06 August 2013

What You'll Actually Need in College

I remember my freshman year of college like it was yesterday.

A huge new school, new people, new places. It was so exciting. I also remember being super overwhelmed while I was packing. That being said, when I packed everything back up to move home for the summer, I discovered that I'd brought a LOT of things I didn't need. So I've compiled this list of things you'll actually need on a daily basis on campus.

As a freshman in college, I had visions of dressing cute every day, wearing jeans and dresses to class. HA. YEAH RIGHT. The reality is, it's totally kosher at my university to wear Norts or leggings with a t-shirt every day. There will definitely be times when you want to dress nicer, but by your third 8 a.m. class of the semester, you probably won't feel like waking up at 6:30 a.m. just to pick out an outfit and do your hair and makeup.

[DISCLAIMER: The below may not apply at ALL colleges and universities. I have friends at UVA (Any Cavs out there!?) and other schools--especially southern schools--who say girls at their schools put a little more effort into their appearance every day. For example, at the University of South Carolina, it's traditional to wear black dresses to football games. So it might be a good idea to spend few days on campus and get a feel for how other girls are dressing before shopping. No matter what school you go to, these pieces will probably be wardrobe stapes at least during finals week and when you're in your apartment/dorm/house. Also, if you're going through sorority rush, your packing list will be a LOT different. But I'm not even going to get into that. Check out The Rush Queen's blog for tips on sorority rush.]

Need in College II
A good pair of boots (or two). I wear boots so much during the fall and winter that I ended up buying two pairs of nice leather boots: One in black and one in brown. I completely wore the heels out on the brown ones and just ordered another pair for the fall. It's worth the investment.

Big comfy sweaters. They're great to wear with leggings or jeans and boots, and they will give the appearance that you actually put some effort into your appearance, but you will still be comfortable. Nordstrom Rack is a great place to find these.

Leggings, yogas and Norts. I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH. You might think you'll be wearing jeans and chinos to class every day, but trust me--when it comes time for you to actually roll out of bed and get ready for your morning classes, you'll reach for leggings or Norts almost every time.

Lots of t-shirts. Same reasoning as above.

A backpack you'll love forever. Before I left for college, I spent $100 on a really nice North Face backpack, and I still absolutely love it. Make sure you buy a backpack that has room for your laptop and is comfortable, because you'll be doing a lot of walking with it.
Things You Will Need in College III
Rain jacket. Believe me, you'll be glad you have it when you need it. Walking three miles with an umbrella is annoying and somewhat ineffective anyway, especially when there's a wind factor. Definitely buy a rain jacket with a hood. The North Face and Vineyard Vines make really nice ones, but don't forget to check Eddie Bauer. I've also seen a pretty good selection from time to time at Nordstrom Rack. Note: Rain jackets should be monogrammed.

ID wallet. These small ID wallets are super convenient for carrying your swipe card, credit cards, school ID, and keys. Just make sure you don't wear it on a lanyard around your neck, or you might fall victim to a game of Rip the Lanyard Off the Freshman. Just kidding, but you'll totally stand out as a freshman if you wear a Vera Bradley ID wallet on a lanyard around your neck. Seriously, don't do it. Lilly Pulitzer, Vera Bradley and Michael Kors have a good selection, and some even have a pocket for your iPhone.

Rain boots. You might think you'll be fine walking in the rain with Sperrys, but believe me, they don't cut it. It's the same gross feeling you have stepping off a Laser after a few hours of sailing: You want to rip your shoes off because they're disgustingly soaking wet. Do yourself a favor and get some shoes that repel the water, not just soak it in. Nordstrom Rack usually has the classic and timeless Hunter Wellies for a pretty good deal (I got mine for $85). For cheaper rain boots, check Target and Gap.

Shoes you can walk in. Whether this is a pair of running shoes or Tory Burch flats, get some shoes that have some actual support, because like I said, you'll be walking a LOT, and you will be absolutely miserable if you don't have the right shoes. For the love of God, unless you have a presentation, chapter meeting or something you have to dress up for, please do not be that girl who wears heels on campus for absolutely no reason. I'd say wedges are ok once in awhile, but if you're walking to class like a newborn calf in a pair of stilettos, your appearance will scream "freshman."
What You'll Need in College I
Clothes and shoes to wear out. This is essential. If you don't want to spend a lot of money, go to Forever 21 and stock up on cute shirts, bodycon skirts and dresses. Also be on the lookout for sales at Express--they have really cute dresses!

Sports bras. You're probably thinking that you won't reach a point in your life when you don't even feel like putting on a real bra every day, but you're wrong. That point in your life will be called finals week. So my advice is to go to Target or H&M and buy a lot of sports bras.

Versatile tote. Totes are great for when you have a meeting or you're on campus for something other than class. You won't catch a sorority girl without a durable Longchamp, but there are lots of other options. I personally like Michael Kors totes a lot.
Need in College IVPlanner. I don't know what I would do without my Lilly Pulitzer agenda. It absolutely keeps me sane. I know a lot of people prefer to manage their schedules on their computers or phones, but I feel more organized with everything written out on paper. Lilly makes agenda in several different sizes (and patterns)!

Water bottle. When you're using at least one water bottle every day, it doesn't really make sense to buy cases of plastic water bottles. Instead, buy a reusable one. I love the Camelbak Eddie, but there are tons of options out there. Target has a huge selection. I even monogrammed mine with a sticker from Etsy!

Tervis tumblers. If you drink coffee or tea on the go, Tervis tumblers are great. They keep drinks hot or cold, and they come in the cutest patterns. There's even a Maryland-themed one you can get at Bed Bath & Beyond.

Good luck at school, freshies! xo