The top ten essentials to bring to college are not just the tangible necessities. Of course, students must bring laptops, cellphones, shavers, CD players, combs and toothbrushes, but there’s much more to it.
1. Those vital items should include just about every creature comfort students had at home, plus new items necessary for independent living. For instance, individual bank accounts and credit cards allow students to handle first experiences with financial responsibilities.
Clothing should include all-season items required for daily classroom use, athletics and relaxation. More traditional clothing could be useful for social occasions when dressing up is expected. If necessary, bedroom and bathroom items should include toiletries, towels, pillows, sheets, blankets and other necessities of daily living.
Of course, in today’s electronic world, college students need a basic desk or laptop computer, with all appropriate software for studies, research and communications. Other devices for listening, recording, phoning and viewing are necessary for both college work and personal enjoyment.
However, once the tangible needs are accounted for, there are also vital individual intellectual and emotional attributes students should bring to college to cope with those challenging years ahead.
2. Maturity: Personal responsibility and self-discipline are vital, because Mommy and Daddy aren’t there to fix skinned knees, flunked tests or broken hearts.
3. Determination: A positive, stick-to-it attitude is essential when classes, studies and social pressures threaten to overwhelm the overwrought college student.
4. Sobriety: It’s a word with many meanings. For new college students, it indicates taking a no-nonsense, serious attitude about attaining an education. Sobriety also applies to resisting the often overwhelming peer pressures to indulge in excess partying, drinking and drugs.
5. Motivation: Students must be self-starters, with the never-ending intent to learn, to concentrate fully on the educational requirements. It’s part of the maturing process from high school to college, when realities of the world beyond education must begin to take effect.
6. Curiosity: Students should bring to college a catlike inquisitiveness for all aspects of college life and the world beyond, not just the required subjects and campus routines. This is the time of life when learning abilities and curiosity about the world are at their peaks, and the need for questioning is uppermost. It’s typically the time when students become activists in politics and social issues, and those experiences should not be avoided because of earlier indoctrinations, traditions or any other constraints.
7. Career Paths: It’s never, never too early for freshmen to examine career options. On the first day of class, four years may seem like a long time into the future. However, compared to a lifetime beyond college, they’re fast-fading radar blips. New students should bring to college several career options, and then choose courses of study to enhance those ideas.
8. Balance: A typical college freshman is 18, the age when hormones are raging. It’s usually the first time students are away from parental control, and the need to experience all kinds of fun can be overwhelming. Unless the college is cloistered and students take solemn vows, balancing fun times with academics is actually a necessary part of college life. Therefore, students should be encouraged to relax and enjoy sports, entertainment and social activities.
9. Volunteerism: Bringing a spirit of willingness to help people isn’t on the regular class schedule. However, offering personal services on- and off-campus can be an important part of the higher education process. Working with kids, the elderly, hospital patients or the homebound can be least as educational as sitting in a classroom, and considerably more satisfying.
10. Gratitude: Students should bring a heart full of gratitude for the people who’ve helped them get into college. Of course, parents top the list, because of their personal sacrifices, encouragement and guidance. Also, there are the high school teachers and advisors, clergy, friends and relatives. Gratitude should be the foundation for students’ determination to succeed, to prove to everyone concerned that all the loving efforts and faith will be repaid by success.
In summary, it’s a given that students must bring all necessary creature comforts to college with them. It’s equally important, if not more so, for them to take along all the mental and emotional strengths required to achieve success.