Incoming First-Years: Here’s what to bring.

Posted on August 16th, 2016 by

Philip Rogosheske ’66 showed up to Move-In Day ’62 with this radio. It survived four more years, and then another 50. (It still works.) No need for radios now, with smartphones and laptops, but there is other gear to bring.

We asked the experts (Gustavus students and alumni). They answered, with good ideas, total surprises, and the totally bizarre. (Dentist chair?) If you’ve never been to college before, or have never been to Gustavus for college before, here’s what alumni suggest you pack in your suitcase/duffle bag/cardboard box/knotted bedsheet for Move-In Day.

Pool noodles or tennis balls for bedposts

You read that right. Slice a pool noodle—those long, floppy, floatable sticks you use for pool play—and wrap it around your bedpost. Lofted or not, “When you run into your bedpost, it doesn’t hurt as much,” says Kristen Eggler ’19. Old-school alternative: “We used tennis balls,” says alum Julie Mead Wells.

Pre-made medicine kit

Pack it with ibuprofen, bandages (especially odd-shaped ones), gauze and medical tape, cough drops, cold and flu meds, tweezers, antibacterial and hydrocortisone cream, and a thermometer. You’d be surprised how great it is to have it when you need it, especially a thermometer. Says Gustavus mom Kathy Dornon, “Kids call home and say, ‘I’m sick,’ but Mom doesn’t know with what without knowing if they have an elevated temperature.”

Small tool kit

A hammer and a screwdriver, particularly. Danielle Rae ’09 brought a multi-bit ratcheting screwdriver: “It was always in use. Always. In. Use.” While you’re at it, throw in a roll of duct tape and some high bond glue (Super glue, Krazy glue, etc.), though you cannot hang décor with either. (See below.)

Extra storage

Alumni and students alike mentioned over-the-door shoe holders, which can hold so much more than shoes, like gloves and mittens, cleaning supplies, an umbrella, and dryer sheets. That also goes for vertical closet organizers that hang from closet rods. Other suggestions: a tension rod for adding space to closets, and storage bins for under beds that have been raised on risers. Kasey Dumonceaux ’19 has a great suggestion: multiple shower hooks hanging from a regular hanger, “for hanging smaller clothing items such as tank tops, scarves and belts. Multiple items can then be put onto one hanger and save a lot of closet space.”

A fan and a nice, warm parka

No explanation necessary, and you can probably figure out when to use which.

Cleaning supplies, particularly cleaning wipes

You’re going to make a mess so do what your parents taught you to do and clean it up.

Personalized décor, and 3M hanging strips for hanging it

Make your room homey with the things you love—photos, posters, a cool (and helpful) lamp. Says Ali Jo Hoffman ’17, “The best thing is that if you don’t like it, you can change it! It’s your room!”Also great: a dry-erase or bulletin board for your dorm room door. Bring 3M hanging strips to hang it all because duct tape is not allowed.

And now for something completely different.

Take it (to college) or leave it (at home).

  • A dentist’s chair. Dunstan Pennell Sheldon ’75 brought one sophomore year. “A talking point and handy for studying in.” Makes sense.
  • Those pillows that double has a kind of half-chair. “They’re perfect if you like to work on your bed,” says Devyn Wallem ’18.
  • A mini sewing kit. “There were multiple times I needed to quickly stitch something up,” says Erin Leigh Wells ’19.
  • Baking utensils. “There were many times when I would be baking with a couple friends in the dorm kitchen and we would meet new people because they were attracted to the smell,” says Laura Mahowald Thompson ’10.
  • “A jar full of candy,” says Matthew Blackwell ’18. “It was a way to meet people fast.”
  • A mini fridge. With or without a freezer—the jury’s out.
  • A robe. For your roommate’s sake and the sake of your floormates.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


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