College essentials

Jenna Frascelli is a recent graduate of Marist College with her BA in Communications, concentrating in Public Relations. She also minored in Music. She spends her free time not only freelance writing, but also cooking, hiking, reading, and listening to music. She is an avid sports fan and loves animals. If you want to contact her, please email her at [email protected]


College is a huge change from high school in most cases. If you are going away to school like I did, there are things you’re going to be grateful you have once you are out on your own. Yes, towels and a desk lamp are important things to remember, but I found there are other things I was really happy to have with me, especially when I was missing home. Everyone needs an extra little comfort now and then and these are the things that will have you texting your parents at 2am saying, “Thank you so much for reminding me to bring _____!! You’re the best and I’m doing great at college! Miss you!” Oh, and a PSA: Contact your parent(s)/guardian often. At least twice as often as you think is appropriate because they are always eager to hear from you.


Anyway, here are your real college essentials:


Insert favorite snack here

Snacks are essential to college. Sometimes at 2am you are hungry and unsatisfied from the dining hall food that was consumed at 6pm, long before you worked tirelessly in the library to finish that paper due tomorrow morning. I am absolutely not telling you snack constantly because the dreaded Freshman 15 is a very real thing (trust me), but a good snack can really pick up a lousy day or make a good one even better The thing about your favorite snack is that it’s not always something you want to share. This is the snack I recommend keeping in your hiding spot for when you need it. So every once in a while, grab that small sleeve of cookies and reward yourself for your newfound independence.


A comfy sweatshirt

I have to be honest, my comfy sweatshirt is a school sweatshirt that I bought probably before I even moved in. What can I say? I have serious school spirit. But, it has gotten me through many cold nights and also many nights of cranked up air conditioning once I was an upperclassman. If you don’t already have a comfy sweatshirt from home, buy one in your school’s campus store! They are usually on the expensive side but they last and they’ll be there for you when all you want is to cuddle up in bed after a long day.



I put these two together because they are both used to listen to music but they serve two very different purposes in college life. Speakers are usually for group listening. Although sometimes when I really wanted to drown out the world and I had my own room I would use mine loudly in there. But mostly speakers are used for days on the campus green, getting ready to go out, and general shenanigans with a group of friends. Someone in that group having good speakers is a must. Headphones are basically for the opposite purpose. I also used headphones to drown out the world but that usually occurred in the library when the people next to me were discussing their Friday night plans and I was trying to finish a paper worth 30% of my grade. The sound went up and their conversation did not even exist anymore. Also, a backup pair of headphones is a good idea, especially earbuds, because headphones tend to break.



A dependable bag/backpack

Finding the perfect campus companion in a bag is like finding the Holy Grail. I used a bunch of different bags and backpacks throughout my four years in undergrad. Days with fewer classes usually got bags and pocketbooks and days where I had a heavy class load got backpacks. Some bags wore out, others were just not right for the job. My go-to items for carrying things became my zebra backpack, my pink and gray leather knapsack, and my distressed black leather bag. Some days, especially in bad weather or when I had a lot to carry, backpacks were just more conducive to the day. Other days I just had work or one class and my regular black bag was fine to fit a notebook and a snack or anything else I needed. An important note here is if you are planning on frequently taking your laptop to class or the library you are either going to need a bag that fits your computer or a separate bag for just that purpose.


A special reminder of home

This changes from person to person because it is completely up to you what this is. This should just be something that will make you smile when you are getting a little homesick. It is the thing that will prevent you from calling home crying because you miss it. No parent needs a late night phone call full of homesick tears, because it only makes them more upset and miss you more. I’m not telling you not to call your parents because PLEASE call your parents, they raised you and they miss you! But instead of getting so upset that you become sort of hysterical over the phone, grab this item and think about how happy it makes you and how proud everyone at home is that you are taking this huge step in your life. For me, it was my favorite stuffed animal. Maybe that’s a cliché, but it worked, so I’m not too concerned with what anyone thinks about it. Whenever I was sad, I would hold it and think about my family and friends and everyone who was so supportive of me. Then I would call my mom once I was feeling a little better so that I could check in with her and she didn’t get overly concerned about me being sad or lonely. Disclaimer: the loneliness lasted about four days before I made my first few friends and started going out and socializing and forgetting to call home.


To the freshman, enjoy these college years because they are absolutely amazing. Soak up every possible experience and don’t forget to bring these 5 things!

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