Packing for college: a freshman survival guide

Zainab Ali/Senior Staff

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Packing for your first year of college is, admittedly, a nerve-wracking task. So many important items, so little space and time. And though you were smart enough to get into UC Berkeley, you might not be as savvy when it comes to packing for college. So, to help you out as you start to think about how you will transport a microcosm of your entire life to the shoe box that is a Unit 3 residence hall, we have compiled a list of tips and tricks to help you out.

Don’t pack too many clothes

Please do not bring your entire closet to college. Not only will you end up not wearing most of the clothes you bring, but you will also have limited space in your shared residence hall room. If there’s something you only occasionally wear — or something that you think you ought to bring just in case — resist the temptation. As the semester progresses and you find yourself needing an extra coat or winter jacket, you can always have it shipped from home or buy one in Berkeley.

Mattress pads are a wonderful investment

Not many of us dream of sleeping in bunk beds, and there is a reason for that: They are just not very comfortable. Alas, it is a reality most UC Berkeley freshmen will have to face. To make your bed more pleasant, it is a good idea to invest in a mattress pad or foam topper. Even if you are lucky enough to get a bed that is not hard as a rock, it doesn’t hurt to add a little bit of extra cushion.

Power strips will help make up for a lack of outlets

If you are excited to move into your new room and start to decorate and arrange all your belongings, that is great! Unfortunately, you may be less excited to discover that your room has only one or two outlets, in other words, not enough. To avoid having to ration outlet time among everyone in your room, pack some extension cords and power strips. This will enable you and your roommate(s) to charge your phones and laptops simultaneously in peace.  

Tie up the loose ends later

A crucial part of living in a small residence hall room is learning how to keep all your things  somewhat organized. That means buying storage bins, storage hooks and various other organizing items. They are important but not so essential that you will need them the second you arrive. Save space in your airplane luggage or car and buy these when you get to Berkeley. In the meantime, your suitcases can serve as helpful storage spaces for the things you will not be needing in August, such as winter jackets.

Your old favorites might collect dust

As much as you might want to bring your favorite books or DVDs to college with you, do not. With class readings and the space-time vortex that is Netflix, your old favorites will surely collect dust until having to be hauled back home at the end of the school year. Bring one or two, but leave the rest at home. Your first year at college should be spent experiencing everything that UC Berkeley has to offer, so watching your entire Harry Potter boxset can wait for vacation.

Contact Ivana Saric at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ivanas26.