The One Kitchen Appliance Your College Kid Needs on Campus

A college senior shares the one appliance she couldn't live without.

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July 25, 2019

So, your kid is going to college. Perhaps you never thought this day would come and you’re breathing a sigh of relief. Perhaps you couldn’t wait for this day to come and are already secretly making plans to convert their old bedroom to an in-home gym or, better yet, a walk-in closet. Regardless of how you’re feeling now, when it comes time to drop your kiddo off, it will be emotional. (Mom, don’t worry, move-in day isn’t for a couple weeks. Dad, we see you teary eyed as well; those sunglasses aren’t hiding anything!). One way to keep your worries at bay, though, is to ensure they are fully prepared to tackle this new adventure.

As a college senior, I have come to realize there's one must-have item you need to purchase for your kid to be fully prepared for school. Forget all of those unnecessary gadgets like apple slicers, cookie dippers and soda streams; they’ll just clog drawers and counters. No, no. Stick to the basics, and by basics we mean a microwave. That’s right.

It seems so simple, and it is, which is why it can often get overlooked. If your child is up late in the library, doesn’t want to break their focus while studying or is simply just not in the mood to travel to the dining hall, a microwave is the solution to all of their problems. Cook ramen, EasyMac or a variety of frozen meals from Trader Joe’s in a pinch. Prepare eggs or French toast in the morning for a grab-and-go breakfast. Bake cakes and cookies for a sweet treat late at night. They can even make bread — yes, we've tried it. For someone livingin a dorm without access to an oven or stove, a microwave will be a lifesaver.

In addition to this, your undergrad can also make tea, coffee or hot chocolate to their heart’s desire. They’ll be able to make a baked potato, or even “roasted” garlic if they wish. Most importantly, though, they can warm up leftovers. Ordering food is so convenient nowadays and college students are really leaning into that trend (I can attest; shout out Laut). While we do love our cold pizza and Thai food at any time of day, sometimes warming it up is just what you need.

Finally, "Chef Mike" is great at facilitating friendship. On one of my first nights of college, when all of the chaos of move-in settled down and the idea of actually being on my own rooted itself in my mind, I decided to make some popcorn and watch a movie. I propped my door open, hoping passersby would trickle in and say hello. As the aroma of popcorn permeated the hallway, a few kids shyly peaked their heads into my room looking for a snack and a friend. And, thus, several friendships were born.

So, moral of the story is to buy the microwave. Regardless of what kind of food-related challenges (or friendship hurdles!) your kid encounters, at least you’ll be able to take a deep breath knowing they won't be starving or alone.

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