6 Dorm Essentials to Help You Survive and Thrive Your First Year of College

In many ways, living in a dorm is a bit of a rite of passage when it comes to college (and life in general).

For most of us, moving into a dorm is the first time we'll be living away from home, and that can add an extra level of stress to the already huge life change that is starting college. However, this (small, cramped and clinical-looking) space is also the safe haven, study center and social gathering spot you'll probably be in the most. With that said, there are a few dorm essentials that every current or soon-to-be college freshman should have to help them survive and thrive during that first year, including:

1. A Full-Length Mirror

You want to make sure your first-day-of-class outfit looks great, right? Sadly, though, the dingy dorm room bathrooms aren't exactly fit-check friendly, making a full-length mirror practically a necessity. There are plenty of great options out there, including space-saving over-the-door hanging mirrors that won't break the bank, either.

Shutterstock: Bedroom styling with purity of the lines, 3D illustration

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2. A Calendar You'll Actually Look At

After syllabus week is behind you, you might be surprised how quickly assignments, exams and events start piling up. To keep yourself organized and ensure you don't accidentally miss anything important, a proper calendar is all but necessary. Just make sure you actually fill it out with each big thing that comes up. Buying a particularly cute one that doubles as desk décor can help!

 

3. A Microwave

If your dorm doesn't already provide one, it may be super beneficial for you to pick up a mini microwave that can easily fit on your desk or dresser for late-night meals and pre-class breakfasts when you just can't drag yourself out to the dining hall. Plus, there are plenty of dorm-friendly microwavable meals out there you can either make from a simple recipe or simply snag from your local Trader Joe's.

Shutterstock: Background image of contemporary kitchen interior in pastel colors with focus on microwave oven and analog clock, copy space

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4. A Few Reminders of Home

While you don't want to be that girl who's totally stuck in the past and shrouds her entire room in memorabilia from high school, a few reminders of home (such as some favorite photos or a beloved stuffed animal) can help keep homesickness at bay so that you can focus on making new memories and thriving in your new environment.

 

5. Chargers—So Many Chargers

One of the easiest mistakes that can be made in college is oversleeping and missing a class due to a dead phone that never goes off. Prevent this by keeping chargers galore all around your dorm (including laptop and other electronic chargers as well). Plus, your new friends will love you for having an extra one they can charge up on while hanging out in your room.

Shutterstock:Smartphone charging with cable on light stone table

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6. A Cute Hamper

Reminder: you'll probably have to use a laundry facility located outside of your actual dorm room when you need to do laundry (and no, you can't just go home every weekend to have your mom do it for you). With that said, having a cute and portable hamper there to catch your clothes at the end of each day will not only make things easier when it's time to carry it all over to said facility, but will also keep you from letting your desk chair (or entire room) become one big hamper of sorts that's brimming with dirty clothes.

 

Now that you know a few basics to pick up before moving into your first dorm, it's time to start getting excited! Dorm living can be challenging, but it can also be pretty fantastic and become a highlight of your college experience. Click HERE to read about some advantages of living in a dorm in college.