Category Archives: young adult

Advice for College Freshmen Part III: 15 Things You Need to Bring

packing graphic

You have list after list of the many things you need to purchase before you head off to university in August. But there are several things no one ever thinks to tell you to add to your boxes. Here’s a list of 15 things you won’t think to bring, but need to:

  1. Umbrella: I never thought about purchasing an umbrella. It wasn’t until one of the families I babysat for in high school gave me one as a graduation gift that it even crossed my mind. Walking across campus in the rain is a pain, but unavoidable. Make sure you’re prepared with an umbrella and rain jacket.
  2. Toilet Paper: some dorms provide toilet paper, some don’t. At my school the big dorms have staff who clean your bathroom and provide toilet paper, but the smaller ones do not. Go to your school’s housing website and find out which is the case for you.
  3. Cleaning supplies: Once again, rules differ by school and dorm, make sure you check so you don’t get stuck in a gross situation.
  4. Fans: Most schools by now should have air conditioning units in all dorms, but unfortunately I don’t think that is the case. If you’re going to a school with hot summers and springs and no air conditioning, it is worth investing in a fan to have in your room so you don’t die of heat stroke.
  5. Shower shoes: especially if you are in a hall style bathroom. You don’t want all that gross-ness on your feet. Suite style bathrooms are a little less gross because there are fewer people using it, but it is still a good idea. I recommend those cheap flip flops that places like Old Navy sell for $3 during the summer.
  6. Command strips: I swear by command strips. These things are incredible. Buy hooks to put in your closet and hang bags and scarves. Buy Velcro strips to hang picture frames on your walls. Command strips make it easy to make your temporary room feel like home. That being said, be careful. Some styles of strips are harder to get off and if you apply to walls (as opposed to brick or concrete), they may tear the paint off and leave a bunch of little missing-paint circles that you try to tape back on and then have to have your Dad spackle over during finals week so you don’t get paid hundreds of dollars to fix it…not saying that happened or anything….but here’s a picture of what it may have looked like if it did….photo
  7. School supplies: obviously you’ll need notebooks and pens, but you’ll also need things like staples, paper clips, rubber bands (we used hair ties as rubber bands for the entirety of freshman year…..), markers, tape etc. You probably didn’t think about these things because they are always at your disposal at home, once you get to school you’re on your own
  8. Surge protectors: First of all, its just a good thing to have to protect your stuff. Secondly, there are only so many outlets in that little room and this will help you plug in all of your gadgets.
  9. Brita Pitcher: CLEAN WATER, YAY! This probably sounds ridiculous, but if you don’t have some way to filter your water you’ll be drinking most of it from your bathroom faucet and if you’re a germaphobe like me, this just lessens the anxiety.
  10. First aid stuff: similarly to the school supplies, this is stuff you take for granted because it was always laying around at home. Don’t forget to pack things like Band-Aids, Neosporin and ibuprofen.
  11. Ethernet cord: Does your dorm have wifi? Does your dorm have good wifi? If you’re not sure, buy an ethernet cord to keep in your room. Keep it hooked into the wall outlet and plug it into your laptop if your connection goes out or becomes slow. It’ll save you from wanting to throw your laptop at a wall at 11:52pm when you have a paper due at midnight and the internet connection has gone MIA. Check and see if your school provides cords, too. I got on when I picked my laptop up.
  12. Extra laundry baskets: extra laundry baskets are great because you can use them for pretty much anything. I had two in my closet, one for dirty clothes and one for shoes, and then we used another to collect our recycling. These are easy fixes to a lot of problems, and they’re pretty cheap (I think target puts their dorm ones on sale in August for about $2).
  13. Lint Roller: for some reason you never need a lint roller until you don’t have one.
  14. Ziploc bags: so so so useful. You never know when you’re going to need a Ziploc bag.
  15. Stain remover: food. Makeup. Tooth paste. Ink. Alcohol. You’re going to spill things on every article of clothing that you own. DO NOT WASH YOUR CLOTHES WITH STAINS ON THEM; you’ll dry the stains into the fabric. Apply stain remover before washing any clothes that you have dripped on.

Have your own advice for incoming freshmen? Comment below and let me know!


until next time



Book Review: Under the Never Sky Series

My favorite thing about summer is that I actually have time to read books. From August until May school takes up 120 percent of my time, but in the three months in between, all those books that have been stacking up on my shelf and lists are fair game. I started this summer by reading another book by my favorite author (not branching out) and re-reading one of my favorite series (Divergent, again…not branching out). Then I came upon a list of books recommended for people who enjoy books such as the Hunger Games and Divergent so I decided to try it out.  Here is my review of the Under the Never Sky series:

Title: Under the Never Sky

          Through the Ever Night

          Into the Still Blue

Author: Veronica Rossi

Genre: young adult, sci-fi, romance, fantasy, dystopia

 under never sky graphic

Summary: Under the Never Sky tells the story of 17-year-old Aria after she has been exiled from Reverie, here secluded and partly virtual home. This punishment is almost certain death, outside of her enclosed city is a wasteland inhabited by brutal, barbaric tribes and terrible storms. She is on her deathbed when she meets Perry, her only chance for survival. Despite his hesitation, they both realize they need each other to get what they want and survive. Aria and Perry must learn how to work together to survive.

Review: This book started out really slow for me. I really love this style of book, but for some reason I had a hard time getting into this story at first. Dystopian style novels tend to start out kind of slow because the author spends so much time explaining the setting and context for the story. However, once I got passed the first 50 or so pages, the story picked up greatly.

I fell in love with the characters. They are rough, yet charming; unreal, yet engaging and believable. You have your traditional: we hate each other, but we need each other to survive story line—-which can set kind of old and predictable, but the characters were so well written that I really didn’t mind. Aria- the confused, scared yet strong female lead. Perry- the gentle and passionate giant. Roar (possibly my favorite of all)- the deeply sensitive and spunky sidekick best friend. They are all interesting, well-developed and well rounded. That being said, I almost think that the first novel was my least favorite character wise. They introduce a lot of little characters, but it isn’t until you get into the second and third novels that you really fall in love with them. I think this goes back to the author having to spend so much time creating and explaining the environment that the books take place in.

Once I finished the first book, I immediately headed to the library to find the other two. Then finished them both within a week. The character’s blossom, the story lines are engaging and continue to be action packed and the love-story (spoiler, but not really because predictable) becomes complicated and deep.

This series was a surprise for me. I went into hoping it would be interesting enough for me to finish, and that I wouldn’t feel like I had wasted my time. Boy, did I win out on that bet!

I recommend this book to anyone who likes the young adult, dystopian-style, romance-yet action packed novels. Very, very similar style to The Hunger Games and Divergent series’, if those are up your alley. It may be a little hard to start, but give it time and you will likely fall in love!

4.5/5 stars.