Say This, Not That by Ilana Kukoff and Jessica Huddy

What to Bring to College

Dear Ilana and Jess: I’m about to start my first year of college. How do I know what to bring? – Kiana

Dear Kiana: You may be accustomed to your run-of-the-mill, back-to-school, department-store-run, but this is another thing entirely. You’ve probably never had to pack day-to-day items for long-term use. Maybe you’ve never even moved houses or taken a trip. From storage containers to dryer sheets, it’s important to make sure you have everything you need for the long haul. Where to begin?

First, make a list. Sounds deceptively simple, but you’d be surprised by how many people don’t start here. Next, break the list down into categories. Use whatever breakdown makes sense to you, but we suggest the following: bedroom needs, storage, laundry supplies, school and desk supplies, electronics, shared items, clothing, toiletries, household and kitchen items, miscellaneous.

When you’re done writing the list, carry it on you as you go about your day, so that you can jot down anything you need but may have forgotten on the first round. When you start to pack, turn this list into a checklist. Voila.

Next, check your college’s list of approved items. You may think it’s unimportant – until you buy a brand-new microwave, only to have it confiscated during the first week of classes. Colleges have a lot of rules about what you’re allowed to bring and always have a list of prohibited items.

Read the student handbook – yes, read, don’t just skim, as most people tend to. Effectively, that handbook is a contract, and you’ll be considered responsible for upholding it, regardless of whether you bothered to read it or not. Reading things carefully is a big part of adult life, and this is no exception; you should always know what you’re agreeing to.

Finally, coordinate with your roommate. Most colleges will provide you with your roommate’s name and contact information before the semester starts. Reach out to your roomie-to-be and coordinate who will bring what with them; especially when it comes to bigger items, like a TV or mini fridge.

Say This: “Hi! This is Kiana, your new roommate. I can’t wait to meet you! I’m doing some packing for school right now, and I wanted to reach out so we can coordinate what we’re bringing; specifically, the bigger items. Maybe one of us can bring a TV and the other can bring a mini fridge?”

Not That: “Just bring whatever you have, and I’ll do the same.”

Say This, Not That is based on the work of Cognition Builders: a global, educational company headed by Ilana Kukoff (Founder & CEO) and Jessica Yuppa Huddy (Chief Learning Officer). Everywhere from New York City to California to Shanghai to Zurich, the Cognition Builders team is called upon by A-list entertainers, politicians, CEOs, and CFOs to resolve the conflicts that upend everyday life. When their work is done, the families they serve are stronger than ever. With their new book, Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter Kukoff and Yuppa Huddy have selected the most common conversational mistakes parents make, and fixed them. For more information, please visit: To purchase Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter visit: