As a sophomore at St. Lawrence, I remember exactly what it was like trying to prepare myself to live somewhere new. How much do I really need to bring? How do I make my new room feel like home? Most importantly, how is all of this going to fit in the car? Once I arrived, though, I realized that there were a few items that made my freshman year experience extra special. Don't worry, if you have to pack lighter, there are plenty of places around town to pick up anything here that catches your eye:
1. A camera!
Anyone who has stepped foot on campus will tell you that St. Lawrence is stunning. When I ask students what drew them to St. Lawrence, they always mention the campus's beauty. No matter the season, there are endless spots at St. Lawrence that are perfect for capturing postcard-worthy photos.
2. Your parents' vintage threads!
One of the most exciting annual events at St. Lawrence is Titus weekend, which takes place once each spring semester (outside of the COVID-19 pandemic). The Outing Club arranges the event and rents out the entire upper area of Titus Mountain for the celebration. Students going to the rail jam (a chance to show off their ski tricks on the quad) and Titus take the opportunity to bundle up in their favorite neon and retro garb, making this the most colorful event of the year by far. If you don't know how to ski, don't worry! Dancing to live music in the lodge will give you a chance to warm up and enjoy the event with everyone else.
3. A pair of boots!
Whether you just need to make it through the snow to your class across campus or want to explore the trails around SLU, a sturdy pair of boots is a must! This one might seem obvious, but as a stubborn first-year who thought my sneakers were fine, I ignored my mom's suggestion and had very wet feet for a semester.
4. Glitter, animal print, and maybe even fake blood?
As an incoming first-year, I had no idea how many fun events would be themed! Although a friend was always willing to lend me something to wear, I wish I had brought a few Hawaiian shirts, some leopard print clothing, or even a jersey. Fake blood isn't a must, of course... but it made our Halloween a lot more fun!
5. A picnic blanket!
After surviving your first winter at St. Lawrence, the snow will melt (I promise!), and you'll see exactly how much we love the outdoors. A study session on the quad is the perfect way to relax and get work done with friends. Along with your blanket, bring your radio, a few snacks, some sunglasses, and your textbooks. You'd be surprised how much fun studying can be when you're enjoying the warm weather.
6. A comfy hammock!
If it's especially hot—or if you burn after 10 minutes in the sun as I do—sitting in the shade is just as relaxing! I spent countless days during my first year cuddled up in my hammock with a blanket and a good book. You never have to travel far to set up your hammock, either. My favorite spot is in the Enchanted Forest, which has a ton of trees to choose from and a great breeze during the warmer months.
7. A swimsuit and a float!
One of the first celebrations of the year takes place before the cold weather hits at the Grasse River (a short walk from campus). "Raft Day" kicks off the new year with colorful pool floats, plenty of jumps off the rope swing, and guaranteed fun in the sun. The students I met my first semester at Raft Day have become some of my closest friends—even after witnessing my embarrassing belly flop that day.
8. Your favorite snacks from home!
As much as I love stocking up on snacks at the local Walmart with my friends, there are some things you just can't get there. I always bring homemade brownies and saltwater taffy from the Jersey Shore when I come up. It might not seem like much, but something from home makes the transition to college life a lot easier. That being said, bringing a beloved stuffed animal never hurts, either.
9. Fun games for nights in with new friends!
Even though there's always something happening on campus, sometimes it's nice to take a night off and play some cards or enjoy a board game with your friends. Freshman year, I brought my Nintendo Switch and left my door open for anyone who wanted to play Mario Kart. Now that all of my friends know I can beat them, though, we've added some new games to our collection. I'll warn you now about bringing Uno—it gets intense.
10. A handful of envelopes.
Being the first to attend college, my family was very excited (to say the least) to hear all about my experience at St. Lawrence. Calls home are nice, but keeping everyone up to date can get difficult if your family is as big and as close as mine. Letters to those you love are a great way to keep in touch with those close to you and let them know you miss them. We all know college can get busy, but when you have a day off, remember to let loved ones know you got an "A" on your exam or that you joined a new club! They'll be just as excited as you are.
Now that you have everything packed, I'll remind you to bring one more thing: enthusiasm! Entering a totally new environment is scary for everyone. Keep in mind why you chose St. Lawrence and that everyone is in the same boat. Take this opportunity to start fresh and try everything! Get involved in an intramural sport you never had the courage to join in high school. Run for that executive board position in your favorite club. Invite someone new to sit with you at Dana. Once you dive into all that St. Lawrence has to offer, you'll know you chose the right school.