Whether it’s your first year or your last year, if you’re living at home or moving out, the transition from summer mode to university or college prep can be tough for any student (and their parents!). The way over-thought question of what you need for the school year has never had a perfect pre-prescribed answer, but hopefully some of the wisdom I’ve gathered in the last two years can help with your oh-so-stressful what-to-pack-for-university list.
I also know that you parents of university students out there are always wondering what to send to your kids as gifts or “we’re thinking about you” care packages. These things obviously run out — so around November is a good time to place an order and have it sent directly to your very poor, very needy, very homesick student.
University and college can be very stressful, especially in the first few months when you’re adjusting to campus life. If you’re not in class, you’re probably in the library or out with friends. Being so busy all the time can leave little time for healthy meal prep (cue the freshman 15). I’ve found there are two major rules for avoiding the evil of constantly relying on fast food:
It can be very tempting to go to the on-campus store and pig out on chocolate and chips that seem to go so perfectly with studying or Netflix (I would be lying if I haven’t fallen into that trap before). The best way to avoid this is to stock up on healthy snacks that you can pack for when you are on campus. I have grown to love seaweed or kale snacks and healthy trail mixes that keep me full and stop those evil junky cravings.
Keep a few quick-meals as backups:
It can be difficult to cook every day and, if you’re on a meal plan, dining hall food can get a little tiring too. It’s always good to have a few quick meals as back up, and try to go for the healthy alternatives instead of the family size pack of KD. Some of my favourites are Annie’s Homegrown Organic Mac & Cheese Cup and Amy’s Organic Chili and Soups; quick, easy, microwavable meals that are healthy too!
Whether you are living in a dorm, a house of 5, or just caught bad luck and got stuck sitting next to the guy with a perpetual cold, it’s always good to have a few products to get you through flu season without too many sniffles.
Having a multi-vitamin that you take daily, or other health supplements, is something that’s great to make a part of your daily routine. The best item I’ve found to keep me healthy in peak flu time is Ener-C. Not only does it contain vitamins B & C (which help with prevention), but it also boosts energy and provides extra hydration for the occasional (or not so occasional) hangover or late coffee-filled study night.
Aside from the risk of cold and flu season, it’s also a great idea to take fish oil, which helps with memory support, and who doesn’t want something that can help make exam season a little easier?
When it comes to cleaning, I’ve found that the quicker the product makes the cleaning process, the more likely I am to use it. All-purpose cleaners are usually the way to go and I love all of the Method products, which are eco-friendly and work amazing. Method also offers a great shower cleaner to use right after showering which helps keep it clean (which is always great when you are sharing a bathroom with roommates!).
Home Away From Home
It’s always great when your parents send up a baked good you love or a gift card to your favourite store (yup, we have some Well.ca ones for all your school needs) to help ease the empty bank account pain most university students feel.
A few extra tips if you’re in residence:
- You will need kitchen supplies (a frying pan, cutlery, a pot, lunch containers and dishes–don’t forget the refillable water bottle and coffee cup).
- Laundry detergent is usually more expensive on-campus so make sure you buy some (order it from us and you won’t have to lug it home!)
- A good laundry bin is a necessity (and great for packing lots of stuff in) and a smaller tote for carrying your essentials to the shower (and shower essentials, of course!
- Having a little something that money can’t buy is a big thing to put on your packing list. Whether it’s a family picture, favourite recipe your mom makes or childhood memento, those items can be a huge help for those homesick moments (because as much as we hate to admit it, we do miss home sometimes).
What can you not live without this September? What will you be sure your child takes with them?
Cristina is in her third year of the BBA Program at Wilfred Laurier University and was a Marketing Intern at Well.ca from April to September 2014.