RED Hearts: What To Pack For College

RED Hearts are guest posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today. Today’s RED Hearts post is from RED author Zoe Mendelson, 22, in NYC, who writes about what you absolutely must pack for college:

Packing always seems to come with the end of summer -- off to college, back-to-school, last-gasp road trip. And it’s always way more difficult than it should be. You look around your room, and you’re so used to grazing over everything in its usual spot that you can’t even see it to know to pack it. Packing for college is an extra challenge because you can’t really know what you’re going to want in your new room and need in your new life.

Besides the obvious, here are my top-three packing recommendations: 1. Shoes (I forgot to do this); 2. Hydrogen peroxide (I have found it’s a miracle remover of most any stain); 3. Your favorite stuffed animal (I am not joking). In fact, item number-three is perhaps the most essential. Yes, it’s a blatant symbol of childhood in a place where you want to seem grown up. But you know what? Nobody else knows whether to be cool or nice either -- and being nice will get you a lot farther.

The beginning of college can be, not to scare you, but really, really lonely. And I think the loneliest moments are those spent awake in a strange new bed at night, especially when amplified by the awkward silence between you and your roommate. There is, I promise, no better remedy for that than a stuffed animal.

This is my stuffed animal. His name is Mooky and he is a pink walrus. He has a beany butt, he is a very good snuggler and neck pillow, and he is so cute it is truly ridiculous. (The patch on his tusk is a skin graft that my grampa sewed on him last week to mend a dog bite.) One look in his little black, eerily expressive eyes and even grown men are brought to baby talk. Mooky is not just a creature comfort but a soul healer and something of a celebrity for it. He may or may not have a Facebook. Just saying.

My best friend recently went through a tough breakup and simultaneous solo move to a new city, so I lent her Mooky (hard to part with, but I knew she needed him). She was so sad to give him back that I decided to get her a Mooky of her own. When my other friends caught wind of this, well, let's just say I ended up buying five more Mookys… for girls who just graduated from college, who are in law school, and who are, I promise, very very cool (and nice).

Anyway, if you too are very very cool and nice and don’t have the right childhood beast of your own to pack, Mooky might be the greatest stuffed animal ever made. He is available for $8-$20, plus shipping.

RED Hearts guest poster Zoe Mendelson is an author of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today, which is out in paperback.