All the First Year Essentials!

Sara Whiteley, one of our Orientation Leaders from Normal, Illinois, is a sophomore Business Marketing and Public Relations double major studying in both the Cox School of Business and Meadows School of the Arts. After the greatest first year at SMU, Sara is here to share what you should bring to the Hilltop this fall! 

Seven Must Haves for Your First Year at SMU!

Hey Y’all!! As move in approaches, the check-lists begin! Sometimes these checklists are hard to start, so here are a few things that I have found to be essentials for a great freshman year here at SMU! 

  1. Raincoat / Umbrella / Rain boots
    • As much as I would love to say that the weather here is always sunny and perfect, that is not always true!  To my surprise it does rain here in Dallas and sometimes it can be a little crazy.  Nothing can make your 8 am class worse than being soaking wet because of the tsunami hitting the campus. So don’t forget your rain gear! Whether it is a raincoat, rain boots, an umbrella, or like me, all three, be prepared for a few rainy days.

  2. Shower Shoes
    • Some of us have community style bathrooms, meaning there is a walk to the bathroom.   It already a hassle to have to be in your towel in the hallway, so you don’t also want to be the kid wearing their tennis shoes to go take a shower.  This is why shower shoes are an essential! A pair of cheap flip flops will be perfect and they will last you all year.  Although our bathrooms are cleaned everyday and always seem spotless, I would not recommend walking around the bathroom barefoot, so the shower shoes are a nice alternative.
  3.  Desk Lamp
    • Most rooms here at SMU are doubles or suites meaning that you are most always living with other people.  Even if you are your roommate are not the best of friends, which is okay, it is always important to respect them.  This being said, a desk lamp is a necessity in college so you can continue working while your roommate sleeps.  Having a desk lamp allows you to turn off the big over head light in your room, so your roommate can sleep, while still being able to have enough light to study.  It is a must have for late night study sessions and good roommate relations!


  4.  Step Stool
    • At SMU most all of the bed are lofted to some extent.  As most of you know, when you are signing up for housing you can choose what height you would like you bed at for the year.  The standard height is about 45 inches off of the ground.  When you loft your bed all the way up you are given a ladder and at the end of each bed the frame has steps that are easy to climb up, but a step stool is a great option when your bed is lofted at the standard height!  Personally I have a purchased a “cube” at target that doubles as a step ladder into my bed and a storage unit! It is also a great seating options for others when they come in your room! Don’t get me wrong, it is 100% possible to get in the beds without a step ladder, but out of convenience one is great!


  5.  Extra Long Phone Charger
    • As I said earlier, the beds are normally lofted here!  With this lofting, sometimes the normal phone chargers are not long enough for you to be able to have your phone comfortably on your bed.  The best fix to this is an extra long charger that can reach to the top of your bed, with some slack. I would personally recommend a 2 meter one; it is the perfect length and can be found on amazon!


  6.  Detergent Pods
    • At SMU there are laundry rooms in all of the residential commons. The best possible thing to bring with you are a few detergent pods. These have the perfect amount of detergent for one load and are very convenient.  Take the stress out of doing laundry and get yourself some pods! ****If you despise doing laundry, like me, look into Mustang Laundry, which is a full year laundry service that will do your laundry for you and then return it back to campus! IT’S GREAT!!

    • I completely understand that leaving home and your friends and family to come to college can be scary, but do not forget to be excited!  With the deadlines, registration dates, and checklists, the stress can overtake the excitement of coming to college, but stay excited!! College is some of the best years of your life.  We are all overjoyed to have you join our mustang family, so get ready because you’re coming to the greatest school in the nation!

Good luck y’all! And as always, reach out to you AARO leaders if you need any help at all!