Back in the day, I arrived on campus with two large suitcases, a camp trunk of linens and a carry on bag for my flight to Albuquerque, New Mexico with my tennis racquet in hand. While my dorm room was spacious, we never thought about a fridge or microwave (aging myself, there was no such thing as a microwave). Lucky was the person who had a TV. We indeed packed light. My mother was the consummate mix and match outfit creator and so it was that I mixed and matched outfits in order to make dozens. Closet space at school was truly a minimum, we couldn’t stack our beds, there were no options to do any space saving arrangements.
Given that students will be arriving on campuses for perhaps an abbreviated semester, maybe, just maybe they should consider packing light. We know there were issues of students having to leave behind belongings due to not returning after Spring break, or having to quickly evacuate campus and not being able to pack up properly.
We know students going to university are in for a very different experience, much different than ever before. First, many campuses are not going to have a complete student body attending. Some campuses, like Kenyon College determined that for the 2020/21 school year every student will step foot on campus, but not at the same time:
First years, sophomores and new transfer students will be on campus for the fall semester. Like every university in the US, Kenyon is hoping to have the entire student body second semester, but it is all COVID dependent. International students will have spots reserved. School will resemble a hybrid model.
See Kenyon’s web page for complete information. Also, check your own university’s website for updates as well.
Other universities will have an early start date, finish before Thanksgiving and complete their studies online.
With this in mind, students might think twice before arriving on campus with the kitchen sink. I know that various stores (Target, Bed, Bath and Beyond to mention a few) around the country have massive and endless packing lists for students, parents arrive with cars packed to the brim. Perhaps, this year, it may be a good idea to pare down and just bring those essentials, as if you are going to camp for 12 weeks.
Chances are, there won’t be a lot of partying going on, but a lot of social distancing happening. There may be a lot more walks outside, as being outside has been our safest bet so bring good walking shoes. Classes might be held outside, so outdoor clothing may need to be the norm.
What you will need for sure (perhaps in place of party clothes): masks, cleaning supplies- an excellent first aid kit-discuss with your doctor what you should include given the COVID virus (with a thermometer), check this link on Grown and Flown. Again, I urge you to check with your doctor for a complete list of appropriate items to bring.
As you think about packing for school, know that you may have to pack up your entire dorm room and campus life in a heartbeat, think about what you might have to bring back home, what you may have to ship back (expensive indeed), and what you might not want to think about as you leave campus for remote learning. And, hopefully, students will not have to quickly evacuate once again.
The New York Times has an excellent article about traveling to campuses as orientations and start dates to move into the dorms may change. Remember also, as you plan your trip, some states are calling for quarantine time. One would hope that the university would keep you up to date with requirements, but with so much changing at the last minute, it will pay to be vigilant, watch what is happening at your school and stay in touch with the point person at the university.
Last of all, we know, you know that this is not what you thought university would look like. Most importantly, be safe, be careful, wear your mask, wash your hands, distance socially and be healthy.