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The ultimate packing list

Story by , Anand Anamika
Illustration by Anamika Anand

“Remember, pack for four weeks, not four months!” 

Medill emails future cherubs this simple advice, but following it is tough. 

Most cherubs overpacked. While bringing extra clothes at least has the benefit of avoiding treacherous laundry lines, other items sit untouched in the dorm room. 

“I genuinely thought I would be able to read here,” said Annika Singh of Fremont, California. “I packed three books, and never used them. ‘Daisy Jones and the Six’ can wait for the flight home,” she said.

What did get plenty of use? Her umbrella. 

“That umbrella became my new best friend,” she said. 

When it wasn’t raining, Sarah Soroosh Moghadam of Los Angeles headed to Northwestern’s lakefront.

“I had no idea that the beach would be right there,” she said. “Bring a swimsuit.” 

Forgetful cherubs hit the local Target or Amazon. 

Ever since she bought a lap desk from Target, Charlotte Zhou of New York City loves working with friends.

“If you’re sitting in the common room, you can easily put your computer on it,” she said. “It’s like a portable table.”

Others chose to purchase more entertaining items. 

“The best thing I have isn’t something I packed,” Dalton Hanna of Los Angeles said. “It’s the projector I bought off Amazon because everyone loves to watch movies!”

Other cherub-specific essentials

  • Hangers. Target sells packs of 10, but save yourself the trouble. 
  • Insect repellent. “There’s every bug out there. Bring bug spray.” — Sarah Soroosh Moghadam 
  • Mirror. “There are no mirrors in your dorm. Like absolutely none.” — Annika Singh
  • Chargers. Choose ones with long cords that make it easy to put a charging phone on a lofted bed. 
  • Bathrobe and shower caddy. You will share a bathroom with up to 10 people.
  • Paper towels. The bathrooms are built with dryers, not towel dispensers. “(And) Pirate’s Booty makes fingers dirty.”— Ingrid Smith  
  • Laundry bag. There’s a lot of laundry and a lot of stairs. 
  • Beach towel, sunglasses, sunscreen. “People will go into the water.” — Sarah Soroosh Moghadam 
  • Umbrella. “Not bringing an umbrella was the worst decision of my life.” — Rachel Cheng
  • Backpack and tote bag. Backpack for class, tote bag for non-class.
  • Speaker. “Having one gives you ultimate rizz.” — Dalton Hanna 
  • Two sets of twin XL sheets. Unless you’re a laundry pro, get double. 
  • Two sneakers. You will need the backup pair because the rain will make one wet.
  • Lamp/alternate lighting. “My roommate goes to sleep early, and this helps me not wake her up.” — Ingrid Smith.
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