It’s the first day of school, you’ve got chemistry 101 at 8 a.m. and your nervous jitters kept you up half the night! With no parents around to wake you up, an alarm clock becomes your lifeline. Your college experience is not going to be off to a good start if you can’t manage to wake up, so make sure you’ve got one of these bedside. For the heavy sleepers, try one with an obnoxious ringer or perhaps a flying alarm clock (ThinkGeek, $20).
Once the homework starts to pile up, caffeine becomes a college student’s best friend. For those early-morning classes or late-night study sessions, have a single-serve coffee maker handy for an easy energy boost. An added bonus is how much money and time it will save you because you won't be goign to Starbucks. B31 mini single serve brewer by Keurig (Meijer, $100)
No dorm room would be complete without a mini fridge. You’ll most likely be far from a kitchen, and spending money every time you get thirsty or need a snack is a waste. Stock up on drinks, food and even small, freezer-friendly items to last you a few weeks. The Dry Erase black compact fridge by Emerson (Target, $99) also doubles as a dry-erase board for little reminders and important notes.
Sharing a communal bathroom and shower is not always the most pleasant experience, but there are a few ways to make it less cringe-worthy. A shower caddy will help organize toiletries and keep them altogether so they're not lost. If you’re worried about people using your things, write your name on the caddy so there is no confusion about who it belongs to. Don’t forget to throw a pair of shower shoes (flip-flops) in there as well! Compartment shower caddy (dormco.com, $8)
A microwave is another dorm room must-have if you want to be self-sufficient when it comes to food. Meal plans can get pretty expensive and walking to the cafeteria every time your stomach grumbles will grow tiresome. With a microwave, you are fully capable of heating up TV dinners or leftover takeout, or making a college student classic, ramen noodles. In the long run it will be money well spent. Danby microwave (Walmart, $69)
Don’t forget a pair of noise-cancelling headphones when shopping for dorm room essentials. You never know when they’re going to come in handy! You may end up with a roommate who likes to talk on the phone with her boy toy into the late hours of the night, or dorm neighbors who conveniently throw a party every time you’re trying to study. With these headphones you can shut out the world and play your music all night long! Urban Beatz rectangular stereo headphones (Merkury Innovations, $30)
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