What to Bring: The Updated List

Note from writers Kyle Grace (’21) and Tiffany Madruga (’20): 

More important than any item you’re going to bring, it’s important to step into college excited and with an open mind. You’re going to meet a lot of great people and have plenty of incredible experiences, just think about what you need to survive and figure the rest out as you go. Chances are, you’ll bring way more than you need and forget something crucial you’ll have to buy after 2 weeks, but that’s okay. You’ll learn by your second or third year, hopefully.

What you should really bring to college:

Bed:

Pillows, Bedding (Twin XL), Mattress Pad*

Fridge*, Microwave, Dishes, Utensils, food from home*

You could share with your roommate but that’s up to you.

Some storage system, plastic bins are popular.

Power Strip.

Bath: 

Towels

Toiletries, Medicine*

You can buy this when you get here or when you need it, but it’s good to have some medicine on hand just in case.

Beyond:

Computer

Scroll to the “computer” section of our semi-serious commentary for some more information on this.

TLDR: Get something you can afford that is going to be comfortable for basic web use, if you can splurge for something powerful it’s always nice to have that but it’s not a must. There are many labs on campus with fast computers and all the software you need.

Cell Phone

A must for communicating with other people in college. A portable charger is also highly recommended.

Apps to download:

Venmo, Facebook Messenger (you can make a messenger account without needing a facebook!)

Clothes

Laundry Basket/Bag, Detergent to clean said clothing.

It can get down to about 35ºF/2ºC  at the lowest at night during the winter and up to 110ºF/45ºC during the summer, so be prepared for the full spectrum. There’s everything short of snow, so be ready for some rain and harsh sunshine. 

School Supplies

Backpack, Paper, Pens/Pencils, some way to organize said paper, Desk Lamp

A positive attitude!!!!!!!!!!! 🙂 *

*Denotes optional, but highly recommended

A Semi-Serious Commentary on The OLD Official HMC List:

Key:

Green – Necessary

Yellow – Optional

Red – Not Recommended

* – marked optional by official list

# – marked “ask your roommate” by the official list

Official HMC List:

Bed sheets, extra long twin (regular twin sheets will not fit on the mattresses)

Blankets and/or comforter (machine washable is recommended REQUIRED)

Pillow

Towels

Toiletries

Trash can (metal ones won’t burn if something catches fire in it)

This one is iffy for me because I’m not actually sure if dorms come with trash cans. I didn’t get one my junior year and ended up buying a cheap one from the dollar store, for inside my room, but every dorm does have large trash cans outside so if you don’t mind walking a little bit every once in a while, I’d say wait on bringing these until you actually get to school. – Tiffany

Most suites / halls will have a big one nearby so unless you want one to help complete your dorm room aesthetic, I’d say it’s not necessary. – Kyle

Alarm clock (battery powered and electric)

Use your phone – Tiffany

Flashlight

Use your phone – Kyle

Calculator

I’ve only used a calculator maybe once that wasn’t just wolfram or my phone, and it was a provided four-function to take an exam with. – Kyle

I really only used my calculator for my economics classes – Tiffany

Backpack/book bag

Laundry basket

Laundry detergent

Quarters (for laundry: 1 dollar per wash, 50 cents for 45 minutes of drying)

You can use claremont cash on all the washing machines but honestly I just hide my quarters in my tide pods, which is pretty handy when I don’t have any claremont cash in my account. – Kyle

Duct tape (it fixes everything, but don’t use it on walls, ceilings or carpet or it will damage them)

I would really only bring the necessities to college because it makes the moving process much easier. Amazon exists for a reason and students get free prime! – Tiffany

It could be handy to have a roll on hand I guess, but just buy it when you need it. – Kyle

Phone (not a cordless one, since it will not be functional in a power outage) #

Please no. – Kyle

Agreed. – Tiffany

Speakers *#

Y’ard’y know if you want these. – Kyle

A lot of dorms will have speakers playing music during the day. I personally never used my speakers, I would personally suggest bringing headphones rather than speakers. – Tiffany

Microwave/Toaster/Coffee Machine/Water Heater *#

I’d only consider this optional if you live inside a kitchen or your roommate has one. I would say a coffee machine / water heater is necessary but I drink coffee and tea on the daily. – Kyle

I had a water heater in my room that I really only used 3 times. All dorms will have a hot water dispenser so if you need hot water for ramen/tea/coffee/hot chocolate and don’t mind walking at most 300 steps, you should be fine.  – Tiffany

Small refrigerator *#

I don’t know why anyone would consider this optional. – Kyle

Maybe if you have a roommate? But even then, I brought my own minifridge. If you can survive a few weeks without one, a few fridges are sold for cheaper during dorm auction so you could get one there.  – Tiffany

Small fan (besides increasing air flow, fans provide “white noise” for sleep) *#

I brought one my freshman year. It was never used. – Tiffany

I bought one my freshman year. It was used once. – Kyle

Iron/ironing board (our advice: befriend someone in ROTC instead) *#

A hair straightener can work in a pinch – Tiffany

Take a really really hot shower and put all your stuff in there with you. – Kyle

Silverware and a couple unbreakable dishes

Everyone has dreams of learning to cook at college, tbh it really doesn’t happen too often but having some dishes and silverware is a must. – Kyle

I cooked 3 times over the last 3 years. I use silverware and dishes at least twice a week. – Tiffany

Computer (see Computing and Information System for help)

Get whatever you are comfortable with. There are certain programs that are OS specific (ie: SolidWorks), but there are lab computers on campus that will have this software installed. Most of what you’ll be doing freshman year will not require you to use any of this specific software so as long as you have something that will allow you to do the basics (wolfram alpha calculations, word processing, coding) you should be fine. If you’re really on the fence, CIS does have some laptops that they can loan you for up to 2 weeks if you want to try something out before comitting, if you have a working laptop I would say that it should be just fine for Mudd. You should know if it’s time to get a new one. For perspective, I have a 2015 Macbook pro that is still going strong.  -Tiffany

A lot of the CS department uses Macs, I’d say get whatever you’re comfortable with and can afford. There are plenty of lab computers to use if you ever need to do anything too intensive, so focus on something that’s going to be good for your day-to-day emailing, google drive-ing, and web surfing. If you have the money to spend, of course it’s convenient to get something fast that you can do anything on, but I wouldn’t call it super necessary. Some of the common computers people use are Macbooks, Dell XPS, Lenovo Yoga, other ultrabook lines. I’ll always say getting something nice is an investment that will last you the next four years but don’t stress about getting something with 32 GB of ram and an i9, something with 8gb of ram and an i5 is honestly pretty solid. Pro Tip: having an SSD can really help your computer feel snappy. You really probably could survive with just a smartphone, but having a reliable laptop is a pretty nice quality of life improvement. – Kyle “ex-Best-Buy-employee” Grace

Camera

See “Flashlight” and “Alarm Clock”. If you like to take photos with a DSLR, continue your hobby and join the MUDDRAKER!!! 😀 – Kyle

Even if you don’t like to take pictures with a DSLR join the muddraker! 🙂 – Tiffany

Power strip

I like to plug things in, do you? – Kyle

In all seriousness, this was a must for me. The outlets can be pretty annoying to reach so having power strips really made it easier for me to move in – Tiffany

Dictionary/thesaurus

See “c o m p u t e r”, it’s 2019. – Kyle

If you right click a word on google docs you can open a dictionary to define things. If you spend a few more clicks you can look up a thesaurus and find new ways to say ‘see computer/smartphone’ – Tiffany

Decor for the room

Your room is one of the only places to call your own, so make it your space! 🙂 – Kyle

Fairy lights, pictures from home, and a rug can make the rooms look less like a prison cell. – Tiffany

Shelves, milk crates and so forth

Milk crates? I guess if you love milk, idk I’m lactose intolerant. – Kyle

I used some plastic storage containers/boxes throughout college, those are pretty useful. I don’t like milk enough to have a crate of it. – Tiffany

Oh yeah I have some of those too. – Kyle

Desk light (fluorescent and compact fluorescent lights are more energy efficient)

You probably need this. – Kyle

Lofting your bed can make your desk really dark, so if you plan on lofting, I would really recommend a desk lamp. – Tiffany

Sports/hobby equipment

If you know, you know. – Kyle

Bike/skateboard/longboard/unicycle/freelines/scooter*

I am pretty convinced you can probably survive without anything but most people have a set of wheels. I love biking and that works well for me. – Kyle

I have never used any form of wheels on campus and have gotten around fine – Tiffany

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