College Must-Haves: 10 Things You Need to Survive

Whether you’re a freshman or fifth-year senior, preparing for your first week of classes is essential. Other than the clothes on your back (and ideally other outfits as well), here are the 10 things you need to survive college.

Relevant School Supplies

Unlike previous grades, college students typically need a computer and textbooks. If you prefer to take notes by hand, then add a pen/pencil and notebook/paper to the list. Every university and college is different, but many have computer labs where you can use computers (and sometimes rent laptops) and print documents. Read the syllabus for each class and add more supplies when necessary.

Health Insurance

You may or may not be on your parents’ insurance plan still. If not, you have options and we highly recommend you look into them! We encourage you to browse the internet for health insurance for college students as there are affordable plans available (Yes, even for ramen-noodle-eating students). Even short-term insurance is valuable and can help you out in case of an emergency during a gap period. 

Noise-Canceling Headphones

You don’t have to purchase $100-plus headphones, but noise-canceling headphones are essential in college. From on-campus construction to guitar-playing roommates to people who don’t understand what quiet means in a library to simply wanting to get deeper into focus mode, noise-canceling headphones will help you survive and thrive throughout college.

Day Planner

College is the perfect time to learn time management skills. Not only will time management skills be beneficial in college, but they’re going to teach you practical habits for the real world. A day planner is an ideal place for you to write down all assignments, classes, and other priorities. Being organized might not sound lit, but it will keep your schedule in order and open up more free time. 

Cheap Entertainment

College students can’t always afford everything they want to do as they’re spending the majority of their time on their education. Of course, downtime is essential and working too hard can lead to burnout. Cheap entertainment is the solution to this dilemma, which could include a streaming service subscription, a library card, joining intramural sports, etc.

A Budget

Learning how to create a budget in college will allow you to do some of the activities you enjoy while building one of the most useful skills you’ll need once you’re out of college. Not all educations require you to learn about finances, but you can and should teach yourself in school.

Backup for Files

Losing all your work for an important project is a catastrophe. Make sure you back up your files and consider saving everything on a computer and external hard drive. Your pictures are important as well, so consider purchasing an ibi by Sandisk—this technology is like a personal cloud for your pics and videos and allows you to save all of your memories in one place.

One Day of Freedom Every Week

Your college years are a good time to explore. Some schedules are busier than others and some students are just better at time management (see: above) than others, but we encourage students to open up their schedules up for at least one day of freedom every week. Use this day to explore campus, be part of the student section at sporting events, and everything in between. 

A Good Friend or Group

A good friend and/or friend group are important to navigate the college waters. After all, this is a time of discovering yourself and life away from your parents, and it can be hard to manage it all. A strong support system will make this time smoother and more enjoyable.

An Open Mind

Sign up for a university group you never pictured yourself joining. Audition for a musical. Take up water polo. Use college to try new things and discover who you really are and want to be. For many people, college is the best time of their lives. Be smart, make good decisions, and have an open mind.