Education is Essential

Back to School Essentials

Living on campus is one of the best experiences possible for new college students. Convenient location to classes, the dining hall, friends that will last a lifetime, and many other perks come with it.

But with moving out for the first time and heading to school, a dorm room can be both exciting and overwhelming. Essential is here to help make your life easier by providing a simple dorm room checklist for those items you might not think of.

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  • Reading pillow: you will spend most of your time trying to do school work in bed, convincing yourself you won’t fall asleep. Reading pillows help.
  • Mattress topper: because the mattress that comes with your dorm will be no Tempurpedic.
  • Room-darkening curtains: for those rare times you get to sleep in or nap in-between classes
  • Desk lamp and/or bedside lamp: so you won’t bother your roommate with an overhead light when they’re ready for bed.
  • Fan: you and your roommate will never agree on temperature settings. For this reason, also have a snuggie/onesie/sweatshirt just in case.


  • Under bed storage trays/containers: to maximize the very, very limited space.
  • Alarm clock: your phone will let you down at times.
  • Wireless headphones: for your TV – your roommate will thank you. Bonus points if they also serve as noise canceling, or you’ll find out the hard way that the band warms up at 7 a.m. outside of your window before home games.
  • Extension cord/surge protector: two people, only one outlet each –  enough said.
  • Mini fridge: heading to the dining hall every time you eat isn’t practical. Keep snacks and drinks on-hand in your room, especially on-the-go breakfast items so you can hit ‘snooze’ more often.
  • Dry-erase board: for others to leave messages for you, to let your roommate know when you’ll be back, or to keep a to-do list and reminders.
  • Mini toolkit: with a screwdriver, hammer, wrench and other quick-fix tools. You’ll be surprised how often you reach for it.


  • Shower caddy and shower shoes: for carrying toiletries to the restrooms and, yes, shower shoes really are a must.
  • Handheld steamer: because ironing is so 1970s and there will be days when looking like a slob isn’t an option. Tip: if the steamer isn’t cutting it, use a hair straightener to iron out those stubborn creases.
  • Laundry basket: one that is comfortable to carry long distances and collapsible to tuck away.
  • Change for laundry: most of these antique-like machines still only take quarters.
  • Full length mirror: because, surprisingly, these are not standard issue. Your dorm will most likely come furnished with a twin XL bed frame and mattress, dresser and desk.

Remember these extra items and tips and you’re sure to rock the dorm life – easy. For the more complicated questions about things like credit scores, 401ks, and interest rates, come visit us at Essential Federal Credit Union.