The New College Survival Guide: 2020 Edition

The New College Survival Guide: 2020 Edition

The first year of college is one of the best years. You’ve just gotten out of high school, and are no longer dealing with the usual cliques. Now, you’re at a place where there’s a little something for everyone. And everyone you work with and interact with has a common/similar interest to you — depending on your major.

But it can also be a hectic life change. So, with that, we wanted to put together a list of all the items you’ll need before you move off to your college dorm.

What to bring to your college dorm room

Living essentials

  • Hat
  • Power strip
  • Small fan
  • Hangers
  • Shower caddy
  • Shower shoes/sandals
  • Coffee maker
  • Linens for twin size bed
  • Towels
  • Skincare
  • Laundry bag/basket
  • Mattress cover
  • Under-bed storage
  • Water bottle
  • Coffee/travel mug
  • Desk lamp

Study essentials

  • Backpack
  • Notebook
  • Laptop
  • Pencils/pens
  • Tape
  • Permanent markers
  • Sticky notes
  • Binders/folders
  • Highlighters
  • Calculator
  • Day planner

What to bring in 2020

2020 is definitely a different year, to say the least. Many colleges have announced that they will be doing virtual-only classes this fall, but some universities are still deciding. With that in mind, here are the items you’ll need to bring if your school does decide to reconvene in-person classes:

  • Hand sanitizer - make sure your hand sanitizer is at least 60 percent alcohol, as recommended by the CDC.
  • Thermometer gun - this makes contactless temperature monitoring easy.
  • Antibacterial wipes - antibacterial wipes are great for routine household cleaning. But just like with your hand sanitizer, make sure your wipes (or spray) are alcohol-based, and contain at least 70 percent alcohol. Then make sure to dry surfaces immediately after to avoid liquids pooling.
  • Personal hand soap - you never know who has touched the soap dispensers in your dorm. By bringing your own, you’re making sure to limit the possibility of contamination. Also, be sure to clean hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Water filter - while the risk of Covid-19 transmitting through water is low, you don’t want to rely on public water fountains, as the surfaces of the fountain itself can carry bacteria.
  • Air purifier - since Covid-19 is a respiratory virus that transmits through the air, having an air cleaner or HVAC filter actually helps to reduce airborne contaminants. But don’t rely on using this alone, be sure to also wear a mask and practice proper hygiene.
  • Face mask - since Covid-19 spreads through droplets in the air as a person talks, breathes, coughs, or sneezes, studies have shown that people who wear masks can actively reduce the spread of Covid-19.
  • Gloves - gloves aren’t necessary to wear at all times, but it’s important to use gloves while cleaning or when caring for someone who is sick with Covid-19.
  • EPA-approved Household Disinfectant - household disinfectants as approved by the EPA are incredibly helpful, and have been proven in a lab setting to be effective against Covid-19.

What is different about living in dorms in 2020

That’s a pretty large question, but it can all be summed up by one word: Covid-19. The Coronavirus global pandemic continues, at least for the foreseeable future, and that means you’ll need to make sure you follow some of these guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Keep 6 feet distance from anyone
  • Wear a mask in shared spaces and in public
  • Avoid public transportation
  • Avoid recreational areas like the pool or the gym, unless the occupational limit is being observed and restricted
  • Places like a shared kitchen, dining room, laundry room, or bathrooms are havens for germs.
  • Avoid placing things like toothbrushes directly on any surface
  • Don’t share any dishware, and try to eat in your dorm room.

But aside from personal hygiene practices you should be following, it’s also important to know that any campus that’s doing in-person classes this semester should be enforcing new, strict rules.

According to Buzzfeed, “the nation's 50 largest college and university groups — which serve more than 2.7 million of the nation’s more than 6.3 million college students — are offering some form of live instruction…”

So even if your campus is going all virtual, you’re still likely to have to deal with some in-person encounters.

Since the Coronavirus is primarily spread via indoor, enclosed spaces, many college campuses are doing a hybrid arrangement — this means anything from reduced/restricted classroom capacity, to staggering class times, to having a mix of virtual and in-person classes.

Regardless of what your university plans on doing, it’s always best to have a plan of action before starting your fall semester.

Should parents have a backup plan if their college student gets Covid-19?

Yes! The CDC has many recommendations for campuses on what to do if a person is sick.

The university is to close off all areas used by the infected person, open all outside doors and windows, and wait 24 hours before cleaning or disinfecting. And definitely clean and disinfect all areas used by the infected person, such as shared bathrooms, laundry rooms, shared kitchen spaces, etc. They should also:

  • “Temporarily turn off in-room, window-mounted, or on-wall recirculation HVAC to avoid contamination of the HVAC units.
  • Do NOT deactivate central HVAC systems. These systems tend to provide better filtration capabilities and introduce outdoor air into the areas that they serve.
  • Designate a separate bathroom for residents with COVID-19 symptoms.”

For parents, it’s important to note that not everyone is taking Coronavirus seriously. Try to educate your student on all the necessary precautions they’ll need to take to prevent the spread. Remind them that it’s normal to be afraid. And if they catch it, talk to their student advisor/counselor and see if they can take the rest of their studies online for the next few weeks, so they don’t fall behind. Then you can bring them home, section off a part of your house for them, and work on helping them get better — without you catching it, too, of course.