Well, it’s here! T-minus one week until orientation and I’m here thinking about this moment just about three years ago. I was anxious, having not packed, and was sitting amongst piles of JHU lists and Buzzfeed lists and older-sister-generated-lists, hoping that I had all the necessities for dorm life. I didn’t feel bad about piling on items because my family had decided to make the drive across the country, but let me tell you, when I got to campus turns out I was still missing some essentials. I’m not talking underwear essentials; rather, the littlest things I hadn’t given a second thought. As college years piled on, I got better at picking out what I needed each year and in smaller amounts, because luggage has a limit. So without further ado, here’s my official packing list for freshman year, or otherwise:


  1. TAPE—This list is in no particular order with the exception of this item being number one. YOU WILL NEED TAPE. Duct, masking, blue-painters, scotch, double-sided, packing. You name it, you will need it. **Important: some of these are NSFW (Not Safe for Walls…I’m laughing at this joke even if you aren’t).


  1. Dryer Sheets—I had never used dryer sheets before Freshman year, in fact, even though I’d done laundry almost my entire life I didn’t know what a dryer sheet was. One load through the industrial static-heaven that is a dorm dryer however, and it was a top item on my shopping list. Get some extra too because bets are, someone in your building will need some.

what I looked like because my laundry was sticking to me

  1. Rain gear—if you frequent Hopkins Interactive, you definitely have seen this item under students’ must haves. I’m from the Midwest so I’m used to strange and extreme weather, but I was not prepared for rain at JHU. If you were to ask me if there was anything I would change about campus, I would say the drainage system because campus can turn into a bit of a swamp. Invest in quality rain gear, and I mean quality. Don’t be like me and slip down the steps of the Breezeway during the first rain of freshman year.

      the rain boots in this picture failed me

  1. Towels/Robe—This one might seem like a no-brainer to you, but you should have multiple towels. There’s inevitably going to be a time when you toss your foul-smelling towel in the laundry and then forget to actually do your laundry. If you have to walk a ways to get to the bathroom one of those towels that closes with Velcro is a good investment, as is a bathrobe.


  1. Toolkit—It might not be used often but it can be a lifesaver: you never know when you might need to pry something open or tighten a screw. I’m also just a big believer in the power of the Allen wrench.

       all hail the Allen Wrench 

  1. Flash Drive—I really didn’t think this would come in handy, but luckily one of my friends had given one to me as a graduation present. You might need this when you have to give a presentation or print something when your computer won’t connect to the Internet. I was the only one in my friend group that had one, so my Spiderman USB was (and still is!) passed around quite a bit.

in all honesty, this is what my flash drive looks like

  1. Stamps/Stationary—this one is for the old souls, like me. I love sending and receiving mail, and it’s a fun way to keep in touch with friends across the country. Also, one of my mottos is to never underestimate the power of a handwritten thank-you note.


There’s my take! I won’t lie, it’s a bit of a strange assortment but these items definitely fall under the things I took for granted at home. Make sure you pack what you need and want, and have fun with it. Good luck, class of 2020, and see you soon!





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