What to Pack for University

Eight years ago my son headed off to university.

As a mom I had very mixed feelings. Part of me was so proud of him as he began his new and exciting journey, and then my mommy instinct kicked in.


I think it’s fairly natural; the stifled scream followed by a prayer.

It wasn’t like I was throwing him out to the wolves. He did have many life skills under his belt.

He knew:

  • how to use a remote
  • the difference between a stove and a fridge
  • how to download iTunes
  • washing your towels with your t-shirts together is a very bad idea
  • soap is your friend
  • how to order a pizza.

Hopefully one of these trinkets of knowledge would prove handy in his new life adventures.

Some parents cope with stress by eating, drinking, or calling their friends. Type A Personality Me? Well, I got busy making lists.

I’m sure most of you out there that have chicks leaving the nest already amassed a huge list, but check out mine, you may have missed something.

Here’s my Type A list:

  • Sheets – 2 sets in a dark colour. I bought a bamboo/cotton blend. Apparently they don’t smell as bad if they aren’t washed for a couple of weeks…..
  • Memory Foam pad for over top of the mattress – university beds are notoriously hard
  • Bed Bug mattress covers – yes, unfortunately these are needed (some universities provide them so check this out before you shell out the money)
  • Quilt and blankets
  • Pillow – 2
  • Towels – 2
  • Storage boxes – milk crates or Rubbermaid containers are great
  • Fan
  • Flip flops for the shower
  • Something to carry shampoo, etc into the bathroom
  • Laundry supplies and a collapsible hamper that has handles – makes it easier to tote laundry around in
  • Rolls of quarters and loonies for laundry
  • Clothes, including winter, rain gear, and work out
  • Hangers
  • School supplies
  • Computer or lap top
  • Printer
  • Extra ink cartridge
  • Paper for printing
  • Network cable
  • Power bar with surge protection
  • Extension cord
  • Lock for lap top
  • Check with your Home Insurance plan to see if all of this is covered
  • Cell phone
  • Any on-going prescriptions and refills
  • Mini First Aid Kit
  • Vitamins – if they take them
  • All shots up to date
  • Stereo or music system
  • Alarm clock
  • Desk lamp
  • Posters
  • Gigantic calendar to post in room
  • Daytimer for their backpack
  • Either duct tape or putty for hanging stuff on the walls
  • Thumbtacks if there is a bulletin board in their room
  • Cleaning supplies and toilet paper
  • Microwave/toaster/other small kitchen appliances
  • Frying pan with a lid – for eggs, grilled cheese sandwiches
  • Large pot for pasta
  • Strainer
  • Small pot
  • Microwave safe dishes – plate, bowl, cup
  • Drinking glass
  • Utensils – eating and cooking
  • Corningware or microwave friendly containers with lids for reheating or cooking in the microwave
  • Small fridge for their room – either rent or buy (don’t kid yourself – its mostly for beer)
  • Kettle/coffee maker – if they drink hot drinks
  • Flashlight
  • Can opener
  • Lots of clean underwear and socks
  • A small gift card to Shoppers Drug Mart in case they forgot something like a toothbrush or shampoo
  • A gift card to the local grocery store to get them started in the food department

A friend of mine with two adult children who both survived university told me that she was a mess when they left home but was surprised at how quickly she got over it. Well, two weeks after he left that first year I was surprised how quickly I had got over it. Seriously, it wasn’t as hard as I had thought.

Kids who move away to go to school usually back more mature and with an appreciation for their parents and their homes. Mine did on his short visits back.

My son graduated from university this year and is currently enrolled in a  post graduate diploma in Exercise Science. The school is within driving distance, so he is going to be living with us for the next year.

After five years of living away we all have some new routines to work out. Keeping my fingers crossed we make a smooth transition from our lives with our youngish son who left town for university and the man who came home to live with his parents. I’ll be posting updates. WEEEEEEEEE.

1 thought on “What to Pack for University”

  1. Margi (Neubert) Hoffart

    Wonderful list, Ms. Smith. Also, good comments regarding having a child leave home for school. Mine is going into 3rd year college Fall of 2012, and she is still able to live at home. The time is approaching, however, for a distant university and I just know I’ll be a mess, so thanks for sharing. I don’t think I need to ask how you’re doing because you seem to be doing GREAT. Congratulations on all your successes–past, present, and future!

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