Things You May Not Have Thought to Bring to Columbia

Categories: Life at Columbia, Uncategorized


It is less than one month away: a new school year!

I remember the shopping trip with my mom a couple of days before I moved to start my new journey at Columbia. We were walking the aisles of the store, trying to imagine what my dorm room would look like, discussing who my roommate might be, picturing my first classes. It was exciting and overwhelming all at once. What did I need to buy, borrow and bring for my first year at Columbia?

Based on our own experience, the Student Development team has come up with our advice for you as you prepare for the new school year. Here is our list of “things you may not have thought to bring to college.”


If you will live in residence…

  1. Did you know we have a “Things to Bring” checklist on our website? Especially if you’re stuck in the middle of the store trying to decide if you need to buy a toilet plunger, this is a fantastic place to start. (Also. Don’t bring a toilet plunger. We provide those.)
  1. Definitely bring the Spiderman sheets. Or the Dora-the-Explorer night light. These fun and only slightly embarrassing things become truly cool in college. At the very least, your childhood favourites will help you start conversation with your pod and hall-mates who will soon be your new friends. You can bond over your Little Mermaid tea set. It will be great.

  1. Hot chocolate. Popcorn. A large bag of 5 cent candies…or carrots and hummus. It’s up to you. Basically, you will want the essentials for late night studying and paper writing. We will provide the coupons for pizza at midnight.
  1. Already have a set of clothes that you can paint in? You might want to bring those along. They will be helpful for volunteer work days, or your service time in the Downtown Eastside. And of course, there’s the annual paint fight on the back field.


If you will live in Senior Housing…


  1. Bring your favourite dishes…but don’t go packing up your parents’ entire kitchen. If you bring a few essentials (think “what do I need to make macaroni and cheese?”), your podmates can also contribute what they have brought, and then together you can do a run to the local thrift stores for the rest.
  1. Try perfecting your best potluck dish before you arrive at Columbia. Potlucks will be an essential part of the Senior Housing experience! Find one (or two) dishes that you love to make, and try them out on your family/friends/coworkers/etc. before you come to Columbia!

If you are going to commute from home…


  1. Buy/borrow/make your own favourite lunch box! The fridge in the commuter lounge is a great place to store your lunch in the morning, and while you are in class you can dream about that amazing sandwich you made. The more interesting the lunch box, the more recognizable it will be…and then the Commuter Hosts won’t accidentally throw out your lunch because it was in a plastic bag.
  1. Bring your schedule to the commuter lounge during the first week, and find out when the free-every-other-week-commuter-lunch starts. You’ll want to add that to your calendar. Also, then you’ll know when your “in between class” down time is: perfect for scheduling board-game time in the commuter lounge.


  1. The blanket you bought in Mexico?  Be sure to place it in the trunk of your car so that on beautiful days, you can head to the field and study with friends! (Just make sure you don’t bring it to the paint fight…see above for explanation).
  1. Look up your grandma’s chocolate chip cookie recipe. Take a picture of it, bring it to the commuter lounge, and we can make cookies in the new oven. In fact, this could be #theyearofthebestcommutercookiechallenge. I think we should start that.

Words for everyone…


  1. Be sure to pack your Bible, laptop, pens, and a notebook. If you’re secretly a fan of buying new school supplies, have fun buying those sticky notes. I know you’ll find a way to use them.
  2. Remember those things that have words in them and are printed on paper? (Just checking, because you ARE the online generation after all). The textbook list is available online so you can plan ahead for your textbook purchases. During the first week of school, the bookstore will be open the same hours as the front reception office.
  3. In the midst of all of these things, we encourage you to grab your Bible and get some time alone. Specifically pray for your year at Columbia, and make room for God to speak about His dreams and desires for you this year. We trust He will speak!

We cannot wait to meet you all. See you soon!

Kathleen Doll is Columbia’s Associate Dean of Students.