20 Things You Should Pack to Help Ensure You Stay Safe and Healthy on Campus

Packing for college can be an overwhelming process, and although you can purchase a majority of your dorm essentials during that first week, there are some items — yes, including medicines and first-aid supplies — that should be picked up and stowed away prior to drop-off day.

If your parent or guardian is anything like mine, they probably have several college packing lists going already. For me, first-aid supplies were never much of a priority. I was more concerned about my bedding and hanging twinkling lights than stocking up on Band-Aids or checking to see if the bottle of hydrogen peroxide had expired. But the first time I woke up with a hangover, I was grateful that my mom had made sure I packed ibuprofen. Likewise with the allergy pills she snuck into my first-aid kit because she knew my sinuses would go crazy when the seasons changed. She may have been thousands of miles away, but she knew exactly what I needed.

Even though I definitely didn't need the five bags of cotton balls that were stashed in my luggage, I was prepared for any sickness or minor injury that came my way. Yes, picking out your dorm decor is fun and exciting, but preparing a first-aid kit is a crucial task you should check off your list before stepping on campus. Here's a comprehensive list of medicines and supplies to help get you started (including a few *uniquely* 2020 additions).

  • Reusable cloth face masks
  • Disposable face masks
  • Thermometer
  • Allergy medicine
  • Cold and flu medicine
  • Cough drops
  • Acetaminophen
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen
  • Band-Aids in several sizes
  • Sterile gauze pads in several sizes
  • Cotton balls
  • Disposable sterile gloves
  • Hydrogen peroxide (for cleaning scrapes and cuts)
  • Alcohol-free cleansing wipes
  • Itch-relieving cream
  • Antibiotic ointment, such as Neosporin
  • Disposable instant hot and cold packs
  • Tweezers
  • Nail clippers
  • Scissors