Freshman starter kit: What you need to get through college

Bringing back-up shoes to school can keep you from being shoeless if your shoes get ruined. -Photo courtesy of

With the start of the new semester, hundreds of freshmen are coming to dorms on Rowan’s campus to see what college life is all about. Though there are many things students should buy, there are some useful items many students may forget about. For college students, some of these items may appear to be simple, but they go a long way. This is the unofficial freshman starter kit for Rowan students.

The Rowan University Academic Planner

As a senior, there hasn’t been one year where I didn’t need this planner. It shines at helping you keep track of things because it not only has the months on a calendar where you have enough space to write things, but also has the days of all the months on a list. Personally, this planner has saved me time and time again from forgetting to do important assignments and meeting important deadlines. It’s also fairly small, so you can put it virtually anywhere. Although the planner costs $20, paying with Rowan Bucks and the fact that the planner will be constantly used makes you feel like you got your money’s worth. 

Sticky Notes Pad (With A Purpose)

This next item is something that seems silly, until you actually use it and appreciate its value. Sticky notes are very valuable in their own way, however dedicating one pad to only passwords and login to websites and applications is a great way to avoid hitting the “forgot my password” button and wasting time making a new password you’ll inevitably forget. The college experience doesn’t come short on professors who want you using certain things that require passwords, so do yourself a favor and buy some sticky notes. 

One or Two Pairs of Spare Shoes

Always have a backup pair of kicks ready. Rowan has some pathways on its campus that’ll do a number on anyone’s footwear after it rains (The small hill next to Holly Pointe Commons and the main path to Chestnut). Not to mention when it comes to parties, some of the floors can easily cut the lifespan of a shoe in half with how many people step on your feet and the dirtiness of some of the basements’ floors. With this in mind, having these “stunt doubles” on your feet will keep you from going crazy when someone steps on your feet or if you’re unlucky enough to be walking back from class and step in a mud puddle. 


By far one of the most underrated pieces of technology of all time. Vacuums are super helpful at keeping your place clean from all dirt you may track into your dorms and all the crumbs you and your roommate “swear” you didn’t leave behind. In my freshman year, I had no vacuum and by week six or seven, I just could not stand being able to walk barefoot in my own room because of all the crumbs I was stepping on. You don’t need one of the fancy Dyson Sphere vacuums, just a simple $50 one will suffice. 

Power Strip Surge Protector

Always have one of these handy because it helps you in the long run when you need to power or charge something. Most dorm rooms just have two or three outlets, which can’t handle the demand of having to charge phones and laptops, especially when friends are over or if you’re hosting a study group. This item allows you to not to choose which device to charge first or have the room dictate where certain electronics go.

The best part about these items is that they help you well beyond your freshman year. Even in my last year here at Rowan, the items on this list haven’t lost their relevance. I still need the academic planner just like I did my first semester and I always check the weather for the day to see if it’s alright for me to wear my white Adidas shoes. 

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