A couple people have asked about suggestions for useful items with which to furnish their (or their student’s) dorm room.
While I am not going to list obvious things, like soap and shampoo, I want to say that not everything needs to be sent from home. Some folks think they need to get all sorts of things at home before they come, but there are plenty of drug stores in the area, so unless you have a particular surplus of your favorite Puffs Facial Tissues or Cottonelle Wipes, I’d save the shipping expense. Just bring enough stuff for a few days to hold you over while you settle into your permanent room assignment.
MIT does not provide linens, pillows, or bath or hand towels. MIT *does* provide toilet paper, and arguably, dispenser-style paper towels. (By arguably, I mean that while they don’t officially leave paper towels around for your usage, they seem to be easily procured if you know where to look. If you like a special Quilted type, better get your own – these are the standard dispenser-issue.)
If you think you will be making some meals on your own, or even saving some takeout food for later, you may want a small fridge in your room. Hold off on getting this until you find out whether or not you will have a roommate: you won’t need two fridges. You’d probably want to order this directly to your dorm once you have your permanent room assignment.
If you aren’t staying in an air-conditioned dorm, a window air-conditioner (again, talk with roommate, but this one’s less obvious) will make you very, very happy. Again, you’d probably want to order this directly to your dorm once you have your permanent room assignment.
Dorm lighting tends to disappoint. Invest in a desk light or even an inexpensive room light (perhaps a torchiere without a halogen bulb that can set things on fire if knocked over).
There are plenty of power outlets in each room, but they don’t always tend to be in the most convenient places. Invest in a surge protector or power strip. Also, the ethernet/network drops aren’t always where you want them, so think about a long network cable. (Your RCC [residential computing consultant — an upperclassman] will have an ethernet cable to give you, but you may want something longer.)
Clothes hangers tend to be useful if you have anything more than what you’d fold up in a chest of drawers. Get an extra-beefy hanger or two for hanging up your heavy winter coat (if you don’t have one, you certainly will when winter comes around!). There might be a hook or two around your room, but save that for a towel or the occasional shirt that needs a temporary residence.
Paper notebooks, appointment planners, calendars, and the like can easily be found here, but do yourself a favor and don’t buy them at the COOP — everything there is grossly overpriced. :-(
Do you have a printer at home? While you won’t *need* one here, and can certainly print your stuff in any Athena cluster for free, it’s sure nice to not have to run downstairs or to another building when you’ve just finished that essay at 3AM.
Some people find a wall-mounted whiteboard to be useful for their room. I’m not a subscriber to the whiteboard-on-your-door thing, but hey, whatever floats your boat.
You won’t need to bring any furniture — chairs, bookcases, drawers, beds, desks are all plentiful. You will need laundry detergent, and it’s expensive in small quantities at LaVerde’s. Get some at another area supermarket once you arrive.
If you had particular luck with a certain math book or two and want to bring them with you, feel free. It’s good to have other resources when something in your MIT textbook doesn’t make sense.
I’m sure I’ll think of other things, and when I do, I’ll post again. :-)