Residence hall must haves

Every list from Target, Walmart, Bed Bath & Beyond, or any other store that sells dorm supplies will give you their own version of the dorm room essentials, but the best way to know what you really need is by living in a dorm room. Unfortunately, waiting until after you’re all moved in probably isn’t the best idea. So the second best way to know what you need is to ask someone who already knows from experience. While it is easy to assume the obvious necessities, there are always surprises.

Deck the walls

Wall decorations, for instance, might not seem necessary but like I said, you’d be surprised. What’s the big deal with wall decorations? Hanging up pictures of your friends and family or posters of your favorite shows is one of the easiest ways to make your room feel like home. It takes away the white sterile walls and in a matter of minutes transforms an entire space. So when you pack, bring a couple posters and have your favorite pictures printed. The comfort they bring compares to nothing else.

Sheets in multiples

Shopping for dorm room decor always means shopping for bedding, and when you find the perfect bed set it feels like the search is over. Except that you need to be prepared for the day when you plan on washing your sheets and the washers are all full and you can’t wait because you have class, or work, or a club. You are still going to want a clean pair of sheets, but you won’t have them. Unless, of course, you planned ahead and packed two or three sets of sheets. The more sheets the better.

Never enough hangers

One can never have enough clothes hangers. Which is why it is important to pack way more hangers than you have clothes to be hung. Some you will lose, some will break or be borrowed, and others will be used for the clothes that you buy. Because when you have a nice dress shirt or a new dress that needs to be hung before a special event but you are all out of hangers, you’ll probably wish you had too many instead of too few.

Tale of the tape

Tape, of all kinds, will become an odd necessity during your college years. Packing tape, duct tape, painters tape, scotch tape … I think that’s all the tape. Anyway, I can’t count the number of times I’ve needed tape and didn’t have it. You’ll need it for sending packages, hanging things on your wall, making posters and projects, hanging up fliers for your club, fixing things, taping extension cords along the walls, and anything else you can think of. Tape is more than handy, it is an essential.

Bulk shampoo

Bulk shampoo and conditioner will save you trouble in the long run. It is inconvenient to run out of either on any given day, but when you’re tired or busy and you can’t get a ride to the grocery store and it’s too cold outside to walk to CVS it is especially inconvenient. So while you’re out food shopping in Costco or Sam’s Club, ask your mom or dad for one of those insanely large bottles of shampoo to save you a little bit of trouble in the long run. It’s all about the easy fixes.

* Bonus: What not to bring *

Sometimes people don’t consider some of the things they shouldn’t bring to school, and I am here to tell you that you do not need to bring more than a few t-shirts. Loyola loves swag t-shirts and the students love receiving them. So much so that over three short years I have accumulated well over 30 (yes, 30) free t-shirts. So don’t pack them because soon they will take up all your precious space and then what?

7 reasons to live on campus

Scene from a Loyola University Maryland residence hallSo you’ve heard that Loyola has some of the best residence halls well, anywhere. But amenities aren’t the only reason to live on campus. Consider all of this additional upside:

1) Convenience

You know those days when you wake up only to see it is rainy and cold outside, and you don’t want to get out of bed? Those days will happen, and those are the days you will be glad you live only a short walk to your class. Those are the days where you will want to spend as little time getting to and from class or being outside as possible. The only way to do that is to live on campus.

Or maybe the weather won’t matter much to you, but you forgot a book in your room and you need it for your next class. You’ve only got a few minutes to run to your room and make it to class on time. Living on campus is the way to go.

2) So many friends

Whether you are a first-year or a senior, living on campus guarantees you a social life. It is almost impossible to live on campus and not meet someone who lives on your floor. And we can’t leave out the fact that you live with your peers as roommates as well. Potential new friends literally surround you. Open door policies are a great way to meet new people, and you’ll likely have an RA who holds programs to bring your living community together as well.

3) Experience

This is college. These are the years. You will only have this experience once; don’t let it get away from you. If you’re looking to get the full college experience, living on campus is a huge part that you can’t miss out on. You have the rest of your life to live on your own, but when are you going to live with hundreds of people your same age, with similar interests, and who have the same weird schedule as you?!

4) You don’t have to call the plumber

Submitting a maintenance request and having your problem be solved in a day or two with no extra cost is a beautiful thing. Forget about finding a reliable handy man or plumber to fix your sink before the kitchen floods and then worrying about how much this will cost you. Loyola has got you covered. Seriously, maintenance is there to help you with your problems because we’re college kids so we don’t have all the answers yet. It would be unfair to think that we could really maintain an apartment by ourselves, so we just don’t have to.

5) All Inclusive

When you move out on your own, there are a lot of hidden costs that you probably aren’t thinking about. First you’ve got your electricity, then utilities, cable, and internet … the list goes on and on. When you live on campus all of that goes out the window. You pay for your housing and that is it. Loyola is handing you a big platter of convenience; take it!

6) Independence

Okay, so this may not make much sense following a post about how you’ve got a big platter of convenience in front of you, but just wait. When you live on campus instead of staying at home, you get to experience your first real slice of independence without the overwhelming pile of responsibilities that comes with full-blown adulthood. At Loyola, you’re given the ability to cook for yourself, do your own laundry, manage your own time, go to the FAC when you want (or don’t want), and find a balance that works for you. No more living on a household schedule, this is your time to be independent and find your own style of living.

7) Safety

Loyola has an incredibly safe campus as far as I am concerned. Between our swipe cards/locks on every door of every building and the campus police officers you see patrolling campus 24/7 it is hard not to feel safe. To be frank, this can’t be said for all the neighborhoods around campus where students like to live. But on top of all my other worries about school and friends, I don’t want to worry about not feeling safe where I live. Loyola consistently works to not only make me feel safe, but to truly protect all students from any potential harm. Safety is not something I want to gamble with.