What does essential mean?

January 18, 2019

What does essential mean?

Small Steps Go Places takes transition, and breaks the process into manageable steps.  We then help make some of those steps fun and engaging by using gamification.

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Let’s take a closer look:  break the process of transition into manageable steps, and use gamification to make part of the process fun.


I like to compare preparing to go to college to preparing to take a trip.  Some of us are used to doing a lot of research, some of us like to wing it, some of us think doing the research is too difficult, time-consuming or boring. These are all ways that people prepare.


I am asking you to focus on MANAGEABLE STEPS, not being perfect or doing things that you are supposed to do.  Let’s begin by answering a few questions:

Have you traveled before?  Think about this question.  Have you left your home and gone to another places for fun, family, a religious or educational program?  If so, what gave you the most comfort and confidence?  Was it knowing what was going to happen? Bringing the right clothes or equipment?  Being known or anonymous? Something you brought with you from home?  Contact or no contact with family or friends?  The complete unknown?

If you haven’t traveled before, what are you most excited about when you think about going to college?  Knowing or not knowing what to bring, and what is going to happen?  Being known or anonymous? Starting anew? Being with friends?


How you answer these questions help to get your head together.

What will you bring with you?


There are a number of steps to getting ready to go away to college.  This is a basic and very important one.  It’s foundation is how you feel about college.




Living in a dorm or an apartment, alone or with other people, means bringing what is essential. This is a step toward taking care of yourself, being able to be comfortable, and also sharing space with others.  

Picture this:  you need to leave your home and can bring only 10 essential things with you.  You have some time to think, but not a lot.  What are those 10 essential things?  Essential means different things to different people.  This is not the time to be judgmental; it is time to be honest with yourself.



Sheet set and pillow (It’s my favorite pattern & MY pillow)















This is meant to be a guide that helps you not just throw everything into the car, and then try to stuff it into your room or apartment.  


There is a reason why something is essential.  It could be personally important (Huge bear slippers and robe, the box with your calculator, journals, & pens, your lucky shirts from your sports teams, photos from family or friends, etc.) or smart (vacuum cleaner, towels, chargers for phone and computer, over-the-door mirror, etc.)  

This is the chance to think about what you can borrow or buy, and what you can or can’t afford to buy once you are at college.  And, to think about a very important question:

Where will you keep things you end up not needing?



Let’s review:


  • Going away to college is like going on a trip.  You are breaking it into manageable steps by asking yourself questions to help you get your head together

  • Travel light and smart by figuring out what essential means to you


NEXT UP:  What am I like to live with?

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