The hustle and bustle of college preparations can be nerve-wracking! You're entering a new world (mostly) independent of parental supervision. You're living with a complete stranger who's just as wide-eyed and skittish as you are. You've got to prepare for college classes and co-eds and complications. And even though you're young and ready to network the world ten networks at a time, there's still one lingering question you have to ask yourself: did you remember to bring a fork? Here's our rundown of things every college student needs!
1) Microwaveable bowls and Tupperware
Since your diet will consist of ramen, cereal, and take out, you actually won't need plates, will you? Joking aside, microwaveable bowls, plates, and particularly Tupperware will come in handy during the years ahead. College life is curiously nomadic, so picking up a few lightweight, microwaveable dishes is a good idea.
2) A lidded pot and pan, and maybe a baking pan.
Remember that Ramen we mentioned? You need something to cook it in. When you're tired of microwaved food, pots are handy for cooking pasta, ramen, rice, and even coffee if you don't want to buy a coffee maker. It's likely that these lovely, inexpensive grocery store essentials are what you'll subsist on when your wallet (or your parents' wallet) is lean.
3) Can opener
One night you're going to want to microwave a can of soup and start up quite a midnight tirade once you realize not all cans have pop-off tops. "It's the 21st century, people! This is ridiculous!" you'll grumble to yourself, thoroughly convincing your roommate that you're crazy. It doesn't have to be a fancy one; bonus points if you get one with a bottle opener too!
4) Fork, spoon, a butter knife, and a sharp knife
Sure, you can get plastic forks and spoons for free at most dining places, but you definitely want at least one good, non-plastic fork, spoon, and knife for yourself. You only need a few, and honestly, having less utensils and plates will keep dish-washing and waste down. You'll definitely be happy to have a good, sharp knife once you try your hand at cooking.
5) A measuring cup
If you're trying to cook anything with a recipe, mix any kind of drink, or all your cups and bowls are in the dishwasher, a measuring cup comes in handy. If you're really crafty, you could make your own measuring cups, but it's probably cheaper and less of a hassle just to buy a nice glass one. You might also consider getting measuring spoons, especially if you want to try your hand at baking.
6) Toaster oven
Toaster ovens are perfect for quick sandwiches, flat-bread pizzas, waffles, and of course, toast. You can even do some light baking, whether you want baked chicken or quick cookies. You can pick one up fairly inexpensively these days (even as low as 20 bucks), so it might be a worthwhile investment!
Depending on your apartment situation, you may either not have a fridge at all or have roommates who are a little too friendly with your food. In these cases, a mini-fridge is a great thing to own. In addition to keeping your food and drinks cool, it's also a great budget shelf or emergency "I will pass out if I don't cool off somehow" air conditioner.
8) Coffee maker
This is more of a luxury item, but if you're unwilling to make your coffee in a pot, it'll still be useful. It's guaranteed that you will pull at least one all-nighter in the upcoming years (if you haven't already been doing it throughout high school). If you're not fortunate enough to have a 24/hr hot offee supply around, you'll be quite happy to have one of these around to perk you up before class. Rule of thumb: Be coherent enough to make sure you're not wearing pajamas.
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