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  • Writer's pictureKashifa Ansari

Guide to RC Essentials

Last year, around this time, I was putting together a list of items I would need for the move to the Residential Complex (RC). The RC is the on-campus housing available at ICO.

Because this was my first time moving away from home, I didn’t have much knowledge on what to take with me. I came with essentials and bought more things as time went by.

I've come up with a guide for any incoming first years who will be living in the RC or in any off-campus housing. These are some of the items I felt were must haves for living away from home, particularly in the RC.

Mattress Topper

If you are going to get anything off of this list, you need to get a mattress topper. Having this was a night and day difference for me. If you’re living in the RC, you are provided with a mattress which has a zippered mattress cover. I am used to sleeping on a foam bed at home, and had trouble falling asleep the first couple days at the RC. My memory foam mattress topper was a game changer and actually made it comfier than my bed at home! Trust me, with the rigor of optometry school, the last thing you want to do is stay up all night because you weren’t comfortable in your new bed.

If you’re living off-campus, definitely invest in a good comfortable mattress! Chances are that you will be using it for the next 3-4 years, and you really want to be able to get a full night’s rest.


This will really come in handy in the colder months. Each room in the RC has its own heating/cooling control and the heat can be very drying.

This is not specific to the RC. Any place you live in in Chicago can get very dry with the heat constantly turned on in the colder months. Having a humidifier will really help with dry skin and the thirstiness the heat can sometimes cause.

Mini Fridge and Microwave

I would like to mention that the RC does have a kitchen, located on the first floor, and lounges on each floor with a fridge and a microwave. I personally preferred to have a mini fridge and microwave in my room, because I would bring food from home and store it in there.

This is something that might already be in your off-campus apartments, especially if they are fully furnished. If you’re debating on whether to purchase this, there is usually a fridge and microwave sale in the beginning of the school year that takes place in the RC.

Posture Corrector

This is completely optional, but I put this on here as a disclaimer to please pay attention to your posture while you are studying. A lot of us did purchase this as first-year students, because we unfortunately did get neck and back pain from bad posture while studying. You can many different types of these on Amazon. I am including this as a RC or apartment essential because, most probably, a lot of your late-night studying will be done here.

Other must-have items:

- Pillows, bed cover, comforter/blankets

- Full length mirror

- Mini ironing board and iron

- Laundry basket

- Medical Kit

- Command Strips

- Snacks

I bought these items from Target and Bed Bath and Beyond.

Optional items:

- Mini vacuum (There is one vacuum on each floor of the RC, but it is nice to have your own. My roommate was gracious enough to let me borrow hers.)

- Backrest pillow (I am all about having good posture!!)

The best advice I can give you is to make your space a mini home. Decorate and arrange it so it reminds you of home and makes you excited to see it. It will really help when you may be feeling homesick.

Begin planning your own room in the RC by visiting ICO's RC page, viewing a fellow blogger's room layout, and by checking out ICO's campus tour on YouTube!


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