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Articles / Campus Life / Forget Me Not!

April 24, 2020

Forget Me Not!

Some quick additional thoughts about the darker side of packing for college: forgetting stuff!

Speaking of “forgetting," did you know that some studies have shown that just walking through a doorway can make you forget? No, really. That could explain a lot, at least in my life.

In Why Walking through a Doorway Makes You Forget, a team of neuroscientists did a study that seems to support this contention, noting:

… The doorway effect suggests that there's more to the remembering than just what you paid attention to, when it happened, and how hard you tried. Instead, some forms of memory seem to be optimized to keep information ready-to-hand until its shelf life expires, and then purge that information in favor of new stuff. Radvansky and colleagues call this sort of memory representation an “event model," and propose that walking through a doorway is a good time to purge your event models because whatever happened in the old room is likely to become less relevant now that you have changed venues. That thing in the box? Oh, that's from what I was doing before I got here; we can forget all about that. Other changes may induce a purge as well: A friend knocks on the door, you finish the task you were working on, or your computer battery runs down and you have to plug in to recharge. …

Well, science aside, let's try to remember the important stuff to take to college. Along those lines, I want to share a helpful article about this topic: The 10 Most Forgotten Items … when moving to college. Here's the helpful list, courtesy of our friends at Campus Grotto:

Headphones – An easily lost item, headphones make those early morning walks to class a little more upbeat and bearable. Stay away from tangles and cut the cords with wireless headphones.

Toothbrush – Bathroom items are easily forgotten in the haste to get out the door. If you forget yours, you can probably grab one at the campus health department for free. Or, consider upgrading to an electric toothbrush.

Flip Flops – You won't want to forget these (for your own health) if you're sharing a bathroom with an entire floor of people. Grab something you can easily slip in and out of.

Chargers – A charger is one of those items that is a pain to leave behind, but you never feel too bad about having to buy another, as they are good to have as a spare.

Lock – Theft is one of the main downsides of being on a college campus. Protect your belongings in a locker, lock up your bike, and consider a laptop lock. You'll never know exactly when you need an item like this, but it's always good to have one on hand for peace of mind in protecting your stuff.

Swimsuit – This is one of those items you don't think you'll end up needing, but you'll never know where an impromptu meetup will take you in college. From jumping in the lake to a late-night relax in the hot tub, something to swim in is essential in college.

USB Drive – You'll be using multiple different computers and printers at college, making this a convenient item for any highly-efficient student.

Ibuprofen/Tylenol – Whether you study hard or play hard, these will come in handy at some point during your college stay.

Fan – This is a must-have item not only for providing a cool breeze, but a constant noise that can help you fall asleep at night.

Sunglasses/Glasses – We've all been there. Make a personal note to remember to bring these or download a printable what to bring to college checklist below.

If you think you're forgetful now, walking though doorways or whatever, just wait until you get to be my age (hint: a doctor patted my newborn derriere in June of the year the transistor was invented). I make notes to remind me of what's on my other notes. Maybe I should start putting my notes on doorways.

Finally, Campus Grotto offers two very helpful aids: these printable lists of what to take to college. Make your copy and then make a note to use it.

What to Bring to College: Guys

What to Bring to College: Girls

Happy packing, everyone!


Be sure to check out all my articles at College Confidential.

Written by

Dave Berry

Dave is co-founder of College Confidential and College Karma Consulting, co-author of America's Elite Colleges: The Smart Buyer's Guide to the Ivy League and Other Top Schools, and has over 30 years of experience helping high schoolers gain admission to Ivy League and other ultra-selective schools. He is an expert in the areas application strategies, stats evaluation, college matching, student profile marketing, essays, personality and temperament assessments and web-based admissions counseling. Dave is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and has won national awards for his writing on higher education issues, marketing campaigns and communications programs. He brings this expertise to the discipline of college admissions and his role as a student advocate. His College Quest newspaper page won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publisher's Association Newspapers in Education Award, the Thomson Newspapers President's Award for Marketing Excellence and the Inland Press Association-University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Mass Communications Inland Innovation Award for the Best New Page. His pioneering journalism program for teenagers, PRO-TEENS, also received national media attention. In addition, Dave won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award for Celebrate Diversity!, a program teaching junior high school students about issues of tolerance. His College Knowledge question-and-answer columns have been published in newspapers throughout the United States. Dave loves Corvettes, classical music, computers, and miniature dachshunds. He and his wife Sharon have a daughter, son and four grandchildren.

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