The basics
Study abroad : Before you leave

Pack light: Items to leave behind when packing for college


You would have probably read a lot of articles telling you what you should bring for college. All of them would probably give very different accounts that soon you realize that you would never be able to fit everything in that small suitcase of yours. You become extremely more exasperated especially when you know for a fact that you have gone beyond the maximum baggage weight limit. You realize that you can’t possibly tote everything for your college trip overseas. So what are you going to do? What should you leave behind? We tell you what are the things that you can probably leave behind at home so that you can pack smart rather than pack heavy.

1. Extension cords, Ethernet cable and HDMI cables

Don’t waste your time carrying these often bulky items which take up a lot of space. First you probably don’t need an Ethernet cable because your campus is wireless and you would probably get wireless signals easily. Your dorm room would probably not have a TV set so you probably would not need the cable. However, if you decide to throw a movie night in the common living space and need to buy a HDMI cable which will connect your laptop and the television, you can probably get them at an electronics store or co-op store on campus or you can probably buy them online. The same applies to extension cords and Ethernet cables.

2. Food

Unless it is a speciality food that you can only find in your home country such as belancan (fermented shrimp), you probably do not have to bring those boxes of instant noodles, snacks and other assorted food items. They are probably available at any convenience store around campus or your housing estate. Moreover, college students are known for experimenting with food so why not try the local produce.

food not to pack

3. External hard drive

Alright, you might think that I am crazy! I mean this is college and you probably have tons of assignments and notes that you need to save on your hard drive. But, again, they are rather bulky items. There are now websites dedicated to doing all that stuff. Dropbox is a good example, not only can you save your documents online safely but you can also share them with your friends if you want to. Nevertheless, if the hard drive is an absolute essential for you, you can always buy them at the electronics or co-op store on campus.

4. Stationary

Yes, you would probably save money if you bring stationary from home. But they take up space and weight especially if you are travelling by plane. You can always buy a cheap ruler, stapler, pens, pencils, notebooks and sticky notes at the co-op store. You would probably lose them anyway on your way to your new dorm so why not just buy them once you have reached your home away from home.

5. Silverware

You would need a fork, knife and spoon when eating but why bring your mom’s expensive and heavy silverware. You can always buy a cheap plastic one once you are settled in your dorm room. Or you can always recycle the ones given to you when you buy take-out. 

So what items will you definitely leaving at home? Let us know in the comments below!


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An avid reader. Fan of Jose Ortega Y Gasset. currently tweeting for @HotcoursesSG