Thursday, 22 August 2013

The Residence Survival Kit!

Are you planning to move into residence? Are you excited for your first step towards independent living? Are you all packed and ready to go? If you had asked me these questions at the start of my second year, I would have answered “yes” to all of the above – however, as I quickly realized once I started unpacking, there were a few things that I should have thought of when packing for my dorm! And so to help save you from making the same mistakes that I did, I present to you my dorm survival guide! Here’s what you’ll want to bring:

The Basics 

There are probably tons of things that you use every single day and don't even realize. Chances are, if you live at home, you've probably never even shopped for them! Don't forget garbage bags and cleaning supplies - you will need them on your very first day. Hangers for all your clothes are also super important. Space-saving-hangers are a great idea, since dorm room closets are pretty small and your storage space might be limited. 

A Weekend Bag

For my whole first year in Lister, I packed a backpack, laptop bag, and a couple of reusable shopping bags every time I went home - it was such a hassle. A duffel bag large enough to fit about 4 days of clothing and toiletries will be a valuable investment. (Besides, you'll need your backpack for homework!)  It’s also worth noting that a lot of student groups on campus organize weekend retreats or ski trips - so you never know when you'll need to pack up and go away for a weekend! 

A "Junk Drawer" 

Create a kit of things you might need in a pinch - you know, those things you would normally find in your parents junk drawer - a flashlight, screwdriver, sewing kit, Band-Aids, spare batteries, tape, and safety pins. Store everything in a small plastic container for quick access and easy storage. 

Sporting Gear

The U of A campus is full of opportunities to get out and move; we have swimming pools, a skating rink, plenty of gymnasiums, and a workout room or two. So, I strongly suggest that you bring the equipment you need to take advantage of these facilities. Hitting an outdoor trail or joining an intramural team can be a great way to bond with your new floor mates, so be sure to have the proper clothing and shoes to participate!

Something Unique

On my floor in Lister, Rubik's cubes, razor scooters and funny slippers were just a few of the memorable things around our floor. Each person on the floor seemed to have one really interesting thing in their room, which served as great icebreakers making it much easier to build floor spirit and to create great memories! If there is something quirky that represents your personality, it can be a fun thing to have in your dorm room. 

A Printer and Stapler

There's nothing worse than staying up all night working on an important term paper, and having to get out of bed at the crack of dawn to run to the library to print it out. Having a printer and a stapler in your room will relieve you of those hectic mornings and might even allow you to catch a few more minutes of sleep! 

A Shower Tote, Robe, and Flip Flops

If you'll be sharing a bathroom with your floor, these things will definitely come in handy! There isn't a spot in the public bathroom to store all your shower necessities, so a tote is perfect for transporting everything to and from your room. Make sure that your shower tote is breathable…trust me when I say that you’ll want it to dry out properly. A robe is also essential - I can't tell you how many times my clothes slipped off the hooks and got wet in the shower room. Bring a robe to wear to and from the showers and save yourself the trouble of having to pick out a second outfit! Flip flops are also a dorm essential - I'd recommend bringing two pairs! One for the showers, and one to throw on when you're running down to the marina or cafeteria. 

Something from Home

Moving away from home can be challenging, but it can be a lot easier with a few comforts from home. One of my friends made sure that she had some mom made meals for those rough days when a little home cooking would serve as a nice pick-me-up. Another friend had a special blanket on her bed that she had brought to remind her of home, and I made sure to have photos of my family in my room - having a touch of home in your dorm can really help make the space more familiar and cozy. 

So, that’s my advice. 

What do you plan to bring when you move into Lister? If you’ve lived in a dorm room before, do you have any advice for first time residents? Hit the comments section, and let us know! 


About the Author

My name is Erin and I’m going into my eighth, and final, year at the University of Alberta. When I grow up, I want to be a fairy princess… but since the U of A doesn’t offer that program, I am working on completing my Bachelor of Elementary Education.

I can usually be found consuming excessive amounts of caffeine in the library, volunteering with my sorority sisters, or hitting up the latest campus events.

What I love most about the U of A is how different the experience is for everyone, and how many experiences each student can have. I hope to share my stories and yours, so that together we can discover what this amazing campus has to offer!


1 comment

  1. Super helpful, I'll use this when I'm packing :)


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