You’re probably thrilled about the prospect of going away to boarding school! Many exciting opportunities await you. In all the elation, it may be hard to focus on what to bring. Here is a basic guide for what to pack to make for an easy transition. Tips are also given for a successful first semester.
To guide you in your packing efforts, ask your school adviser the following questions:
• How much space does the dorm room have?
• May I have the phone number of my roommates so I can coordinate with them?
• What items should I specifically not bring?
1. BASIC NECESSITIES
Items you can’t do without are:
• alarm clock
• bathing aids – shower shoes, washcloths, bath towels, and robe
• bed linens – blanket, comforter, pillow, mattress protector, and two sets of twin sheets
• cell phone and charger – Ideally, your cell phone should have a camera. Your service plan should allow for nationwide calls and unlimited texting.
• duffel bag
• hair grooming supplies
• plastic bucket – to tote toiletries to the bathroom
• pocket mirror
• prescription medications
•surge protector – to handle multiple electric plugs
•toiletries – deodorant, shampoo, soap, tissues, and toothpaste
2. STORAGE UNITS
To keep items protected, organized, and out of the way, bring the following:
•under-the-bed storage boxes
3. FOOD-RELATED ITEMS
•beverages – juice boxes, water
•containers with close-fitting lids – for food storage
•eating utensils – stainless steel spoon, fork, knife
•mug and bowl
•snacks and zip-lock bags to store them
Bring items that will put a smile on your face as you remember friends and family at home. These objects can offer emotional support while adjusting to your new lifestyle. Here are some suggestions:
5. STUDY-RELATED MUST-HAVES
•bulletin board and thumbtacks
•computer and printer – although your school will have computers, a laptop is convenient for doing research and keeping in touch with friends and family. Ask your school adviser if there’s a specific type required. Accessories needed are anti-virus software, operating system restore disk, and a USB hub.
•day planner – use it to record assignment due dates, project deadlines, and planned activities
•dictionary and thesaurus
•dry erase board and markers – useful for leaving messages for roommates or making announcements to your Hall
•school supplies – backpack, binders, folders, notebooks, paper, paper clips, pencils, pens, ruler, scissors, tape
•sticky notes, such as Post-Its
6. CLOTHING AND ACCESSORIES
•blouses or shirts
•dresses and skirts for girls
•shoes – dress shoes, sneakers, slippers
•plastic pocket hanging organizer
•sewing kit – needles, thimble, thread, scissors
7. WEATHER-RELATED ITEMS
•sunscreen and sunglasses
•insect repellent if attending school in summer
8. CLEANING SUPPLIES
•laundry bags – pillow cases can be used for this purpose
9. FINANCIAL CONSIDERATIONS
•Credit Card – This is necessary for unexpected emergencies. Also, make an agreement with your parents on a monthly spending limit for casual purchases.
•ATM Card – Rather than carrying large amounts of cash, make trips to an ATM machine as needed. Try to use the ATM that’s affiliated with your bank to avoid service fees.
10. FOR FUN
Most boarding schools have extensive sports facilities. To guide your packing, you can inquire as to what’s specifically offered. Depending on the school and your interests, you may wish to bring:
•basketball equipment – ankle guards, athletic supporter, knee pads, mouth guard, and wrist bands
•lacrosse equipment – mouth guard, gloves, shoes, and stick. Boys should bring a helmet with face guard; elbow, rib, and shoulder pads; and athletic supporter. Girls should pack lacrosse goggles and a sports bra. Goalies should also bring a chest protector, goalie stick, helmet, knee pads, and shin guards.
•soccer gear – elbow and knee pads, mouth guard, padded soccer pants, protective cup, protective head gear, shin guards, shoes, and soccer gloves. Goalies should also pack helmets, gloves, and sun-shielding caps.
•tennis or squash racket
•deck of cards
•iPod with headphones and charger
•easy chair – consider a bean-bag chair
WHAT NOT TO BRING
Items that pose a threat to safety may be confiscated by supervisors. Here’s a list of what not to bring:
candles, matches, incense burners, heating pads, electric blankets, space heater – these are fire hazards.
MAKING A SUCCESS OF YOUR FIRST SEMESTER
Here are some tips for getting off to a great start at school.
1. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It will help you adjust to the new rules, routines, and schedules. Seek the help of your adviser, house parents, senior students, and teachers.
2. Be open to new experiences. Try new clubs, sports, and academic activities. It will help you learn more about yourself and discover your strengths.
3. Try not to be too opinionated. An open mind and gracious attitude promote good relationships.
4. Get enough sleep. It will help you feel strong and do your best.
5. Don’t let yourself get behind in your studies. Trying to catch up is difficult and stressful.
6. Do school work in the library. It will help you avoid distractions.
SCHOOL SURVIVAL TIPS
1. If you’re having difficulty getting along with someone, go to your resident adviser or house parent. They can give you tips for handling the challenge. Don’t think you’re being a tattletale or a weakling. Advisers are tactful in sensitive situations and skilled in conflict resolution.
2. Be willing to compromise. Your flexibility will go a long way in fostering harmony.
3. Avoid the temptation to gossip. Don’t say anything behind a person’s back that you wouldn’t say to their face. Close your ears to rumors. Don’t spill someone’s secrets.
4. Respect the space and privacy of others.
KEYS TO ENJOYING SCHOOL
Here are three keys to enjoying school:
1. Make it a priority to get along well with others.
2. Maintain a lighthearted, positive attitude.
3. Put your best effort into everything you do.
Attending boarding school is a great privilege. To be well-prepared, remember the three A’s:
If you employ these three strategies, you’re bound to have a great experience.
Here’s wishing you a wonderful semester!