We are in that phase of getting organized for our school year. Whether it be school or housing related, many fall into the trap of buying too much stuff. However, there are a few things that are absolutely essential and not to be missed. Don’t worry about useless accessories you will rarely use, just focus on the things you need and get yourself set up for success. 


A computer is the most important thing for a student to have. University classes have pretty much gone online and even written assignments usually need to be completed electronically and uploaded when submitted. A powerful, lightweight, and long-lasting laptop is great to have, especially if you are doing your school work in different settings and running various applications on it. Most programs do not require a certain operating system like Mac or Windows, so just use the one you are most comfortable with. There is nothing more frustrating than your computer freezing during an online timed quiz or in the middle of an unsaved assignment. This brings up another related essential item, which is an external storage device you can use to back-up your computer. Backing up the files on your computer ensures that you do not lose your work in the case of a tech failure. 

Mattress pad

A mattress pad is important for all students, but especially important for freshman students moving into residence. Mattress pads slip on top of mattresses and turn beds from rock-hard to reasonably comfortable. Residence beds are notoriously uncomfortable and the last thing you want to start your semester with is bad sleep. They are relatively inexpensive and a good alternative to buying a whole new mattress, which can be costly.  

Power bar

Dorm rooms and student housing are notorious for having few outlets. If you are want to plug in your lamp, phone, computer and fan all in the same place you need a power bar. Getting a power bar with a built in surge protector is also a good idea to limit power spikes.  

 File organizer 

It is often hard to keep all your notes and handouts organized. A simple file organizer is a good solution to this problem. Having a different slot you can place material and notes from each course makes it faster and easier to retrieve material when needed, like those extra busy times of the term.

Drawing board

A small approximately 3’ by 2’ foot dry erase board can be exceptionally helpful tool for university students. It can be used to write down important dates and create checklists of tasks to be completed. It can also be used to memorize terms or solve problems. Whiteboards allow you to write out problems in a way that is easy to quickly erase and alter. They are also great for collaborating with classmates working together on one problem or on group assignments.  

Making sure you have everything you need for university can be stressful, especially when in first year. However, don’t make the same mistake as most students and end up with piles of useless things that you never end up using. Stick with things you need and a few other things you deem essential to yourself. Buying too many useless things also causes a significant increase in your first year living expenses. So, before you decide to buy that next item for your dorm room, think to yourself, is it really essential? 

Add another item to your list.

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