By: Marcella Micillo, Class of 2017
You’ve spent hours in the library preparing for midterms. You’ve practically been thriving off of Clif bars and coffee. But you’re only working so hard to get to that light at the end of the tunnel: mid-semester break. The battle is almost over, but here are some staples to remember before boarding the Metro-North:
First off, get yourself a proper duffel bag with comfortable straps and a zipper closure that can endure rattling in the trunk of a car or knocking into commuters in Penn Station. Make sure on the top of the bag is your wallet (if it’s not on your person at all times), a portable charger, and anything you may need on your journey such as headphones, a book, gum, or some light reading. Be prepared to keep Metro cards and other tickets within reach.
If you’re heading home, let out a sigh of relief: your packing is half-way done, which means your back won’t break lugging a heavy bag across a crowded platform. Without worrying about extra toiletries or soaps (because, lets face it, mom ALWAYS has extras) you can focus on clothes, shoes, and accessories. Mid-semester break falls in the middle of October yielding cool temperatures with an across the board emphasis on comfort. In your overnight bag you should have at least:
Hand sanitizer/hand lotion: These are important items if you travel home by rail. It’s cold season and millions of hands probably touched that turnstile in Grand Central. Bathrooms with soap are few and far between in mass transportation hubs, so snag a good smelling hand sanitizer. The cold air and the hand sanitizer is a combination destined to dry out skin, so follow up with a fragrant, moisturizing lotion. Pack it in your toiletry bag along with other necessities (like contacts or glasses) and leave it on the very top of your duffel bag for easy access.
One sweatshirt: Comfort is key as aforementioned and what is more comfortable and warm than your favorite sweatshirt? Wearing a sweatshirt in-transit definitely enhances the experience. Bring along your spiffy new Marist sweatshirt that you snagged on family weekend or pack up an old favorite from high school worn with memories.
Sweatpants/leggings: No classes, no stress: wake up at 10:30am on Friday morning and spend a well-deserved day off with a warm beverage and soft pants. Bonus points if you throw in a pair of fuzzy socks.
Two casual outfits: Don’t worry about rolling out the red carpet, but you’re bound to want to look decent when your friends want to catch up. One staple pair of jeans and a few shirts, perhaps a flannel and a sweater, can go a long way and provide a seamless transition from pajamas and sweats to warm jeans and a sweater.
Two pairs of shoes: Family can be unexpected, so it’s best to prepare for any situation. A pair of nicer shoes, like boots or loafers, and a pair of wearable sneakers, like converse or keds, cover the bases for most activities. Packing tip: wear your larger or heavier pair of shoes on the train so you can fit more in your bag.
A scarf: With an unpredictable mix of warm and cool temperatures, it’s best to not commit to a heavy coat. A layered light jacket and a scarf provides warmth to withstand the cold and damp temperatures while a scarf or a jacket separately can suffice for a warmer, milder day. A scarf can also act as an additional, functional accessory.