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Hey Hopkins Insider!

The end of the summer has officially arrived, which means it’s nearly time to pack away the bathing suits and hit your local Staples for the annual school supply shopping spree. However, for those of you starting your freshman year at Hopkins, the end of summer shopping list is FAR more extensive, and definitely way more overwhelming to deal with. I remember the stress of packing for freshman year as if it was yesterday–sitting on the floor of my bedroom, surrounded by boxes of clothes, decorations, and school supplies, and asking myself: “How much of this stuff will I actually use? And how many important things am I forgetting?”

The partially-filled trunk of my parents’ car the morning of our drive down to Baltimore for move-in day.

Well, fear no more! While the internet has more than enough packing lists for school, I’ve looked through those and my own list from last year and compiled the tips that I think are most essential, and most specific to the Hopkins freshman experience.

DO:

Bring Rain Boots, Umbrella, and Rain Coat: Coming from Boston, I thought I could handle any type of weather, but I was truly unprepared for the amount of rain that hits the mid-Atlantic during the fall. Just an umbrella is NOT enough! The Hopkins campus is not immune to mild flooding, so rain boots are essential to making it through the fall without ruining all of your favorite shoes.

My friends and I had to sprint back to our dorm in the middle of a rainstorm once- needless to say, we were not prepared for the Baltimore rain.

Choose Practicality Over Style: Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely possible to find a balance between the two! But take it from someone who’s had a college dorm Pinterest Board since the 9th grade: As much as you want that minimalistic white comforter or 93847593 throw pillows, think about how you will actually use your dorm room. Chances are, you’ll spill something on that comforter, and those throw pillows will spend more time on the floor collecting dust than they will on your bed. 

Bring a Laundry Bag/Basket That’s Easy to Carry: Notice that I didn’t say small!!! You definitely want a sizeable laundry bag or basket for those busy weeks when the clothes start to pile up. However, bringing the huge one with no handles is not the way to go; you want something that you can easily throw in a wardrobe or under your bed, and in most of the freshman dorms, the laundry room is a decent walk away, so make things easy on yourself.

Pack with Layers: When it’s not pouring rain, Baltimore weather in the fall ranges from gorgeous days in the 70’s, to boiling hot ones in the 90’s, to the odd chilly day in the 50’s. Whatever the temperature is outside, the Hopkins buildings have a nice habit of being the exact opposite- classrooms tend to be hot when it’s cold outside, and cold when it’s hot outside. So, when packing, the most t-shirt/flannel/sweatshirt/sweater combos you can find, the better!

DON’T:

Bring a Brita Filter (or something of that category): My roommate and I had one sitting in our fridge for the whole year and did not use it once! Each dorm has plenty of filtered water bottle filling stations that make it super easy to fill up on the go.

Plaster Every Inch of Your Dorm Wall With Decorations: This is more of a self call-out because I ABSOLUTELY did this, and as fun as it was to have a million photos of my high school friends smiling down at me every day, it was not the smartest decision. First of all, it’s considered a fire hazard to have more than 50% of your wall covered so it’s technically not allowed… BUT even if you have a more lenient RA, you will still need to take half of your decorations down a couple times a semester for room checks, which is a major pain. Second of all, you want to save space for any photos or posters you may want to add during your first year!

Me and my (clearly thrilled) brother on move-in day; my walls ended up being a lot more crowded than this, but you get the idea.

Bring a Million Casual T-Shirts For Sleeping/Working Out: We all have them- the tons of random shirts from that soccer team four years ago or the senior year community service event. As tempted as you might be to pack a ton of these for school, limit yourself to three, MAYBE four at the max. I promise that between clubs you join, events around campus, and just general free swag, you will compile enough to last a whole year.

Bring a Salt Lamp, Unless You Really Like Puddles of Salt Water All Over Your Desk: Super random, but if anyone was even considering lugging an artsy salt lamp down to Baltimore for the year, take it from an expert: leave them home. On that subject, desk space is pretty limited, so don’t bring any trinkets or decorations unless they’re super meaningful or have a clear purpose in your room.

That’s all I have for now! For those of you starting your Hopkins adventures this week, keep your hearts and minds open to each new experience, and enjoy every minute!