2014, this one's for you

Brittany L. Strachota
 

 


Welcome to the Class of 2014! I remember so vividly this time last year. High school was over, work was going steadily, and HOLY COW, HOW MANY PAIRS OF SOCKS SHOULD I BRING TO OLIN?! Back-to-school sales were in full swing, though summer had barely begun, and I was worried I would miss out if I didn't jump right away. But it's hard to know what one should bring to school, especially when most people are coming from out of state.

 

You should be hearing from the Office of Student Life soon, but I wanted to offer some...anecdotal advice from your classmates. I asked fellow Oliners for their input. The following is a rough collection of these tidbits. Read with a scrutinizing eye; every person will want something different, but this should be a good starting point.


HIGHLY recommended:

For your computer

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External hard drive - Mine just broke and I'm lost without it. Seriously. (Oliners recommend Western Digital.)

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Mouse - For CADing. Basically a must-have. From one respondent, "There are few things as preventable, but more painful than Solidworks + touchpad".

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Ethernet cable - You'll probably want a longish one if you're planning to arrange your dorm furniture in any interesting way (15+ ft), but this length isn't essential.

 

For your room

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Extra lighting - West Hall lighting is often...less than ideal. At least bring a desk lamp. There are fairly strict policies on lamps (fire code...yay), so check those out before you purchase (for example, plastic lamp shades are a no-no). Also, Meryl wants you to know that she's selling a lamp. Thanks, Meryl.

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Over shower spigot caddy - I guess this depends on the amount of stuff you need in the shower, but my roommate and I found it rather useful. Coordinate with your own roommate before you both end up buying one!

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Power strip - For more power. I used two in my room - one by my desk, one by my bed (well...first semester, anyway, when my desk and bed were still separate entities).

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Mattress pad - The mattresses are less than luxurious on their own. I use a thick foam thing with a fitted, puffy topper. You will not regret this purchase.

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Hangers - The wardrobes in West Hall are quite spacious. You'll want to utilize that space.

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Alarm clock - Get something reliable. You REALLY don't want to miss class.

-       Dry erase markers - Every room has a dry erase board outside the door. Markers are used nearly daily for fun/often rather important notes, polls, roommate-to-roommate communication *ahem*, or worktime check-off charts.

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Photos/wall decorations - You'll want something to remind you of home and to make your room cozy. Keep in mind that sticky things aren't allowed. Thumbtacks (and pointy things that create holes the size of thumbtack holes) are generally okay. As one respondent so bluntly warns, "Don't be the one wall without personality". Also, thumbtacks are a good idea.

 

For washing things (because you WILL wash things)

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Laundry bag/basket - Because you WILL be washing your clothing.

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Laundry detergent/hand soap - Olin does not give you these things. You WILL be washing.

 

For your life

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"Cash." - I found that this is a really good idea. You'll be chipping in with other people for late-night pizza/Chinese food delivery, and it just makes life easier. Bank of America and Citizens Bank have ATMs in Needham (and on Babson's campus). I had to wait until I came to Olin to open an account, because the branch closest to my home is...well...not close. This is super easy to do, so don't fret.

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"Shirts. Pants. Underwear." - Always a good idea. You'll have a bookshelf, a 3-drawer dresser thing, and a wardrobe. Just bring enough to keep yourself clothed. You WILL be washing them.

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Warm clothes - Now, this one definitely depends on the individual. I wore sandals through the winter, but some of my warm-climate friends were wearing winter coats in October. Definitely bring a sweatshirt and some pants, but remember that you may also be going home around Thanksgiving. There's no need to load up right away, especially if you'll need warm clothing at home during the break.

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Dress clothes - Bring a couple outfits that you can wear for Expo, interviews, job fairs, presentations...you get the idea. This means you should bring a pair of good shoes too.

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Towels - Just a couple will do. Remember, you WILL be washing your things.

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Bedsheets - I had two sets, and my mom sent me a flannel set in the winter. If you're not lazy with your laundry, you can certainly survive with just one.

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Toiletries

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Plates/bowls/mug/utensils - For eating things in the dorms. Some people insist that yours need to be unique so that they don't get mixed up, but I haven't had any issues. Then again, my mug has cow udders for legs. I recommend just a couple of each item. Wash frequently.

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Ice scraper - If you have a car. Obstructed windshields are NOT good.

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Passport - I don't have one of these, but I hear they're useful. If you've got it, bring it.

 

 

People like having these, but they're not mission critical:

            For your computer

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Speakers to plug your laptop into - If you like to listen to music, the laptop speakers might not cut it. I was fine without, but I know some people who could not survive without decent speakers.

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Extra monitor - A lot of people like to have something more than their laptop...

 

For your room

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Mirror - Some people want something more than the over-sink mirror in the dorm rooms. If you can work around your roommate and don't need a full-length mirror, you'll be fine.

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Cleaning supplies - I think Olin supplies basic cleaning products, but I found use (read: month-old moldy bananas in "my" freezer...prankster neighbors...) for stronger things. My roommate (wow, she was really prepared, looking back) brought a Swiffer sweeper thing and we LOVED it. Swiffer Day was the best day. You'll be cleaning your room (dust, people!) and your bathroom (scrub, people!).

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Air freshener - For one of my friends, this became a necessity by second semester.

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Bath mat

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Extra trash can - Every room has a trash can and a recycling bin, but some people like to keep another small one under their desk.

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Shelving - Talk with your roommate about this one. Or just don't get anything massive. I brought tall, stackable shelves to utilize the vertical space we have.

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Stapler - I just used my roommate's. Actually, about six of us regularly used my roommate's. You'll want one.

 

For the Great Outdoors

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Rainboots/snowboots - I had never owned a pair of rainboots before I came to Olin and saw everybody wearing them. They're fun.

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Umbrella - The campus is TINY, but I've been out in Boston a few times when I was very grateful for my umbrella.

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Blanket for outdoors- When the weather is nice, work often moves out to the Great Lawn. Parcel B is also prime blanket territory. Good for stargazing.

 

            For fun

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Books - I recommend just bringing your favorite. Books are heavy.

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Digital camera - Fun things happen. You'll want to document them. Also, you'll need to take photos and record video for Design Nature.

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Multi-tool - I wish I had one! In my single year at Olin, a multi-tool has been used to bend wires of a ModCon circuit back into place, unscrew a battery compartment, remove a tick from my arm, and cut open numerous boxes.

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Small tool kit - Things break. You can fix them.

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Hobbies - If there's something you love to do, you're not going to be happy without it. Don't worry about being short on time. You'll make the time.

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Slippers

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Sleep mask - "To cover your eyes so you can sleep when your roommate wants the light on". Alternatively, tell your roommate to work somewhere else.

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Water bottle - I have a nice metal bottle from The Onion. Others swear by Nalgene. You'll probably want something, though. Something sturdy.

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Flashlight - This became VERY useful late in the year when we were playing Mafia and my would-be assassins (HA!) kept shutting off the power to my room. Also, when I dropped part of my handheld vacuum out the window (again, don't ask).

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Food - "If you buy a ton of snacks and keep them in your room, people will instantly want to be your friends with snack benefits." It's true. I've made a couple friends (who are still friends) by sharing cookies. Not exaggerating.

 

Just...don't bring these:

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Books you're not going to read - Again, they're heavy! Olin has a library, and if you can't find what you want, Wellesley's public library is great.

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Reference books - "This is what the Internet is for."

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Clothes you won't wear - Similarly, your bulkiest winter clothes, especially if you're going home for Thanksgiving.

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Personal computer/old laptop - You probably won't use a second laptop unless you want to game or something.

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Wireless router and switch - "You are not allowed to run your own wifi networks. If you want to run a subnet behind your computer and do your own routing, fine, but if you don't know what that means, don't bring any networking equipment."

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Bikes - Unless you ride A LOT. GO! maintains bikes that anybody can use any time, without any cost. They're almost always available and bike space is limited.

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 "Swords."

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Iron - Unless you're actually going to iron. Or make your neighbor do it for you. If you really need to use one, you may borrow mine. I give you all permission now.

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Craigslist/street furniture - Olin's policy: " In an effort to avoid the health and financial issues associated with a bedbug or other pest infestation, the College prohibits upholstered furniture from unaccountable places such as craigslist, town dumps and second-hand shops. New furniture and furniture of confirmed quality (e.g., from family or close friends) is acceptable." - 2009-10 Student Handbook

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Pets - Just see http://www.olin.edu/student_life/pdfs/StudHdbk_09-10_8-7REV.pdf

 

Again, this is just a basic list of Oliners' suggestions to get you started. Nothing is law. Most people recommend doing most of your shopping once you arrive, or ordering online and shipping large things to Olin. Some stores will allow you to purchase items where you live now and pick them up at a store close to Olin. There will be some time when you move in (not a ton, though) to go to the store. The Natick mall is HUGE, and Target does exist in Massachusetts. Everybody does things differently, though. I drove to school, so we got everything ahead of time and took it with us. It's really a matter of personal preference.

 

Talk to your roommate before you buy big things! It's not a bad idea to get settled for a week or two, then go out to get anything you think you might want. Less is more when it comes to moving.

 

If you have any questions, post a comment or email! We're all more than happy to talk with you. See you in the fall, and for now, have some fun!

Posted in: Class of 2013