So you've decided to move away to university. Be aware that you will be heading into a "new normal," says Leslie Copeland, first-year co-ordinator at the Campus Life & Engagement office at McGill University in Montreal. So, while you probably want to bring one or two familiar items to remind you of home, you don't need to overdo it, as the most important thing you can do to get involved and adjust to university life is to "take advantage of the things that are available [there]," she says.
If you're staying in residence, here are some tips about what to pack.
Five questions to ask about each item you plan to bring:
1. Does my room come with it? (Contact your university.)
2. Could I get it there instead? (You're not moving to the middle of the desert. There will likely be grocery stores and thrift stores where you're going.)
3. Does it fit (in the car/plane/room)?
4. Will my roommate bring it? (Some universities let you network with future roommates.)
5. Is it allowed? (Contact your university about verboten items.)
For your room
– Sheets, blankets, pillows and pillow cases, if not supplied.
– Desk, chair and lamp, if not supplied.
– Desk stationery and accessories.
– A FEW items to make it feel like home (pictures, slippers and that weird thing you got from your grandparents for your birthday).
– Storage containers for under the bed, behind the door, in the closet, on the desk.
– Hangers, laundry hamper and detergent.
– Dishes, glasses and utensils, if not supplied (you probably won't be allowed to cook in the dorm, but
you may have a stash of snacks for late-night, um, studying).
– Cleaning supplies (sprays and liquids, sponges, broom, etc.).
– Fan or space heater, if allowed.
– An alarm, even if you use your mobile.
– Will you make it to that 8 a.m. class if your battery runs out?
– Enough tops, bottoms, underwear and socks for a week (yes, you'll have to do your own laundry).
– One set of nice clothes, shoes and accessories for interviewing or formal events.
– Rain gear.
– A few sweaters and coat, hat, gloves, scarf for cold weather.
– Running shoes and workout clothes (or a swimsuit and flip-flops) for those workouts that will keep off the Freshman 15!
– Pyjamas (ahem … roommate!).
– Towels, wash cloths, toiletries such as deodorant, shampoo, brush, hair dryer, women's sanitary items, perfume (but be aware of scent-free zones).
– Sleeping mask and ear plugs, if you can't sleep with noise and lights of dorm mates.
– Some kind of music or entertainment system – either your laptop or tablet and accessories such as speakers, or an MP3 player, CD player, DVD player.
– A few board games or cards, just for fun.
– Digital camera, even if you have a phone with a camera – you don't want to miss those late-night, um, study session photos.
– Phone and charger.
For your studies
– Something to take notes, access online materials and chat with professors (laptop, tab and protective
bag or sleeve).
– Memory stick or CDRs for backing up files, unless you have cloud storage.
– Old-school items, such as notebooks, paper, pens, highlighters, calculator and other things for when your electronics conk out or aren't allowed in class.
– Course books.
– Lava lamp/stencilled curtains/pool table and other unnecessary decor.
– Candles/incense/firecrackers and other fire hazards.
– Your entire DVD/comic book/smurfs collection.
– Drum kit/vuvuzela/other noisy irritations.
– Pet bunny/snake/monkey.
– Kegs/illegal drugs/bongs.
– Diamond ring/other expensive items irresistible to sticky fingers.
– Hunting rifle/martial-arts sword/ninja-throwing stars or other weapons.
– Water beds/hot tubs (really, people try to bring these?).