5 things my son DID NOT need at college

Is one of your children headed to college?  Read on for a list of 5 things my son DID NOT need when he went to college.  

5 things a student does NOT need at college

Last fall, my son Mason moved from Tennessee to Idaho to go to college at BYU - Idaho.  He is my oldest so I didn't know what to expect.  I made up for that by over preparing and over buying all of his supplies.  Bless my mama heart!  

First Year BYU Idaho college student

Things My Son DID NOT Need at College

When Mason moved into apartment style, on campus housing, I didn't realize that one could over-buy supplies or be over-prepared, but I sure learned my lesson.  (Read on at the bottom for the lesson.)  Part of the reason I felt ok about the amount of stuff I sent with him, is because he and his dad drove to Idaho.  So I figured as long as everything fit in the car, it was good to go!  But there were so many things he did not need.  

college student preparation

Food variety

Every day for 18+ years, I made sure my son ate.  I made him breakfast, his lunches for school and I cooked him dinner nightly.  Without me at college, who would make sure he ate?  I was very worried about my 6'2" 240 lb son starving to death.  So I did the best thing I could think of, I bought him a TON of non-perishable food to take with him.  I thought sending him with simple to make foods like instant rice, boxed mac and cheese, and pasta, he could easily make his own meals.  Spoiler Alert:  He did not make/eat any of it.  He mostly ate Easy Mac, Ramen noodles and foods that could be quickly cooked in the microwave like chicken tenders.  

What we should have done:  not pre-buy food at all.  I should have sent him with the money I spent on groceries and let him buy food when he got there.

Cooking Items

With all the food I sent with him, he needed a way to make it.  So I bought him several baking sheets, measuring cups and spoons, mixing bowls, and cooking utensils.  I think he used 1 cookie sheet for a frozen pizza and maybe 1 of the mixing bowls a few times.  

What we should have done:  send a pizza pan with him and let him buy or borrow anything else he needed.

Set of Pans

Surely Mason would have the desire to make a few basic meals once in a while with his pans, right?  Wrong!  He did not need an entire set of pans.  The only thing that helped is that at least I bought him an inexpensive pan set.  He didn't even open the box until his second semester of school. And then he only used the frying pan twice.  

What we should have done:  send 1 frying pan and 1 sauce pan with him and let him borrow or buy anything else he needed.

College student move in preparation

Tons of Clothes

Living in Tennessee, we had no idea what to expect in Idaho.  Plus in August, it's still summer in TN.  Mason took almost all of his clothes with him including tons of T shirts and shorts.   Well, it wasn't warm enough for shorts in ID, and they are against the campus dress code anyway.  He wore shorts to work out and that's it.  He also did not need a bunch of other clothes.  He wore jeans, sweatshirts and dress clothes to church.  

What we should have done:  had a conversation and discuss clothes what he really needed and what he would actually wear.  Be selective of what he took with him, because he would also need to bring it home.

Duplicate Items

Mason did not know his roommates before he moved in.  Because of that, they did not coordinate bringing supplies for their apartment.  When they all got moved in, they had 8 toasters, several (unused) pan sets, many sets of dishes and utensils, and so much more.  

What we should have done:  find out who his roommates were and try to coordinate what everyone was bringing.  

College Apartment Style Dorm

Smart Things We Did for College

We made a bunch of mistakes when prepping my son for school.  Actually I don't even know if they're considered mistakes, because how would we know any different?  Anyway, there were a few things we did do that I would recommend.  
  • Buy store brand appliances.  We purchased inexpensive items that were on sale for Back to School.  The inexpensive individual blender we bought at Walmart worked just as well as the Magic Bullet we have at home.  
  • Buy inexpensive linens.  He also did not need high quality towels or sheets- the basic ones worked just fine. He only had 1 set with him and truthfully I don't think more than one is necessary. They can easily be washed and immediately put back to use.

BYU Idaho college student living

Things You May Need for College and Not Think of

These are items that are essential for a college dorm room.  We remembered some of them but had to go buy some too.  Links are affiliate links.

Lesson Learned

The biggest lesson we learned is that whatever is taken to college, has to be taken home as well.  When the world wide issues came up in the spring of this year, my son needed to fly home earlier and quicker than we planned.  He had SO MUCH STUFF to bring home.  We had to make very quick decisions because flights were cancelled and rescheduled often.  He ended up leaving behind a bunch of his wardrobe, all of his linens, kitchen items, food and pretty much anything non essential.  I hope the thrift store in Idaho enjoyed all of the things he donated.

Those were some expensive yet valuable lessons.  His first year may have ended differently if he hadn't  needed to come home so quickly.  But he for sure took too much stuff with him.   This year my daughter is moving to Utah to go to BYU.  I am better prepared for her to leave and know better what a college student does/does not need.  

Hopefully you can learn from my painfully expensive lessons on 5 things My College Student Did Not Need.