Packing for Your Campus Experience

We know. Packing is already hard enough as it is when going on a short trip or week-long vacation, let alone heading off to college for nine months. Not only do you have to pack room essentials and added décor to transform your room into your ideal space, but you’ll be faced with first-time experiences you’ll want to be ready for—including wearing shoes in the shower!

So we asked your fellow Illini to share their dos and don’ts of packing for college. Here’s what they had to say.



What was one thing you’re glad you packed?

“Definitely personal items and comfort stuff from home. Helps get through the stressful days.”

Aishee, Daniels Hall, Electrical & Computer Engineering

“Plates, bowls, silverware, sponge, and dishwashing soap because I always had leftovers to eat.”

Rachel, Allen Hall, Business Administration

“Air purifier. It kept the air in our room clean, and I think it also helped keep me and my roommate healthy as neither of us got sick during the school year.”

Zak, Blaisdell Hall, Electrical & Computer Engineering

“Christmas lights. It was great having softer and dimmer lights than the overheads; plus, it makes your room look really nice.”

Peyton, Barton Hall, Anthropology

“I’m glad I packed my yoga mat because doing yoga helped me de-stress a lot.”

Kaite, Carr Hall, Psychology

“A journal or disposable camera. I wrote in a journal almost once a week and now I have something to look back on forever. Getting a disposable camera allows you to have pictures along with your journal of moments. Kinda cheesy and cliché, but a really good way to keep yourself in check, too.”

Karolina, Oglesby Hall, General Studies Administration



What was one thing you packed but didn’t need to pack?

“Too much food. You can purchase food from the University Housing retail locations. You’ll always have left over café credits to spend at those places.”

Zak, Blaisdell Hall, Electrical & Computer Engineering

“Door hangers! The closets are way better than expected.”

Sophia, Trelease Hall, Electrical & Computer Engineering

“An alarm clock (I just used my phone).”

Peyton, Barton Hall, Anthropology

“Too many T-shirts. You’re not going to wear them; you will be handed free shirts at different campus events, which you end up wearing to represent your school spirit!”

Aurora, Wassaja Hall, General Studies Administration

“I brought way too many clothes.”

Kaite, Carr Hall, Psychology



What is one thing you wish someone told you when you were an incoming student?

“I wish I had known when I was an incoming student how easy it is to reach out for help. Talk to professors and classmates and network with those around you to find resources to help you out.”

Michelle, Townsend Hall, Animal Sciences

“You are enough already. You are smart enough. You can do this! Use your resources, get tutoring, use study groups, and if things don’t work out, try something that works better.”

Andrew, Allen Hall, General Studies Administration

“Don’t stress out, and everything will work out in the end! Just chill and experience everything.”

Eunice, Wardall Hall, Computer Science

“How important it is to make connections, whether it’s with peers in class, an academic advisor, professor, etc. Making connections sooner rather than later can help bring huge opportunities like internships. So, don’t wait to get involved and ask around for opportunities that Illinois has to offer.”

Daisy, Wassaja Hall, English

“Growth comes from failure, not success. If we only accept the opportunities we are guaranteed to succeed in, we will never experience growth. Take risks and learn from your mistakes.”

Jordan, Babcock, Business Administration

“Living away from your family is hard. Give yourself time to emotionally adjust, and focus instead on meeting new people, exploring campus, and diving into classes. Your success makes you, your professors, and your family proud!”

Katie, Bousfield Hall, Undeclared


For a complete list of what to pack and what to leave at home, check out our ultimate packing checklist.

Illinois Admissions

Illinois Admissions

We're here for you as you prepare for college. Whether you're looking for guidance on the college search process or have questions about Illinois, we hope our blogs will help!

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