In all of the College Student Articles I will tell you what you want to have, why and I will give some extra tips. I am trying to supply the college students of today with a little bit of help for their first "college experience".
Check out some of the other ones; College Student's Guide to the Macbook Pro, College Student's guide to Ipad, College Student's Guide to Move In Day and College Student's Guide to a Successful First Month
What you will want:
iPod (or other MP3 device)
Don't get me wrong; I do not under any circumstances think you NEED to buy an SLR camera, but trust me that you will want a camera. And you will not just want to have it during move in day, thought it is one of the better days to have it. My first day at school I took about 400 pictures; and that was before I even unpacked. It is something that you will definitely want to remember. Move in day is really the time when it hits you that you are in college. Plus, everyone is new to you, and you will want to remember every second of it. Therefore, a camera is ESSENTIAL.
When you have a camera, a case for it is very necessary. In the later days of your first couple of months you will want to be able to keep your camera safe. A lot of the camera cases that you can get have a neck strap and are fairly cheap. If you get a camera, which as I said I do recommend, you will need a camera case, it is that simple. Plus, it is a great storage space for other camera items; memory card, filter, cleaning cloth etc.
In today's technological college education, a laptop is almost essential. I am not going to tell you that you MUST get one, but you will definitely need a computer. A lot of schools now have everything on the internet. My teachers, for example, post homework, class notes and even tell us when class is cancelled, ALL ONLINE. The reason that I recommend a laptop over a regular computer is simple; they are portable. This may not seem like as much of a necessity, however, when you have a portable computer you can take it to class, you can disappear to the library and do work on YOUR computer. The benefit of this is that all of your notes, work, homework, essays and projects are all in one place. You do not have to shuffle them around. Along with this, there are going to be a lot of times when you want nothing more than to lay in bed and watch a movie, or talk to your friends online, or even study (what a crazy thought), and having a laptop makes that very easy. The final benefit of a laptop is that you can take it easily home with you, and back to school. The portability factor of a laptop is really something that you will end up wanting in college.
First off, this is obviously only for those of you that choose to get a laptop. There are also a few very different types of cases. There are the clip-on ones and then there are just plain bags. The bags are good for people who are very careful with their laptops. For example, if you aren't going to be going anywhere â€œdangerousâ€ with them, then a bag would be fine. They are mostly used for people who are not hard on their laptops and who are just in need of a case for transportation; car, train, bus etc. However, if you plan on taking it to the beach, and to lunch and to most places outside, I would recommend getting a clip on case. Most of them you can get for fairly cheap and they just snap right on to your computer. There are also sleeves, for a specific purpose. If you have a briefcase, or backpack, and you want to keep your laptop protected, it is perfect. This way you can get a cheaper thing to protect your laptop while carrying it in something with all of your other stuff.
This may not seem like a huge deal, with all of the things that we have running off of DC outlets. However, it is important to remember, when you are out taking pictures, or you are using one of the rare things that needs AA or AAA batteries (like a flashlight) you will want to know that you are fully charged. The camera batteries are especially important, because if you have extras you can always have one fully charged one, whether you are charging the other, or it dies while you are shooting.
THESE ARE A NECESSITY. Everyone now has a cell phone, iPod, laptop, and a million other things that need to be charged on a regular basis. You should have a separate charger for home and school. I know this seems like a waste of money, but speaking from experience it is much much easier. You do not want to leave your house, drive 6 hours or 1 hour or even twenty minutes, just to remember that you forgot your phone charger. I would recommend at the very least a phone charger for home and school. However, if you are able I would recommend a laptop charger for both as well. You never know when you are going to forget it, and be unable to get back in that day.
iPod (or other MP3 device)
iPods, and other MP3 devices, are almost essential for a relaxing and successful college career. Though it may not seem like a necessity, there are hundreds of times when it is helpful. Whether you are walking across campus alone, or getting in the car for a long bus ride, or taking a road trip with your friends, iPods can be used all of the time. I use my iPod in my room all of the time, and I continue to listen to it every time I am in the car.
As great as it is to have an iPod, I personally like to be able to hear it throughout my room. I play my iPod through my speakers, which luckily also plug into my computer. This is also a thing that can make a great dorm room atmosphere. If you are playing relaxing music people are more likely to stop by and say hello, they are drawn to your music. Make sure that you get speakers that you can turn down though. The reason being as simple as when it is one or two o'clock in the morning your Resident Assistant will not necessarily like to be hearing your music.