The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The perfect dorm checklist for upcoming college freshman

Photo by Sloane Levy
Sloane Levy’s dorm room at UCLA is an example of a dorm made custom unique. It is filled with practical necessities in addition to fun, personal items to make it feel like home.

As classes begin AP Exam preparation, students book flights for summer vacations and shorts become a weather-appropriate clothing choice, one thing is evident: the school year is ending. This time is undoubtedly exciting for all grades as students reflect upon another academic year completed. However, seniors experience a poignantly bittersweet fourth quarter, mourning their childhood, celebrating achievements and looking forward to post-secondary life.

Anticipating the future undoubtedly brings a host of new questions, but for those entering four more years of education at a university, there is one at the forefront of their mind: “What should I bring to my dorm?” Amidst the excitement of being admitted to college and the myriad of celebratory end-of-the-year senior events, dorm room preparation is often left until the last minute, and procrastination is not practical to one’s college experience. To aid the Class of 2024, WCHS alumni offer advice for dorm room purchases to make the transition into collegiate life as smooth, efficient and practical as possible.

1. Storage Ottoman
Available in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes, storage ottomans are the epitome of dorm-friendly furniture. Ottomans, with no arms or backing, are small couch-like fixtures that are perfect for seating and pop open for storage. With the tight quarters that dorm rooms entail, students must be systematic and strategic with what they choose to furnish their rooms. As most dorms already have a bed and desk, any additional furniture must serve a versatile purpose for the dorm. Ottomans are the perfect way to add extra seating for guests, embellish the room’s appearance with a pop of color and have additional storage for miscellaneous items.

“Any storage you bring has to be multipurpose and efficient, especially in a city school,” WCHS ‘22 graduate and Northeastern University sophomore Sophia Fettig said.

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2. Command Hooks and Strips
Though a widely acknowledged choice, command hooks and strips are an essential and versatile purchase for any dorm room or apartment as they provide a temporary storage solution. As students will have to vacate their dorms at the end of each academic year, or even after each semester at some schools, temporary and removable storage is ideal. From attaching hooks for towels and clothing to supporting shelves with command strips, college students must keep these on hand. Additionally, both come in handy for decorations, which are critical for making one’s room feel welcoming in the new environment that students adapt to.

“Decorations are super nice to have since you are living there, after all,” WCHS ‘23 graduate and UCLA freshman Sloane Levy said. “Don’t decorate excessively at the start of the year, though, as you will be buying and adding things for your dorm throughout the year.”

3. Disposable Utensils
For nearly every student, college is riddled with busy schedules and requires meticulous time management. Students venture from class to class while balancing internships, jobs, studying, living alone and social engagements, sometimes all at once. In this rush, managing meals and cleaning can feel like a hassle. To optimize students’ time, WCHS ‘23 graduate and University of Maryland freshman Sanaz Wyckoff recommends disposable utensils and keeping silverware and reusable dishes to a minimum. In dorm-style housing especially, kitchen sinks with soaps and sponges are not convenient, as they require a trip to another floor or room. Beyond one set of utensils and dishes, students can save on storage and time by relying upon disposables for additional uses.

“I think any paper plates or utensils you can throw away are great because you don’t have a lot of time and energy to constantly be doing dishes,” Wyckoff said.

4. Mattress Topper
Though the standard dorm room has a bedframe and mattress included upon move-in, Fettig recommends investing in a mattress topper. The standard mattresses often lack comfort, which is a substantial factor in any dorm as students grow to call their dorms home. What is “home” without a good place to sleep? Additionally, mattress toppers add an extra layer of hygiene, as college-issued mattresses are often reused by residents each year. Further, these are a great investment for future years at college and post-graduate life. Whether students reside in a dorm, apartment or house, a mattress topper optimizes comfort for any bed.

“I appreciate getting a mattress topper as it has made my residences feel so much more homey and comfortable so far,” Fettig said.

5. Beat Up Shoes
Moving to college invites the opportunity to splurge on new items, commemorating a new start and chapter in one’s life. Many look forward to new sheets, comforters, devices and more. Though a brand new pair of new shoes may be worthwhile, especially for those attending city school where walking will become second nature, Levy recommends having a designated pair of beat-up sneakers. College campuses are host to a wide array of activities and students are responsible for maintaining their schedules in any type of weather. Most students do not have cars, so having a pair of shoes to wear in the rain or in muddy conditions is a great option. Additionally, they can come in handy for social events, concerts and other hands-on activities.

“I love my pair of beat-up shoes that I bring to places I know are dirty, or if it’s raining outside,” Levy said. “I’ve had these sneakers since before I moved into college, so it’s also nice to have a nostalgic object with me.”

Welcoming this new chapter of post-secondary life, students must factor comfort, practicality, and convenience into their college dorm purchases. Whether attending a school in the city, suburbs, or in a rural area, rising college students should prepare a list of these essentials to bring.

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About the Contributor
Ananya Pandit
Ananya Pandit, Arts Editor
Ananya Pandit is a senior and is the Arts Editor for The Observer. This is her third year on staff. When she’s not writing, she loves to discover new music and learn new songs on her guitar. Her favorite artists are Phoebe Bridgers, Elliott Smith, and Adrianne Lenker. Ananya loves to bake sweet treats for her friends and family, and go on long drives.

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