So, I've obtained $200 for college

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Kurushimi
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So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby Kurushimi » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:02 am UTC

What should I spend it on? What items do you think a new college student needs most? Even if it's not essential, what things do you just find particularly awesome that you'd buy?

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scarecrovv
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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby scarecrovv » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:16 am UTC

Twine is useful for everything. Get a roll of it. Vice grips are useful for everything too, get a pair of those. Duct tape too of course, but that goes without saying.

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Solt
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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby Solt » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:22 am UTC

scarecrovv wrote:Twine is useful for everything. Get a roll of it. Vice grips are useful for everything too, get a pair of those. Duct tape too of course, but that goes without saying.


What the hell did you do in college?

Save it. Buy posters and art for your walls when you get there.
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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby KestrelLowing » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:39 am UTC

Wait. Wait until your actually there, have seen the state of your room/furnishings/outlet conditions and then spend. Of course, if you don't have things like bedding, you should probably be looking out for sales and buy that before (provided you know what your bed will be).

But, if you happen to run across a sale - 3M command strips and accessories (mainly hooks). By far the most used thing for me.

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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby Bakemaster » Thu Jun 09, 2011 5:47 pm UTC

A set of differently-colored single-subject 3-ring binders. College-ruled filler paper. Tabbed section dividers.

Organizational skills are probably the single biggest thing I lacked when I first went to college, and it turns out they're invaluable. It's about a million times easier to keep all your stuff organized when you start with a decent system than it is to organize without any system or to create any sort of usable system after you have a ton of crap that needs to go in it.
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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby KestrelLowing » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:11 pm UTC

Bakemaster wrote:A set of differently-colored single-subject 3-ring binders. College-ruled filler paper. Tabbed section dividers.

Organizational skills are probably the single biggest thing I lacked when I first went to college, and it turns out they're invaluable. It's about a million times easier to keep all your stuff organized when you start with a decent system than it is to organize without any system or to create any sort of usable system after you have a ton of crap that needs to go in it.


I concur! Do you already have an organizational scheme you use for your classes in high school? If so, probably just stick with that. I know I always waited for one week to see what kind of notes I'd be taking in class. If the teacher provided hand outs, I'd always go with a 3 ring binder. If the teacher didn't provide handouts and we were just taking traditional notes, I go with a spiral notebook/folder combo. But don't wait any longer than a week! And do buy multicolored if at all possible. Taking your thermo notes to your dynamics class isn't very helpful.

Oh, and one more thing, if you're living in the dorms - large fan of some kind. Once again you may want to wait until you know your room/roommate situation, but fans are very necessary in dorms. I've used mine in the middle of winter in the upper peninsula of Michigan (might as well be Canada)

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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby Bakemaster » Thu Jun 09, 2011 6:44 pm UTC

Buy an aluminum water bottle, and never buy bottled again.
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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby Nat » Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:27 pm UTC

This.
No wait, that's what I'd buy. But you could extrapolate accordingly.

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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby KestrelLowing » Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:42 pm UTC

Nat wrote:This.
No wait, that's what I'd buy. But you could extrapolate accordingly.


Yeah, $200 will get you something like a book and a quarter? Almost 2 if you're lucky and they haven't decided to upgrade to the newer editions.

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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby B.Good » Thu Jun 09, 2011 8:55 pm UTC

Duct tape. Even though some may find praise of duct tape to be overhyped (I admit, it kind of is), it is extraordinarily useful.

Toilet paper may be an option worth looking into. This isn't vital and if you don't mind hurting by using low quality toilet paper (at my university, you could see through it) then don't consider it.

Assuming you have a roommate, a large trashcan could be very useful. Never underestimate the mess that two (or more) teenaged/college males.

A desk lamp for those days when you have a lot of work to do at night and your roommate is asleep.

Save a few dollars from that money and use the change machine when you're finally at the university, you never know when you need to do laundry.

A water filter might be nice as well if you need water and the faucets emits water that looks more like a suspension solution. I used mind a lot.

This is, of course, assuming that this is only for dorm/apartment supplies.

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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby Adacore » Fri Jun 10, 2011 5:49 am UTC

I found it's very rarely worth buying books unless you're specifically told by your professors that you should buy it (and even then, it can still be left almost untouched and not worth the money).

I'm going with the others who have said 'save it'. I think it'll give you far more value if you wait and see what you're actually missing once you're there. In situations where you think 'I wish I had a $smallitem' you can just go and get one, if you've got some cash set aside for that purpose.

Although I do agree that the ringbinders & dividers thing is almost always useful, at least for a STEM course. For a humanities course you might be able to get away with using a laptop for all your notes (equations and graphs screw that up in STEM subjects). Off-topic, but I used four different coloured ballpoints for making notes (red/green/blue/black) because it make it much clearer, especially for complex diagrams. Again, though, it's probably a case of waiting to see what's provided by the college - I've had some courses where they provide all the notes pre-printed in a big lever-arch binder, so there was no need to buy my own.

I personally consider a bedside light a necessity, and a pack of cards is always handy. You're American, I assume, so I can't recommend a bottle of decent spirits. A fan could be useful, depending on the location - I never really needed one in London.

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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby 314man » Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:15 am UTC

Buy books second-hand whenever you can. You'll save lots of money that way. Also if you don't already have one, get a white board. I found it to be the most useful thing to have, especially when living with other people.
If you're going to live on campus residence, some stuff you should get:

- cards
- posters (wait till you move in, also a lot of universities hold poster sales a few weeks in)
- a mini-fridge

Also you may want to save a lot of that money. Campus food is expensive, and you also may go out for food/drinks with your friends, or even order out. Also most universities (that i know of at least) has orientation week. At my university, the bracelet to participate in the event was $80. However you definitely want to get it because it's the fastest and easiest way to meet people.

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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby Jahoclave » Fri Jun 10, 2011 3:51 pm UTC

My rent. Well, it's what I'd do with your two hundred.

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Kurushimi
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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby Kurushimi » Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:31 pm UTC

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions guys. Also, I forgot to mention that I have full ride scholarship so things like books, and room and board will all already be taken care of. Leaving me quite a bit more freedom. : )

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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby Bakemaster » Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:47 pm UTC

I'd make absolutely, explicitly certain books are covered if I were you. I had a "full ride" as well that only covered things charged directly to the school (tuition and fees); I had to buy my own books.
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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby broken_escalator » Fri Jun 10, 2011 7:56 pm UTC

That is true, I've known a few students who thought they were covered in terms of books but got skunked out of them.

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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby Hofstadter'sLaw » Sat Jun 11, 2011 6:05 am UTC

I got a book holder/stand for college that I thought was pretty handy. This is the one I have: http://www.staples.com/Staples-BookLift ... class_box1

I think readings textbooks for long hours while taking notes is easier when the textbooks are held up at an angle. Reduces eye strain a bit and keeps you from having to crane your neck. The only bad thing about the one I have is that the two little parts ("page markers") that are supposed to hold books open got worn out and don't work now. That's only a problem with smaller books, usually paperbacks, though since most large books will lay open themselves. I ended up using binder clips as my page markers.

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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby maxh » Sat Jun 11, 2011 12:13 pm UTC

Since you have no use for it, you should obviously give it to me.

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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby pizzazz » Sun Jun 12, 2011 10:16 pm UTC

I second duct tape and twine. Also, a small selection of basic tools--1 screwdriver of each type and a hammer can fix or patch together a lot of things (and maybe a jewler's screwdriver and pliers or a wrench as well). I found my pocketknife/multitool very useful as well, particularly the blade, scissors, screwdrivers, and the bottle and can openers, though these can get expensive quickly, and may be redundant if you have full sized tools. I would still recommend a decent cutting tool--you can get just a knife or something similar for under 20 bucks.

Also, a water bottle is probably a must have--you can get a simple nalgene for about 8 bucks at any sporting goods store, and it will last forever (don't waste your money on the "BPA free" stuff). Bottled water is absurdly expensive, especially since most dorms include utilities. You can also use it to sneak other things out of the dining hall (if your school has one, and if they don't make you pay for refills--though if you have to do that, being able to carry around water may be even more useful).

Does your scholarship cover pens/pencils/paper/notebooks? Might want to set some money aside for those.

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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby Kaleid » Mon Jun 13, 2011 1:38 am UTC

Duct tape, super glue, a water filter, a reusable water bottle, a whiteboard (if you'll be doing a lot of maths), and multi-coloured pens for optimal notetaking.

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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby Save Point » Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:43 am UTC

AIR CONDITIONER.

Fake ID.*

That is all.

*This is fake advice.

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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby charolastra » Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:11 pm UTC

I second both the idea of setting up an organizational system before you start and wait until you get there for all other things. For instance - I bought a lamp for late night studying when everyone told me to get one. Found out pretty quickly that I was a library and common room late-night studier. I don't think I ever plugged the thing in for 4 years. It wasn't that much money wasted, but I could have spent that money on something else.

I can think of two exceptions: you can never have enough hooks and a functional laundry bag is essential. My freshman year dorm room had one hook for each of us. I kept my winter coat on it because it would pull the stick on ones off the wall. For everything else (towels, facecloths, bathrobe, other coats, purses) I had a few hooks. I might even wait on buying those too because you might be able to get an over-door hook (depending on how many doors you have). Another thing that is almost universally useful is a hamper that doubles as a bookbag. The mesh ones are great but if you have to haul it down 3 flights of stairs to the laundry room, your arms are not going to be pleased with you. I got a HUGE laundry bag/hamper with book bag straps sophomore year and that saved me a lot of grief when I had long walks to the laundry room.

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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby KestrelLowing » Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:18 pm UTC

charolastra wrote:I second both the idea of setting up an organizational system before you start and wait until you get there for all other things. For instance - I bought a lamp for late night studying when everyone told me to get one. Found out pretty quickly that I was a library and common room late-night studier. I don't think I ever plugged the thing in for 4 years. It wasn't that much money wasted, but I could have spent that money on something else.

I can think of two exceptions: you can never have enough hooks and a functional laundry bag is essential. My freshman year dorm room had one hook for each of us. I kept my winter coat on it because it would pull the stick on ones off the wall. For everything else (towels, facecloths, bathrobe, other coats, purses) I had a few hooks. I might even wait on buying those too because you might be able to get an over-door hook (depending on how many doors you have). Another thing that is almost universally useful is a hamper that doubles as a bookbag. The mesh ones are great but if you have to haul it down 3 flights of stairs to the laundry room, your arms are not going to be pleased with you. I got a HUGE laundry bag/hamper with book bag straps sophomore year and that saved me a lot of grief when I had long walks to the laundry room.


I so second the laundry bag with backpack straps. The one I have is very much like a huge duffle, but it has the standard backpack straps on them. I had to walk up and down 3 flights of stairs my freshman year, so it was a huge help and everyone was always envious of it. If you can find one with backpack straps, it's better than just the one strap you sling over a shoulder. Also, mine works very well for packing my clothing as I've only got one suitcase.

While now that I'm in a house and not a dorm I prefer a more traditional hamper, I'm still very, very glad I got that laundry bag.

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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby raike » Mon Jun 13, 2011 7:52 pm UTC

Hmm. Last year I found that I needed more wall hooks, a better laundry bag / carrying device (mine tore halfway through the year :| ), and a better water bottle. If you're a night owl, and you think that your roommate might not be, a desk lamp is pretty useful.
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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby KestrelLowing » Mon Jun 13, 2011 8:27 pm UTC

raike wrote:Hmm. Last year I found that I needed more wall hooks, a better laundry bag / carrying device (mine tore halfway through the year :| ), and a better water bottle. If you're a night owl, and you think that your roommate might not be, a desk lamp is pretty useful.


Sorry to chime in again, but this is a really good thing to mention: the desk lamp is also very, very helpful when you get up earlier than your roommate or when you go to bed later. Another lamp that's very helpful if you're in lofts is a clip lamp that you can turn on before you turn off the overhead light and then you don't have to die climbing into the loft.

Finally, something else you may want to think about is some sort of dim light that you can leave on if your roommate is going to be coming back later than when you go to bed, or vice versa. This saves a lot of stubbed toes and helps prevent waking up your roommate if you're coming in later. I've seen a string of Christmas lights, dim paper lanterns, and I imagine a good old fashioned night light would work pretty well too.

As for water bottles, I highly reccomend one because the sink is so far away. Just make sure you can clean them as even if you just fill them with water, they'll get a little mold occasionally. For me, this meant getting a nalgene with a wide mouth. However, if you prefer something with a smaller mouth, you can get a bottle brush. (Look for them with the baby stuff if you can't find them in the cleaning section)

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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby Kaleid » Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:40 pm UTC

I would hold off on the lighting items until after you get to your room itself and see what lighting implements are already inside it. I have had residents who brought tall room lamps and desk lamps during move in because they didn't know that each side of the room already had a personal light next to the bed as well as a main room light on the ceiling. They were rendered useless and donated to GoodWill.

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Re: So, I've obtained $200 for college

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Wed Jun 15, 2011 2:49 am UTC

Bakemaster wrote:A set of differently-colored single-subject 3-ring binders. College-ruled filler paper. Tabbed section dividers.

Organizational skills are probably the single biggest thing I lacked when I first went to college, and it turns out they're invaluable. It's about a million times easier to keep all your stuff organized when you start with a decent system than it is to organize without any system or to create any sort of usable system after you have a ton of crap that needs to go in it.

BAH! I use staff paper when I'm not on wide-ruled. Seriously, I could fit two lines into a line of college-ruled; however, my extenders are HUGE in comparison to my x-height. (TWSS)
maxh wrote:

Same here, please
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