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    27 Useful Things To Help You Survive College

    A box fan, a comfy mattress topper, a power strip, a white noise machine, and other useful products for college students that are totally worth the investment.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    We asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to tell us what products they couldn't live without in college. Here are their (super helpful) answers!

    1. A white noise machine for drowning out the party noises from the room across the hall. (They do NOT care that you have an exam tomorrow. 😒)

    This machine has ten 10 sounds and 10 ambient noise variations.

    "I've had 9 a.m. classes at least three days every single semester of college thus far (and I'm a fourth year). I need to get to bed early, and most college kids are not considerate and WILL be yelling till 3 a.m. somewhere near your dorm. White noise machine — cannot recommend it enough, kids. —Neelam Patel, Facebook

    Get it from Amazon for $49.95 (available in two colors). Or, check out another popular option.

    2. A Kindle or Fire tablet to load all your textbooks into instead of having to carry physical copies around.,

    "Most of my readings for classes are in digital (usually PDF) files, and I cannot focus when reading on the computer. Plus, it's easier to carry around and perfect for last minute finishing of essays." —Daniela S.

    Dana V.

    Get them Amazon: the Kindle Paperwhite for $119.99 or the Fire 7 tablet for $49.99+ (available in two storage capacities and four colors; also check out the Fire 8 and Fire 10)

    3. A separate monitor because your laptop screen just isn't big enough to display more than two windows.

    This 19.5" monitor has 1600x900 resolution.

    "Splitting screens in half is the worst! Constantly scrolling from side to side, resizing, getting lost, and not being able to focus on the topic at hand is the worst of just using a laptop. Going to the library and using an HDMI cable to connect the school computer is a pain. Having a second monitor allows me to have research links, Spotify, paper guidelines, Quizlit, videos that I’m supposed to watch (for certain classes with online components), McGraw Hill, Pearson, etc., open while I take notes on my laptop. I get my work done faster and correctly the first time. It’s also nice to have a bigger screen to watch Netflix on at the end of the day." —sondere

    Get it from Amazon for $69.99.

    4. A folding hand truck that'll make moving stuff into and out of the dorms less of a chore.

    This one has a telescoping handle and folds flat for storage.


    Get it from Amazon for $39.91.

    5. A memory foam mattress topper for transforming your cardboard bed into a fluffy cloud that you'll actually want to sleep on.,

    "If you're going to splurge on anything, it should be a good, thick mattress topper. Dorm beds are about as hard as The Rock's abs, and a good nights sleep in college is essential! A good memory foam topper can be around $200, but it's worth it." —Sara G.

    "It made my dorm room bed and the cheap mattress I bought a couple years later feel super comfortable! Sleep is precious in college and having a comfortable bed makes a world of difference. I think mine was around four inches thick? And I've used it for six years now. If you watch for them around the holidays, you can usually get a good deal on them." —Kierstin Blomberg, Facebook

    "Don’t get the eggshell one. Get the expensive $300 Tempur-Pedic one. You’re only going to get an average of four hours of sleep a night. Make them count! And change your pillows every year! Turn those Zs into As. Or Cs. You got this." —emilyferdinandf

    Get them from Amazon: the Tempur-Pedic mattress topper for $237.99+ (available in sizes Twin–California King) or the four-inch memory foam topper for $83.99+ (available in sizes Twin–California King)

    6. A wireless printer to keep in your room so you don't have to run to the library to use the public printer (which is usually jammed).

    This HP printer allows you to copy, scan, and print wirelessly via your computer, smartphone, or tablet.

    "I went to college thinking I could use the printers in the library and student union all the time but quickly learned that I could save myself so much time by printing in my room." —lizzyneversleeps

    "After running into issues with the on-campus printing, I shelled out $500 for a printer/scanner. I ended up using it every week for all four years of college. I am one year post-grad, and she is still kicking. I can’t recommend getting one enough." —Emi A.

    "You don't have to run to the library to print at 7 a.m. before class." —emaleef3

    Get it from Amazon for $39.99.

    7. A dry-erase wall calendar so you can see all your appointments and deadlines at a glance.

    It measures 24"x36" and comes with tacks for securing on the wall.

    "I wouldn’t have made it without my huge whiteboard calendar and multicolored markers. It helps me stay organized and remember when things are due and where I am supposed to be. Definitely a must-buy!" —breutiful

    "I stuck it next to my bedside and NEVER forgot a single due date, event, or study session! I checked it every morning and night!" —Cindy U.

    Get it from Amazon for $34.95+ (available in two designs and sizes). Also, check out a whiteboard and cork version or a magnetic version.

    8. A potted plant that'll breathe some life into your dorm room and even help filter the air.,,,

    "Having a couple plants that are designed for air filtering is the greatest decision I’ve made since going to school. I have really bad allergies and having ferns, English ivy, and some other plants has significantly decreased my allergic reactions, and it just makes my room feel brighter and healthier! Plus, they’re super easy to take care of, and that’s coming from someone who killed a cactus."

    Elizabeth B.

    Get them from Amazon: the fiddle-leaf fig plant for $29.97, the two-pack of aloe vera for $16.99, the golden pothos (aka devil's ivy) for $17.04, or the Boston fern for $30.35

    9. A toaster oven (depending on if your dorms allow one) for opening up a whole new world of non-microwave dinner options.

    This handy appliance is both a toaster and a toaster oven.

    "Having a toaster oven in the dorms was a culinary lifesaver. I could make anything from crisp grilled cheese sandwiches to more sophisticated dinner food. Microwaves are great, but they make food soggy and have limitations to what food they can prepare." —thepurpledinosaur

    Get it from Amazon or Walmart for $31.96+ (available in two colors).

    10. A heated throw blanket to use in the dead of winter because the radiator (or central heating) in your room can be spotty.

    This sherpa-lined blanket has three heat settings, an auto-adjusting feature for maintaining heat consistency, and an auto-shutoff function.

    "My roommate slept with the windows open in the dead of Ottawa winters, and I’d have frozen solid without it. It came in handy in the (13!!!) years since, especially when my cramps were at their worst." —sarahea3

    Get it from Amazon for $54.92+ (available in four colors).

    11. A first aid + medicine kit so you'll always have a mini drugstore on hand for emergencies.

    This kit contains: a digital thermometer, 12 packets of APAP (two tablets per packet), 12 packets of ibuprofen (two tablets per packet), 12 tablets of diphenhydramine (aka Benadryl), 12 packets of multisymptom cold relief tablets (two tablets per packet), eight tablets of Diamode, 12 packets of chewable antacid tablets (two tablets per packet), six antiseptic wipes, six packets of triple antibiotic ointment, four packets of burn cream with lidocaine, six packets of hydrocortisone cream, 10 regular band-aids, three 2"x3" band-aids, three fingertip band-aids, one roll of first aid tape, one pair of scissors, one roll of gauze, one pair of non-latex gloves, 12 cherry cough drops, two packets of Squincher Fast Pack electrolyte replacement (grape flavor), and one permanently attached laminated color-coded instruction page.

    "You won’t think you need one or remember to stock up until you REALLY need it." —laralong123

    "People get sick all over the damn place and when you have a fever at 3 a.m., there’s nowhere to go for help except an expensive emergency room. Stock up your Tylenol and vitamin C or Tums or antihistamines or whatever you need." —lauracorinas

    "NyQuil, DayQuil, cough drops, ibuprofen, the works. The freshman plague is real. I literally had a cold once a month." —Maya K.

    Get it from Amazon for $49.95.

    12. A soda maker that might actually encourage you to drink more water.

    "You really need water in your daily routine. Like badly. It affects your skin and your health a lot, especially if you’re already lacking in sleep. My mum bought me a SodaStream machine, and it is the best thing for college students. You can make carbonated water or calorie-free sodas instantly, and you drink the equivalent of two bottles of water. Yummy and healthy all in one." —kristytish

    Get them from Amazon: the SodaStream machine for $69.99 (available in two colors) and a two-pack of carbonators for $59.99 (makes up to 120 liters of sparkling water)

    13. A vacuum cleaner for sucking up food crumbs and hairs so pests won't come knocking on your door.

    This 3-in-1 model can be a stick, handheld, or hybrid vacuum.

    "We had carpet and didn’t want to attract more creepy crawlers into our room (we lived on the first floor). Your college might have one you can borrow, but we liked to be able to vacuum at any given moment." —callanc3

    Get it from Amazon for $26.99.

    14. An Amazon Prime membership to make ordering and renting textbooks a breeze. Plus, you can use it to make last-minute purchases (like stationery items, party supplies, cold medicine, toilet paper, and whatever else you don't have time to go buy in stores), and everything will get delivered in two business days.


    With your membership, you'll also get free access to a large selection of video content, music, and books.

    "I seriously would have struggled without Amazon Prime! I could get my textbooks and supplies for cheaper than in stores and not to mention if I ever needed something for a theme party, I could get it last minute with no worries!" —Fallon H.

    Get a Prime Student membership from Amazon for $6.49/month or $59/year.

    15. A light-up desk mirror so you don't have to fight for a spot in the bathroom when everyone is getting ready.

    "For anyone that focuses on their appearance, I like having a desk mirror or wall mirror to do makeup and hair and such. Communal bathrooms get super crowded sometimes, and I liked doing things in the privacy of my room." —dayna2x

    Get it from Amazon for $25.99. Or, check out a cheaper option.

    16. A three-drawer cart because you'll need all the storage you can get in your shared living space.

    The wheels make it easy to roll around.


    Get it from Amazon for $31.19.

    17. A box fan or tower fan to keep you cool on warm nights and improve air circulation. It can also double as a white noise machine.,

    "My mom bought me a really expensive but amazing fan. It was worth every penny. I am two years out of college and still use it daily. It is a tall Vornado fan, and it’s for air circulation. It also adds white noise! Best purchase for college." —Katie M.

    "A box fan. It can help you keep cool if you can’t control the temp and also act as noise cancellation if you are in a loud dorm and need some shut-eye." —Nicole C.

    "My fan helped keep me cool and did a brilliant job of being a white noise maker. My dorm hallway was always noisy but once I turned that fan on high, I could sleep like a baby." —hopestyles

    "My clip-on bedside fan. It kept my bed the perfect temperature at night because we couldn’t control our A/C and heat in the room. Plus it drowned out the noise of numerous drunk people."—riibrew

    "A good desk fan! I ended up with two, one pointed at my bed and one on my desk. Absolute lifesavers." —Jennifer Welsh, Facebook

    Get them from Amazon: the box fan for $13.39 or the Vornado tower fan for $86.99 (or check out a slightly cheaper tower fan)

    18. A full-body pillow, if you have back and joint pains that disturb your sleep.

    "I discovered I have some pretty nasty joint problems while in college, so I got a body pillow for when my joints are especially bad, and I need extra support sleeping. It’s called a Snoogle and is designed for pregnant women, but because it curves to support all of my body, it’s the best body pillow I’ve ever encountered! I don’t know how I would’ve survived without it. And on top of it, it’s not too expensive either! I’d highly recommend that anyone with joint problems get one." —Gwen O.

    Get it from Amazon for $55.35+ (available in six colors).

    19. A mini fridge for storing food and drinks in, if your dorm room doesn't already come with one.

    This 2.7-cu.ft. stainless steel mini fridge can be used to store cans, two-liter bottles, and even frozen items.


    Get it from Target for $79.99. Or, check out a similar option from Walmart.

    20. A lightweight laptop that won't feel like hauling around a ton of bricks.

    This 2-in-1 laptop/tablet has a flexible 360-degree hinge and 12.5" full-HD touchscreen. It has an Intel core processor with 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM. At 2.65 pounds, it's lighter than a MacBook Air.

    "Don't break your back like me walking around campus for 10 hours a day hauling a heavy-ass machine on your back." —shannonladnier

    "A Chromebook will work well if you’re okay with Google apps instead of (expensive) Microsoft software. You can even make do by converting files, most of the time. Just double-check that your MLA or APA format is up to par in Google docs." —callanc3

    Get it from Amazon for $459.67.

    21. A pair of thermal-insulated blackout curtains so the sun doesn't rudely interrupt your beauty sleep.

    "My room faced the East so without them, it would have been a long morning... They’re also great for those sacred mid-afternoon power naps." —mchughhhh

    "The lights outside my window were always freaking on, so the curtains really helped. Plus, it was winter eight months out of the year, and most of the time I would peel the curtain back and see frost and ice on the windowsill. With these curtains, my plant stayed alive and healthy near the poorly constructed dorm windows, and it kept the cold out!" —miriahas

    Get them from Amazon for $32.99 (available in 12 sizes and 24 colors).

    22. A power strip because there probably won't be enough outlets in your dorm room to plug in all your devices and gadgets.

    This power strip also doubles as a surge protector.

    "At my school, we had to have a specific kind, but spending the money was completely worth it. Plugging in chargers, appliances, and anything else would have been impossible since there were only one or two actual outlets per side. Having one made it so convenient, and I don’t know anybody who didn’t have at least one in their room." —Emily P.

    "I velcroed mine to my bedpost for chargers, fans, heating pads, etc. Your dorm will have limited outlets that may not reach your lofted bed." —Madeline G.

    Get it from Amazon for $26.99. Or, check out a cheaper option.

    23. A rolling backpack to save your back from carrying the weight of all your textbooks.

    🎶They see me rollin', they hatin' 🎶

    "Get one that you can roll around or put on your back as needed. Trust me, your back will thank you when you are hauling around those big stacks of books back and forth to the library when it's paper writing time, especially if you're one of those crazy, brave souls that go the Ph.D. route and have to write a dissertation." —Jacki Demchak, Facebook

    Get it from Amazon for $55.99 (available in six colors). Or, check out a slightly cheaper option.

    24. Or, a sturdy Swiss Gear backpack (with a built-in laptop sleeve) that'll last you through undergrad and grad school.

    This backpack has tons of interior and exterior organizer pockets, an airflow back system, and a water bottle pocket. The padded laptop compartment is designed to fit most portable computers up to 17 inches.

    "I've had mine since my second semester freshman year and am about to start my first year of grad school (so, about five and a half years?); the thing is indestructible." —Kathy Garner, Facebook

    Get it from Amazon for $59.99 (available in six colors).

    25. A pair of trusty L.L. Bean boots for keeping your feet dry and warm, if you go to college in a colder climate.,

    "If you go to college in the North, you need L.L. Bean boots. I literally could not live without them. You do a lot of walking in college and having a good pair of boots makes a huge difference in keeping your feet dry and warm, plus it makes it so much easier (and safer) to walk in icy conditions. They took a little while to break in (about three weeks of wearing them every third day for me), but now they're without a doubt the most comfortable pair of shoes I own. They're about $135 for the standard pair, are hand-stitched, made in Maine, and last a lifetime. I've had mine six years without any major wear and tear, plus I know people who still wear the pair that were bought in the '80s! I live in an area where we experience a TON of snow in the winters, and these always manage to keep my feet totally dry and warm. A total must-have for the cold." —allyerose5267

    Get them from L.L. Bean: the women's boots (available in 6" and 8"; widths narrow to wide; sizes 5–11) or the men's boots (available in 6" and 8"; widths narrow to wide; sizes 7–14) for $125+

    26. A comfy and aesthetically pleasing butterfly chair because dorm furniture isn't always designed with comfort in mind.

    "It was so nice to have a comfy chair to relax in instead of just the crappy dorm furniture." —Dana V.

    Get it from Target for $34.99 (available in two colors). Or, check out other options from Bed Bath & Beyond and PBteen.

    27. A foldable rolling cart to make carrying groceries to your dorm a less labor-intensive process.,,,

    "Last year was my first year at college and the travel from the parking lot to my dorm was horrible and uphill. Went to Walmart and got a $25 cart that folded up to fit in a corner of my room to carry my stuff in after a shopping spree, and people kept telling me I was a genius for it the rest of the year! It really was so worth it and very inexpensive for all the use I get out of it." —Lea T.

    "A foldable sports cart is the best thing my dad bought me when I started college. It fits in my car trunk, and I can bring my groceries up without struggling; I've gotten so many oohs and awws." —Naila Warren, Facebook

    "I used it to carry in groceries from my car, etc. The reasoning for the file box is it folded up so nicely and would slide easily between my desk and the wall. With having to park FOREVER away from my dorm, it made things very convenient.

    Alex H.

    Get them from Amazon: the sports cart for $66.70+ (available in six colors), the rolling file box for $17.03, the metal shopping cart for $34, or the dolly cart for $29.99 (available in 29 colors)

    Okay, now you'll be prepared for anything!


    Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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