to answer questions, I now sit down to document, for posterity, a list derived from my personal experiences: five things I’m glad I brought with me freshmen year and – to prove that I’m not perfect and forgot things like everyone else – one thing I wish I had.

Five Things I’m Glad I Brought With Me Freshmen Year…

Duct Tape

A College Kid's Best Friend (Besides Coffee.)

When people ask me what to bring with them to their first year of college, this is always the first thing I say. Bring Duct Tape. It is, hands down, one of the most useful inventions of all time. IT FIXES EVERYTHING, and it’ll keep just about anything on your wall. (Freshmen year, I learned the hard way that not all tapes and wall adhesives are created equal. One particularly blustery warm September afternoon, I returned to my dorm to find that every. single. poster. on my walls had been blown off by a strong breeze from the window I’d left open to let in fresh air while I was in class. I ended up having to Duct Tape all my posters to the walls to get them to stick.) Over my three years of college, I’ve fixed backpacks, my favorite pair of beat-up gym sneakers, a desk drawer, and once, in a pinch, stopped a leaky window from dripping all over my bed – all with duct tape. Plus, if you don’t end up using it, chances are good someone else on your floor will probably need it – and you’ll make a friend.

Freeze Pops: Let’s face it, guys – as cold as it might get in the winter, Boston in late August and early September can be downright sweltering. And, unless you’re one of the lucky few who have been assigned a room in an air-conditioned dorm, you’re going to be relying on a trusty fan for a few weeks to keep yourself from overheating too badly. (Also effective – putting your pillow case in the freezer for a minute or two before going to bed. It’s a much cooler, and more pleasant, way to fall asleep.)  The point is this: the first few weeks you spend in a college dorm are likely to be kinda hot and probably humid. That’s where the Freeze Pops come in. They’re cheap, they’re cold, they’re refreshing, and they are a great way to make friends. My freshmen year, half the people I met the first month of college were a byproduct of the enormous super-size bag of Freeze Pops purchased by my parents the day I moved to school. I was never going to be able to eat them all myself, but it made a great ice breaker (if you’ll pardon the pun).

Sewing kit: I have used my travel-sized sewing kit more times than I can count in my three years of college. The mending doesn’t always look that pretty, but it almost always sticks, and that’s what counts. It makes life a thousand times easier to be able to repair a rip on your own – searching up and down for a tailor can not only be expensive, but rather time-consuming as well. To this day, I credit my sewing kit with averting the Great Oh-Crap-There’s-A-Hole-In-My-Down-Comforter-That-Must-Be-Why-There-Are-Feathers-All-Over-My-Side-Of-The-Room Crisis of 2010.

Sleep mask:

All dogs - even Terriers - get sleepy sometimes.

All dogs - even Terriers - get sleepy sometimes.

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve shared a room your whole life, or you’ve never even been to sleep-away camp: sharing a room with a college roommate is a totally new experience. (And not in a bad way!) Having a roommate can be fun, hilarious, and awesome – and your roommate, more than likely, will be pretty cool. But it doesn’t matter if you guys are BFFs at first sight or not – get a sleep mask. It’s a lot easier than burying your head under the pillows if your roommate has to stay up late cramming for an exam. I’m notorious for being able to sleep through pretty much anything, and even I was thankful for my trusty sleep mask more than a few times.

Fingerless gloves: As I discussed in relation to the Freeze Pops, it can get hot in Boston. On the flip side, it can get cold. Like – really really cold. So cold that even I, a born-and-raised Mainer, finds it pretty chilly sometimes. Naturally, I bundle up in L.L. Bean boots, a knee-length down jacket, a few scarves, and my favorite hat. But freshmen year, I discovered that my normal winter attire left me with a slight predicament: my favorite gloves were preventing me from being able to text properly! (“That’s TERRIBLE,” my mother said, very sarcastically, when I first complained of it to her.) Still, our generation spends a fair bit of time bent over our phones, and, frankly, it’s how I spend the majority of my time walking between classes – not to mention it takes your mind off the chill. My solution? Fingerless gloves. (I wear mittens over them if it’s really cold out.) I’m able to text, use my iPod, and fumble in my wallet for my T pass when I decided it’s too cold to walk any farther – all without having to pull my gloves off. (I did try just wearing gloves for a while, but I kept dropping and losing one of the pair. Two missing left gloves and one missing right glove later, I gave up and turned to gloves of the fingerless variety.)

…and One Thing I Wish I Had

My computer operating system disks/owner’s manuals:

Not gonna lie, this is pretty much the exact face I made.

Not gonna lie, this is pretty much the exact face I made.

Laptops are ubiquitous in college – it seems that, almost everywhere you look, there are dozens of people typing furiously; in coffee shops, in lectures, in the Student Union’s Food Court, in the dining halls, and once, I swear I even saw someone on the T. (The most extreme typing I ever did was finishing a 12-page term paper while getting a pedicure. I got an A on it, too.) Omnipresence aside, laptops are one of the most important tools a college student has, if not the most important. And so, when my laptop crashed freshmen year, I had a minor panic attack. BU has a really helpful IT department, and they’ve been great the other times my laptop’s had issues. But the first time it crashed, I brought it in, and they told me that fixing it would be a simple matter – they would just insert the disc with my operation system and fix it from there. Did I have my operating system? No, I did not. Did I have my software CDs? No, I didn’t. Did my lack of these discs make it much harder for the IT department to help me? You bet. Mercifully, they managed to resurrect my computer from the grave, but not without difficulty. When I went home for Thanksgiving, the first thing I did was spend two hours digging through my bedroom until I found all the manuals and software associated with my computer. I’ve never forgotten them again – talk about a lesson learned. But the lesson shouldn’t hold only to laptops. Since my laptop’s near-death experience, I’ve made sure to keep instruction manuals, backed-up files, and important paperwork in one safe spot in my room. So, incoming freshmen (and returning Terriers, too!) – as you prepare to come to campus this fall, make sure you’ve got everything you need – before you need it.

If you can think of anything to add, let us know in the comments, or tweet at us!

Until next time, you BUtiful people!


One Comment

Mke posted on July 20, 2011 at 12:51 pm

3 words: External Hard Drive. Oh, and remember to back up your files on the regular. Nobody likes to lose all of their hard work, papers, music, and photos to computer demons.

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