Why is this person using an ancient, miniscule suitcase, that's the real question

Why is this person using an ancient, miniscule suitcase, that’s the real question

If you, dear first years, unlike Bwog, have actually decided to properly pack your things and not stuff whatever’s in sight into as many suitcases as you can dig up from the basement, then here are a few tips from Momma Bwog:


  • If possible, bring snacks and things that won’t spoil with you—expect everything in the city to cost at least a dollar or two (or ten) more than it does back home, and that adds up quickly.
  • Despite what the internet says, you will definitely get sick of the dining halls.


  • Only necessary if you want to do color printing, which is $1.00/sheet from the handful of color printers on campus. Also helpful if you go over your (generous 100 pages/week + 100 floating pages/semester) print quota.
  • Otherwise, it’ll probably just sit on your desk and gather dust, because while you’ll enjoy the luxury of printing from your room for the first few days, once you run out of ink or paper, it’s unlikely that you’ll actually go out and buy more.
  • Just download this program from ADI and you’ll be able to print to any campus printer from your laptop.


  • Rain boots, unless you want foot fungus.
  • Shower shoes, because you really don’t want foot fungus
  • You will probably be walking a lot. Plan accordingly.


  • If your dorm doesn’t have A/C, you need a fan.
  • This means any first year not living in Carman, Furnald or Sulz.


  • The incessant drone of the standard florescent light in your room with turn either your or your roommate into a flesh-eating zombie.
  • Whether it’s Christmas lights or a stand lamp, bring some form of illumination other than your laptop, phone, or tablet screen.


  • Not totally necessary because of the meal plan, but good to have around anyway. Important if you like your drinks cold and your leftovers not covered in mold.
  • Don’t bring it from home! Pick on up at the Green Sale (see below).

School things

  • Standard stuff (pens, paper, pencils, etc), and don’t go too overboard. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever use that fancy leather-bound binder from the upscale office supply store downtown.
  • Don’t buy it from the bookstore (this is general rule of thumb). There’s a Target in Harlem and another one in the Bronx right of the 225th St. stop on the 1 or cheaper alternatives in the city. At least one Bwog staffer swears by the one of several Muji stores all over Manhattan.
  • Do buy a stapler, though. You’ll be the hero of your U Writing class.


  • Good to drown out the noise of your floormates having sex.

Laundry detergent

  • Pods or liquid, doesn’t really matter. Learn how to do laundry before getting to campus, and get some sort of hamper to avoid being the asshole who never picks up his clothes from the machine.

Cleaning supplies

  • Febreze is arguably the most important and paper towels always come in handy. Your RA should have a vacuum to use, so you won’t need to buy one of your own unless you want to clearly see the mystery stains on your Hartley carpet.

Spare linens

  • Your friend will probably puke in your bed and/or bathroom. Be prepared.

Now, don’t go rushing out to buy all of these things. Many of the above and more can be acquired on campus at the Green Sale run by Columbia’s EcoReps, refrigerators in particular! We’ll post more about the Green Sale in the coming weeks.

Also, if you’re flying here, don’t spend 60 dollars to bring an extra bag full of 12 dollars worth of laundry detergent. Common sense, people.

Have more suggestions for our incoming freshpeople? Unsure whether to bring your grandfather’s unique raccoon headdress? Well, you know what to do.

Poor packer via Shutterstock