By now, all of us college gals are settled in our freshly decorated dorm rooms and are buried in school work. I've had class for only a week and have already delivered a speech and turned in a paper -- tell me what's up with that?! By now, like me, you're probably assessing your inventory and slowly deciphering what you accidentally left at home or will need to replace come December.
You never can truly assess what life on your own is like until you live it and you can't even fully prepare for dorm or apartment life until you get into your new space and start moving things in. Now that I'm a junior, I feel like a seasoned professional at what to save, and especially what to splurge on, in college. Truthfully, mostly everything you can save on. From cheap kitchen dishes to shower curtains and even wall decor -- save your money. Splurging though, there are a few things I truly believe you should invest in while you're at school.
Bedding -- My mother put it simply -- your bed is your nest. Especially when you're a freshman or share a room, you spend a lot of time in or on your bed. From studying, lounging, sleeping and even eating your bed gets a lot of your attention. Take the extra money to splurge on bedding. I skimped on my bedding last year and paid the price. This year, I learned from my mistakes and splurged on P.B. Teen bedding and I'm so thankful I did. Invest in well made sheets and shams as well. The best thing I have on my bed is my Leigh Deux headboard pillow so I can sit upright and do homework late at night. It really brings the entire room together and is washable!
Tennis Shoes -- One of my first purchases when I was a freshman at JMU was a new pair of tennis shoes. When I wake up late for class or am running errands. I always throw on a different version of the same outfit: running shorts, a sweatshirt, and tennis shoes. Sandals and flats after a long day on campus is really painful, especially if you walk all over campus. Invest in a great pair of New Balance 574's or any other shoe with great comfort and arch support. If you want a good, comfortable walking shoe steer clear of a Converse or a Van -- not much arch support there.
Extra Chargers -- I never knew how great it was to have several versions of the same charger until I started working at the school library. After a certain time period, our library lost and found becomes university property and some of the items are open to student employees to take home with them. Well, it's a library so you can image the plethora of items that are left here. The biggest category of left items are iPhone and MacBook chargers. I picked up several iPhone chargers and an extra MacBook Pro charger, so now I have one for my backpack and one for my bedroom. This is so nice because even in an apartment, wall outlets are sometimes hidden behind furniture and are hard to access. Having two chargers is just way more convenient. I know it's not necessary, but a great investment.
One Professional Outfit (at least) -- I'm a big believer if you look good, you'll feel good. Investing in one great professional outfit is so important, even before you step foot in the professional world. You might need this outfit for job interviews, internship interviews, organization interviews if you're applying to prestigious orgs on campus. You'll need this outfit for giving presentations and speeches in class and for your LinkedIn head shot. Seriously, take $150 and go to J. Crew or Ann Taylor or Banana Republic or LOFT and buy one outfit complete with shoes that you know you look incredible and professional in. It's well worth the money.
Little Black Dress & Heels -- Every girl needs a little black dress, but if you're in college and don't have one yet, now is the time to invest in one. Honestly, you don't even need to "splurge" you just need to have one cute, classic, flattering LBD on hand for sorority functions, black tie events, presentations, and date functions. Of course -- get some heels to match. My choice would be a pair of basic black block heels. My entire freshman year I went without an LBD and always kicked myself when I needed one.
A Good Robe -- My mother (again!) helped me out this summer and gave me a really nice bathrobe she had but never wore. I guess she just never returned it. I found it in her things this summer and fell in love with it and she said I could have it. I'm not kidding, it's the first thing I packed when I left for school this year. I wear my fluffy robe all the time -- just ask my roommates lol. Some days I just want to unwind and relax a little after class so I hop in a steaming hot shower and when wrap myself in my robe. For your dorm gals, it's much better than a towel in those communal bathrooms and for you apartment girls, it give you a sense of home and relaxation I think. TBH, I fall asleep in my all the time because it's like one big blanket.
Skincare Products -- My skin drastically changed once I got to college. The high stress levels, new diet with meal plans, and the stale dorm air really effected my skin and it hasn't been the same since. Because of that, I started paying extra attention to my skincare routine. I started by changing my face wash, adding an exfoliator, and started using a spot treatment as well. I also added a Clairsonic brush to my routine. Yes, it's a little pricey but has kept my skin looking great ever since. With so much of your life changing, investing in your skin is essential.
Hot Drink Thermos -- Starbucks, Dunkin', and Greenberries quickly adds up on your dining dollars so I think it's really smart to invest in a really durable tumbler for hot drinks. I use my S'Well bottle literally every day and whenever I need hot tea in the morning, I use it then too. It keeps hot drinks piping hot for 12 hours -- so amazing!