Packing for College


What to Pack: Instate Perspective

Written by 5/5 Mechanical Engineering student, Mary Libera.

The beauty of living relatively close to home is that you don’t necessarily need to worry about packing every little thing for an entire year. If you forget something, it can be easily mailed, or a parent or friend could always drive to drop it off at Stevens for you. When I was first trying to think about what and how to pack for leaving for college, I did a lot of google searches, which were helpful and might provide some ideas you’d otherwise forget! Some of the big essentials include:

  • Clothes (obviously!)
  • Toiletries
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Snacks
  • Storage containers
  • Mini fridge
  • Microwave
  • Decorations (pictures, lights, and supplies like Command strips!)

In terms of clothing, you really only need to pack for one season if you live close by. I packed my summer and fall clothes, but left my bulky winter sweaters, boots, and jackets behind. When I went home for Thanksgiving break, I was able to swap out my summer and early fall wardrobe for my more wintery clothes. This method of swapping out what you do and don’t need is really helpful since the dorms aren’t huge. Not going overboard on packing will help to make sure you’ve got plenty of space to hang out in your dorm!

Before I moved in, I did a big shopping trip to Costco and stocked up on granola bars, pretzels, water bottles, etc. to keep in my room. Even though the dining hall is really close to the dorms, sometimes grabbing a quick snack between classes, or having fuel if you’re studying in your dorm, is really convenient.

Decorating my dorm was one of my favorite things to do once I was unpacked and settled. I hung up pictures, lights, and posters to make the space feel like my own. A box of command strips or some sticky tack goes a long way in helping decorate your room, and lets you hang things without damaging the walls. Adding pictures and mementos from home also helped with homesickness when I was missing my family!

Packing to leave for college can seem a little daunting at first, but the nice thing about living close to home is that it’s not a huge deal if you forget something or over-pack and have to send some things home. Make a list of everything you want to bring, start to get organized a couple days before you leave, and you’ll be all set to move in and get settled!


What to Pack: Out of State Perspective

Written by Junior Physics student, Kaitlin Gili.

Packing can be frustrating, especially when you live out of state. I happen to be from Florida, which forced me to ask the question: do I drive or do I fly? I believe that answering this question is the first step in the packing process. See, if you drive, you can bring up anything that will fit in your vehicle; this limits the things that you need to purchase up North and you don’t have to worry about getting any items lost in transit. However, the drive can be long and infeasible depending on your starting point.

Fly or Drive?

If you’re up for the road trip, then I would suggest driving. This does depend on where you are coming from, however, and if cost is a big factor for you, I would do the research for difference in travel cost before you make the decision. Road tripping can also be a nice family adventure before you leave them for a while. One of the sad things about going out of state is that you won’t get to see your family as often, so a nice two day car trip could be just what you need for some bonding time.

After deciding your method of transportation, then you can adjust your packing strategy. Divide your items into things that you need and things that you want. Make sure that you can first fit the things that you need into your luggage/containers. These items include clothes (winter and summer), shoes, dorm supplies, technology (phone, laptop, chargers, etc.), toiletries, and snacks (yes, snacks are a necessity).


The absolute worst part about packing out of state is that you have to bring all of your summer AND winter clothes with you because you might not have a chance to go back home and get your winter clothes before it gets cold. Thus, your packing list should be as follows:

  1. Light rain jackets AND winter coats
  2. Shorts AND warm jeans
  3. Sandals AND boots

The good thing is that all of your furniture will be in your dormitory and you won’t need many extra items. Although, a mini fridge and a microwave could be helpful for late night snacking. My advice is to coordinate with your roommates in advance. You really only need one mini fridge, so if you live out of state and they live in New Jersey, maybe you could split the cost, and ask if they could bring it to campus.

After you know that you have room for the things that you need, then you can plan to bring the things that you want such as sentimental items, decorations for your room, collectable items, movies/video games, and lots of fluffy blankets (would

recommend this). These types of things you can bring up little by little as you go home because you may not have enough room in your dormitory anyway.

Now, let’s go back to talking about normal human things such as sleeping and food. Make sure that you pack the proper bedding for your dormitory. For any dormitory, you will need twin extra long sheets and a comforter. I’m going to be real with you, the more blankets, the better. Plus, a mattress pad won’t hurt.

As for snacks, do you really need them? Yes. Because while you have dining plan, Pierce Dining Hall closes at midnight. I’m sure you will all experience that sprint at 11:55 for pizza, but it is also nice just to have a few snacks in your room in case you get hungry.

Don’t Stress

My last piece of advice is to not let packing be stressful and to just have fun with it! You’re about to go to a new place and start a new journey, and these are the items that you’re choosing to bring with you. Make sure that you have the functional necessities and the things that make you happy. Stevens is going to feel like home to you eventually, so you might as well make it your home. It’s not a vacation (although it may feel like it at times). Pack like your moving to a new place, not like your visiting a new place. Make a packing list, double check it, have your mom check it (this will probably make her happy), and then don’t think about it. If you forget something, then you can always get it shipped or pick it up on your next trip home. So don’t stress, happy packing!


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