Living in the dorm is one of college's biggest adjustments. Noise, crowded rooms and shared bathrooms may be firsts for students living away from home for the first time. However, living in the dorm can provide some of college's best memories. With the right attitude and a good survival kit, the dorm can begin to feel more and more like home.
Bed & Bath
Give your college student a source of comfort in an impersonal dorm room. Buy a soft fleece blanket and monogram her initials on it. Wrap it around a shower caddy filled with travel-size versions of her favorite toiletries and a pair of shower shoes or rubber flip-flops. Include a hand towel and a toothbrush cap to keep the bristles clean. Buy an oversize pillowcase and fill it with a soft rug to put beside the bed, a sleeping mask, a reading light that will clip onto a bunk, a pair of bedroom shoes and a pair of pajama pants for lounging.
Every dorm-dwelling college student has to do laundry. Make it a little easier for your college student with a big, roomy laundry bag filled with a family-size bottle of detergent, a box of dryer sheets and a roll of quarters to get started. If he lives far from the laundry room, include a paperback book or two to keep him occupied while waiting. For room cleaning, buy a mop bucket and fill it with basic cleaning supplies, such as all-purpose cleaner, air freshener, a mini broom and dustpan, dishwashing soap, a sponge and cleaning cloths.
When the library closes, your college student will have to brave the chaos of the dorm to study. Fill a shoebox with noise-cancelling headphones, a CD of classical music, an energy drink, caffeine gum and a gift certificate for pizza when pulling an all-nighter. For regular studying, try a set of index cards (for making flashcards), two highlighters, a mini voice recorder for making oral notes, sticky note tabs for marking important parts of a book and a lap desk for studying in bed. You could also include a tote bag for throwing in a laptop, notebooks and supplies for going downstairs to study in the common area.
The dorm offers countless opportunities for fun and making new friends. Outfit your college student with all the tools for social success. For quick, simple activities, fill a box with a dart board and darts, two decks of cards, a Twister mat and a mini chalkboard with chalk for keeping score. For movie watching with friends, get a subscription to an online movie-rental service, a mini DVD library, a cord for connecting your student's laptop to a television and plenty of popcorn.
Kate Bradley began writing professionally in 2007. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in international studies and a minor in German from Berry College in Rome, Ga; TEFL/TESOL certification from ITC International in Prague; and a Master of Arts in integrated global communication from Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Ga.