A year’s worth of college puts you on a separate plane from the eager fresh faces that’ve just been let off the parental leash for the first time in their lives. There’s a wisdom that comes with knowing the ropes — like avoiding classes that meet more than twice a week, or where to find grease at any godforsaken hour. You’ve also made friends (some probably for life) and finally have a say over where you live and who you live with. Craft a smart plan, lean on your parents, and with a little bit of luck your new home might actually be a house. You’ve earned the extra space, now make it your own.
Lenovo Yoga 2 Touch Screen Laptop
So maybe you haven’t joined the yoga bandwagon (and dating goldmine) on campus, but don’t let the name of this versatile laptop sway your opinion. Weighing in at 3 pounds and measuring only 0.7 inches thick, you’ll forget it’s in your bag more than once. A 360-degree flip-and-fold design also allows the computer to easily transform from a traditional laptop into a 11.6-inch multitouch tablet with plenty of room for your notes and growing media library thanks to 500GB of storage space. All of those mobile chops are perfectly matched with a speedy Intel® Pentium® quad-core mobile processor that’s optimized to sip battery power, helping you push through a whole day of classes with ease.
Timbuk2 Classic Messenger Bag + Dolores Chiller
There comes an age where backpacks start to feel sophomoric; that should come before sophomore year. Timbuk2’s classic messenger should need no introduction. It’s perfect for schlepping books to class. Pick up the compatible Dolores Chiller Insert, which transforms the bag’s spacious interior into a cooler, and you may never go a day without it.
GE Compact Microwave
Cold pizza may have a cult following, but most foods taste better hot. GE’s compact microwave will do the trick without hogging precious space.
Pioneer SP-PK52FS Home Theater Speaker System
Your new digs finally have space for a party, so a sound system is key. Pioneer’s SP-PK52FS Home Theater System designed by audio legend Andrew Jones is rated by experts as the best budget choice around. The complete package will ensure that movie night stays at your place, but it’s the two front towers and subwoofer in particular that’ll keep up with the weekend crowds.
Sharp 55-inch TV with Roku Streaming Stick
A bigger place calls for a bigger screen. Sharp’s 55-inch set comes at a relative bargain and includes Roku’s handy streaming stick for accessing services like Netflix, Hulu Plus and your parent’s HBO GO account. Got a date somewhere else? Just take the Roku with you.
Sonic Editions x Impossible Cool Venice Collection
Icons of cool in an iconic place makes for an excellent wall art formula. The series includes ten previously unseen images from the Achivio Cameraphoto Epoche. Only 495 examples were made, so there’s little risk of seeing these elsewhere on campus.
Snow Peak Kanpai Bottle
Whether it’s hot coffee or cold…water, Snow Peak’s Kanpai bottle will make sure your beverage of choice stays at the optimal temperature, no matter how long your lectures drag on.
Room Essentials Jacqueline Futon
With a great house comes great hosting responsibility. This affordable futon looks great as a couch and will serve your road tripping buddy well on weekend or weeklong visits.
Patagonia Nano Puff Hoody
This windproof and water-resistant shell can be worn on its own as a jacket in the fall or be used an excellent insulating base layer in the dead of winter. The 60-gram PrimaLoft Gold insulation also easily compresses down inside most bags, making it easy to take anywhere.
Nike Roshe Run
Nike’s relatively new Roshe line has been a runaway success for good reason. The shoe’s clean silhouette looks great under jeans and most weekend attire, while its comfortable fit and light weight make it more than capable for casual sports on the quad. We prefer the basic black offering, but you can always take the Nike ID route to craft your own look.
Under Bed Storage Boxes
They aren’t glamorous. Neither is seeing your junk strewn all over the room. Maximize your space and keep clutter under control by squirreling these under the bed.
Uniball Jetstream Pens
Pen fanatics and experts agree that the Uniball Jetstream’s smooth writing chops and quick-drying, pigment-based ink make it one of the best pens available, particularly at this price point. Don’t believe us? Check out the the Wirecutter’s methodical review.
Discraft 175 gram Ultra Star Sport Disc
You won’t catch Ultimate highlights on ESPN anytime soon, but you’d never guess that from the way your friends approach the game. Make sure you practice with the official disk of the USA Ultimate Championship Series since 1991.
Weber Smokey Joe Gold Grill
Tailgates, lawn parties, midnight cravings; there’s no shortage of reasons for having a grill on call. Weber’s Smokey Joe is perfectly sized to cook for a small group over a charcoal flame and can easily be hidden in a closet when not in use.