I’m forgetful when it comes to packing. Thanksgiving break, I forgot to pack extra pants. When I went home for my birthday, I remembered my laptop case and charger but forgot my laptop. When I came back, I forgot my suit. And my toothbrush. Ugh. Well today I spend the second night in my new room at my fraternity giving you a list of things you need to make sure to bring to MIT or to buy as soon as you get here. I conducted a carefully select survey on a stratified sampling of the population of MIT students. Jk I just asked a few friends what they thought was important.
So when you’re cutting down on the things you’re bringing, make sure to still bring these:
Bring something from home that reminds you of home. Your dorm is your new home for the next eight months. So make it like your home. Declare it your second home, a treehouse, a secret base, an HQ. Personalize it and make it unique to you. Also, make it stand out. Get a neon sign and hang it up. A lava lamp. A bonsai tree. Giant Googly Eyes for your fridge. Just have something that lets people know when they walk in “Yep, this is definitely Erick’s room”. It could even just be your unleashed artistic creativity on an unsuspecting wall. Me? I have a collage of family pictures, a Phi Kappa Sigma flag, and a sketch of Tony Stark during his college days a comic book artist drew for me at Comic Con. What are you gonna have in your room that makes it unique to you?
You need your passport to fill out your I-9 Form, which is what you need to be able to work for MIT. The I-9 Form requires you to present an original document that establishes your identity and employment eligibility. Most students use their passport, a birth certificate/copy, or their social security card. The back of the I-9 form lists all of the acceptable documents. So bring it, keep it somewhere hidden, and send it home after you get the I-9 if you so choose. More details here.
You need a surge protector. In fact, you probably need two, so buy three. Surge protectors are great because they add extra outlets and can extend outlets to any location in your room. For some reason the outlet overlords always put outlets in the most inconvenient locations, so surge protectors go a long way in helping you set up your room exactly how you want it to be. I have one next to my bed where I can charge my electronics and another one behind my desk for my laptop, mini fridge, and TV connect to. They also protects your devices from being overloaded in the case of a power spike, so ideally you want to plug everything you have through a surge protector. You should avoid having something plugged into each of the outlets, as they can draw too much power and overload the circuits. Also avoid plugging a surge protector into another surge protector (daisy chaining) for the same reasons of potential overload.
In a world of chargeable devices, where do batteries still fit in? Surprisingly, in a lot. Most flashlights, Xbox controllers, Arduino add-ons. Even if you don’t have anything that runs on batteries right now, you never know when you’ll get something. At MIT, people are working on projects all the time, there’s a lot of uses on batteries. It’s always best to have a pack of AA and AAA batteries handy. As they say, “All tech men carry batteries.” (Thanks Keri G. ’10 for telling us that!)
You already took care of your school supplies and went back to school clothes shopping. You bought all the stuff you think you’ll need for your dorm and you may even have a meal plan, which is paid in advance. But don’t forget to bring spending money. It could be in your bank account or in cash. Ideally you want to always have a comfortable amount of money that you can spend at any given time. You don’t have to actually spend it, but just having it gives a peace of mind that you could if you wanted to. Now, whether or not you have the discipline NOT to is a different story.