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Morton Hall

Last summer, as I anxiously awaited First Year Trips and the beginning of my Dartmouth adventure, I spent hours upon hours on Google, searching desperately for tips regarding what kind of things I would need in my dorm room for the upcoming year. I was working as an administrative assistant at a summer camp up in remote northern Ontario at the time, so needless to say I was pushing the limited capacity of our weak internet system in order to support my avid Googling. 

'24s, as the beginning of your Dartmouth experience nears, I thought that I would provide you with a couple of my own insights into what kind of things you will need to bring with you to survive your first term at Dartmouth. Perhaps I can save you some time on Google. So, without further ado, here is "Bryanna's extensive list of must-haves for your first year in New Hampshire."

1. A good pair of comfy and durable boots. Coming from Singapore, my go-to footwear had traditionally been Birkenstocks, which I knew would be of limited use during Fall term. I thus invested in a pair of Blundstones, which I wore pretty much every day of both Fall and Winter term -- best purchase I've ever made. Keep in mind that these are not snow boots, but rather versatile footwear that can be worn in a range of weather conditions. Other friends of mine went the route of L.L. Bean boots, which I've been told are fantastic as well. 

2. A mattress foam pad. I got mine off Amazon for a pretty cheap price and slept like a baby every night I was at Dartmouth. Dare I say, my dorm room bed was actually more comfortable than my bed at home. 

3. Printed pictures. It's fun to decorate your walls with reminders of home! My mom asked my friends to send in their favorite photos with me, printed them, and then gave them to me as a parting gift. Super special. 

4. "Flair," which is Basically Dartmouth-speak for crazy clothes—think galaxy leggings, tutus, your grandmother's vest, a lycra body suit, your halloween costume from sixth grade. You'll accumulate your fair share of flair over your time at Dartmouth, but it's a great idea to bring a few crazy items that you can spice up outfits with. 

5. A shower caddy. I got mine off of Amazon. Definitely super helpful for bringing toiletries to and from the bathroom. 

6. A good winter jacket. From North Face to to your local thrift store, you should be able to find a good parka that will keep you warm amidst the New Hampshire cold. Ski jackets will get the job well as done!

7. Plastic storage containers. Definitely get these. I kept a bunch under my bed and used them for everything from snacks to dirty clothes to plastic bags (in separate containers, of course). I got mine from Amazon, but Home Depot and the Container Store should sell them for cheap as well. 

6. Cliff bars. As an athlete, I absolutely lived off of Cliff bars during Winter term. After morning practice, before evening practice, after evening practice. It was great to be able to reach into my bag and get a quick boost of energy whenever I needed it. I'd recommend buying a box or two of Cliff bars to anyone with a busy schedule. 

7. Lots of pencils and notebooks. You can buy them in town, of course, and at Collis Market, but I'd recommend getting your hands on stationary ahead of time at some place you can buy them in bulk and for cheap. 

8. Two sets of sheets. It can be a pain taking off your sheets and washing them, so having two sets to alternate between was super helpful. I got my sheets from Urban Outfitters on sale. They had little peaches on them, and I was a huge fan. 

9. Extension cord. Sharing outlets can be difficult, so an extension cord will make it all that much easier. 

10. Fun lights. I got fairy lights in order to spice up my side of the room, others got LED lights that changed colors, others invested in full on lanterns. Regardless of the method, It's nice to have a way to change the ambiance of your dorm room as you're studying in bed or having friends over. 

11. A good planner. At Dartmouth, it can often feel like there are a million things going on at once. Getting a good paper planner or setting yourself up on iCalender is critical to success in college. During Fall and Winter, I used a paper planner that I got from Kikki K, a stationary store in Singapore, but during Spring term, I found that using iCalender was a lot easier to organize my online classes and zooms. Ultimately, the way you organize your life is based completely off of preference—find out what works for you! 

12. Throw pillows. Sometimes it's nice to shift studying from your desk to your bed, and, in that case, it's nice to have pillows to prop you up. Getting one or two extra pillows to not only decorate your bed but enable you to sit comfortably on it is a purchase certainly worth making. 

13. Plenty of towels. From face clothes to full length towels, you'll want plenty of them. I had underestimated the degree to which I appreciate a warm, dry towel after getting out of the shower. 

14. Film camera. You can purchase a pretty cheap disposable camera from your local convenience store. Once used, the CVS in town will develop your photos and have them available for pick up within a week. It's a great way to memorialize your Dartmouth experience. 

15. Socks, lots of them. I honestly cannot tell you why, but I wore more socks at Dartmouth than I did ever before. With that being said, my final "must-have" is socks — lots of them. 

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