Baby Gator Guide: Commonly Forgotten College Essentials for Freshmen
If you’re new to The Gator Nation, you’ve probably been researching everything you can find online about what to expect and what things you need to have for your dorm room and your first day of classes.
But, once you’ve bought bedding, your mattress pad (a must) and packed up all of your clothes and UF paraphernalia, there are a few extra items that you may not have thought to bring.
Here is our curated list of 10 things baby Gators should consider bringing to school in the fall:
1. Raincoat/umbrella: The first, and arguably most important of our UF college essentials, is a rain jacket or a sturdy umbrella. Gainesville didn’t earn the nickname “Rainesville” without reason. The city is prone to having torrential downpours out of the blue and leaving you in the midst of it. Check the weather app on your phone every day (but trust no one) and bring your raincoat as needed.
2. Detachable shelf for bunk beds: Bunk beds seem really fun at first, but they lose their luster when you realize you need to climb down a ladder every time you realize you left something on your desk. You can find detachable shelves that can latch onto the side of your bunk bed and give you a makeshift bedside table.
3. A long phone charger: This is also especially helpful for those with bunk beds, but can apply to anyone. Invest in a six to nine foot long charger cable so that you can reach an outlet from floor-level to your bunk bed, or so that you can reach your phone while charging it from any outlet in the room.
4. Extra blankets: It may be 100 degrees outside, but it’s freezing inside. In some of the older dorm buildings at UF, you are unable to change the temperature in your room and are forced to deal with what feels like tundra-level conditions compared to the sweltering heat outside. Charming, right?
5. Your own lanyard: Yes, they give you a lanyard at preview. Yes, it’s from UF and you want to wear it to feel like you fit in with the rest of The Gator Nation. But, it also is a dead giveaway that you’re a newbie on campus (even if you are a junior by credits). If you really want to blend in, don’t use the lanyard. Same goes for that UF ’21 T-shirt.
6. Water bottle: As mentioned before, Gainesville can reach unbearable temperatures during the summer/fall semesters and you need to stay hydrated. Bringing a nice, durable water bottle with you to class and the library will save you money on buying drinks elsewhere during the week and will serve as your lifeline after a night out. Brands like Nalgene, Hydro Flask and S’well are good options and are popular on campus.
7. Phone case with pockets: There are a ton of phone cases that have pockets now and it’s for a good reason. They are helpful whether you are going out and don’t want to take a lot with you, or if you want to make sure you have your Gator ID on you at all times. They are also a great way to cut down what you take to football games now that the bag guidelines have gotten stricter.
8. Wrinkle release spray: Any time I show the Downy Wrinkle Releaser spray to someone new, they are mind blown at how well it works. You spray your wrinkly clothes with this product, shake out the fabric, wait for it to dry and voila! Your clothes look as good as if you had pressed them with an iron without the hassle. Definitely a must-have now that Mom won’t be ironing your clothes.
9. Scent diffusers: Dorms don’t allow you to light candles in your room, but sometimes you want a nice fresh scent or something to get in the holiday spirit during fall and winter. As long as your roommate is fine with it (welcome to the world of cohabitation), there are tons of scent diffusers that are dorm-approved like the ones from Bath & Body Works, or even just nice smelling air fresheners can do the trick.
10. First aid kit: It’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit on hand, especially when you’re used to asking Mom and Dad for everything and they somehow magically always have what you need. Walmart sells a first aid kit that has over 250 pieces and the kit itself glows in the dark so you can always find it quickly easily, regardless of what state you may find yourself in. Now, all of your friends will turn to you when they need something instead.
Hopefully, this list was helpful in deciding what and what not to bring with you for your first year in the Swamp. As always, go Gators and good luck!