Packing for SCAD

“A stack of old suitcases” by Erwan Hesry on Unsplash

Well, here we are. It’s barely four months before the fall quarter starts, but I remember I had friends who had completely finished planning packing by now and had completely packed two months before school started, only to unpack because move-in day was pushed back a week thanks to the hurricane. (I’m looking at you: weather gods. Please DO NOT send another hurricane up to Savannah for the third year in a row. )

So basically there are two ways of getting to SCAD: driving and flying. If you’re flying, pack light. Bring three days of essentials in a carry-on suitcase and a backpack and buy everything else once you get here. (This is three days worth of clothes, bedding because you don’t want to sleep on a bare mattress, your expensive electronics, and basic toiletries.) Ship stuff if you have to. If you’re driving, then you have the luxury of space, but don’t go overboard. The principle is the same: the essentials (things you need to survive without looking like an absolute slob) come first, and everything else comes later. If you intend to come by boat/sleigh/portal gun/an alternative form of transportation, please let me know. I’d like to take a tour.

This is less of a packing guide and more of a things-you-ought-to-have-in-your-dorm guide.

For your bedroom:

Bedsheets, pillows, blankets, and comforters: Beds are Twin XL. Make it cozy and like home, but don’t bring a bunch of throw pillows. They take up a surprising amount of space. Buy those here.

Mattress topper: Turns your bed into cloud nine. Heavenly after a full day of work, or in my case, sitting in front of a series of computers for about thirty hours straight. For the sake of your sanity, don’t do that. Don’t pull all-nighters your freshman year. It’s not worth it.

Stuffed animals: Whether they remind you of home or are characters from elsewhere, it doesn’t matter. It adds instant personality into your personal space. It’s 2018 and adulthood now officially begins at 26. If anything, I didn’t bring enough my first year.

A cozy rug: One that you’re happy to sink your feet into when you wake up. Beats walking barefoot on a cold, hard floor, especially in winter.

A lamp: For your bedside table so you don’t have to stumble your way through the dark from the bathroom when your roommate is already asleep. Also good for reading/working in bed.

Clothes hangers: Bring enough and then some. Most people have a tendency to accumulate clothing.

Clothes, duh: Dress for comfort. But bring good, professional clothes (business casual and business formal) for class presentations and employer visits. One to two weeks of everyday clothing should be sufficient. Also jackets and rain jackets for when it gets cold and rainy. You won’t need a heavy down jacket, but do be prepared for the weather, regardless of what climate you’re from. Also swimwear if you intend to go to Tybee Island or swim in the Hive pool.

Shoes: Same idea as above: some comfortable shoes, some shoes that go with your business outfits, slippers/ flip flops for the pool or as general dorm slippers, and ideally rain boots. Emphasis on comfortable: you will do a lot of walking, as there aren’t that many places to park your car if you bring one as a freshman.

Medicines/ First aid kit: Take care of yourself, both physically and mentally.

Phone/Tablet/Laptop and associated chargers: I’m not quite sure how you’ll survive without at least some of these things I’ve just mentioned. Bring spare chargers if you have them.

Another Lamp, maybe? I like having multiple sources of light but maybe one will be just fine for you.

Stationary and art supplies: See here.

External hard drive (or two):

“There are two types of hard drives: those that have failed and those that haven’t failed yet.”

-John Rauh, SCAD VSFX professor

Always back up everything in at least two different places. That way, if your laptop suddenly fails on your or your arch enemy wipes your other hard drive, at least you’ll have something to fall back upon. (Yes, people have wiped each other’s hard drives. People also steal other people’s stuff, including ideas. Be careful. )

Your Wacom pen or tablet, if you have one: Don’t hurry to buy one, but it will definitely come in handy. Unless you’re an equestrian or writing major, I guess.

A power strip: One per person. It must have the UL approved seal on it. Yes, they actually inspect for it.

Important documents: your SCAD ID (if they mailed one to you, usually only for formerly eLearning students who got their student IDs mailed to them), any health insurance cards you have (I stick mine in the back of my wallet), and for international students, your passport and visa papers.

For the bathroom:

Toilet paper: Enough said.

Hand soap: Useful for getting ink and germs off your hands.

Shower curtain and shower rings: Yes, you have to bring your own. It will probably become disgusting by the end of the year.

Bath mat: Cold tile under wet feet is not fun.

Towels: Stay dry.

Toiletries: Don’t bring half of Sephora, but always make yourself look presentable. You never know when you’ll meet someone important or famous. The number of people they bring to campus is astonishing sometimes.

Cleaning supplies: If you make your room uninhabitable, your roommates will hate you for all eternity, unless they, too, are slobs. Also, the RAs do periodic room inspections.

For shared spaces:

Refrigerator and food storage: What kind of dorm isn’t stocked with food?

Cheap dishes & silverware: Reusable, but if it breaks, it’s no big deal.

Dish soap & sponge: Keep your dishes clean and reusable.

Microwave: If you’re in the Hive, it’s not allowed unless you get the rather overprice Microfridge. I know students who have snuck in their own microwaves, but do a good job of hiding it if you don’t want it to get confiscated.

Throw pillows/ blankets for the couch (Hive): Make the space cozy. Make it yours.

Coffee maker / hot water boiler: Caffeine is a must. All nighters highly discouraged. Must have automatic shutoff.

Brita pitcher / water filter system: Savannah tap water is disgusting. I forgo this and boil my water before drinking it, but most people use some fancy purifier-pitcher for their water.

Trash cans: Take out the trash regularly. Sometimes we would get lazy and it would start to smell.

TV/ Gaming systems: You know who you are. I’m too lazy for all that.

Umbrella: It rains here. Usually it doesn’t snow, and it’s a big deal when that happens. Big deal as in the whole state shuts down for a week.

Decor: Make your space look nice and homey, but don’t go overboard with the decorations. You’ll have to either trash it or store it somewhere when you move out. Use good command strips if you intend to hang stuff. Things will also get moved around if you decide to work on large projects in your room.

If you live in Spring House: a router. They claim that there is wi-fi in Spring House, but it’s only in the lobby. It’s quite the trek if you live on the third floor.

Above all, talk with your roommates about who’s bringing what. You don’t want to bring three TVs and zero shower curtains. It’s not fun showering without a shower curtain. In essence, bring three days worth of clothes, bedding, and basic toiletries in an easily accessible bag in case everything else doesn’t get unloaded the first day. If you have these things with you, you’ll survive just fine until the next Target run. If you’re driving to SCAD, bring a parent or two. You’ll unload a lot faster and you’ll have more time to start unpacking and arranging your stuff.



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Jessica Beckenbach

Jessica Beckenbach


Houdini / Technical Artist. SCAD Visual Effects ‘20. Lives and breathes Houdini, Nuke, Unreal, and (sometimes) Maya.