Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, many college students are headed back to campus this fall, including many freshmen who are still figuring out what to pack. A quick look at various college packing lists doesn’t provide much clarity, either. Instead, the lists overlap and diverge at different points, while older, more experienced students offer yet another set of insights into what the incoming class really needs. Though there may be no such thing as a comprehensive list, we’ve compiled an alternative packing list to highlight some often overlooked items college students need to succeed.
The COVID List
The biggest adjustment for all students headed to campus this year is, obviously, the presence of COVID-19 and the high risk of transmission on college campuses. With that in mind, many campuses are recommending students pack extra cleaning supplies, a duffel bag in case they need to go into quarantine, and extra bedding, plus plenty of masks. Make sure your college student is prepared for the worst-case health scenario, because current trends suggest an outbreak could easily happen.
A Lanyard You Love
One of the most common problems that dorm advisers like RAs see among first year students is a tendency to lock themselves out of the building or their dorm room. That’s because, even if students are used to carrying keys, their college routine is really different, and sometimes overwhelming. Wearing their keys on a lanyard may feel dorky at first, but it can keep them from forgetting their keys and ID, especially in the first few months. It’s also a good idea to pick up an ID case – especially one that can attach to a lanyard.
A Carry-All Bag
College students tend to have mixed feelings about backpacks. Some swear by them, but others prefer a more adult bag. If your student is in the latter category, consider helping them select a sturdy crossbody tote with room for a laptop, binders, and water bottle, and other daily essentials. Having one good bag for all their school supplies makes it less likely that they’ll forget something important.
A Better Budget
Budgeting is a critical skill for young adults, and one that takes time to master. Unfortunately for parents, that can often mean receiving anxious calls asking for more money or discovering that your child has run up a serious credit card bill. Talk about this in advance and then work with your college student to develop an appropriate budget for school. Expect some slip ups, but also impress upon them the importance of trying to stick to it.
The Perfect Planner
Planners became trendy in the last few years, so there’s a good chance you’ve already got a burgeoning planner fan on your hands. Either way, every college student needs a good planner, so take some time to look at different planner styles and see what’s most appealing and practical. No student can succeed in college with random notations and Post-Its covered in dates, but a planner will keep all those important deadlines in order.
Like other back to school lists, this one just scratches the surface, but no one is ever fully prepared. No, the best you can do is to cover those essentials that might otherwise be forgotten. Beyond that, you’ve done all you can. They have to handle this next big step on their own.
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