You will, of course, need your toothbrush. And you will, of course, need your pajamas.
But what else? And what don't you want to bring the Harvard?
DO bring lots of underwear; you'll save some money. Why? Because the secret to a laundry-free year is oodles of undies. Maybe you'll never have to see a damp basement laundry room in Hurlbut or Weld. If you're clean on the inside, who cares about the outside?
DO bring your high school yearbook, but be careful. If you think it would be a cute conversation piece, then go ahead. But be aware that when your new Harvard friends page through it, they will see that dorky picture of you in the cafeteria with a wad of spinach stuck between your teeth. Then you'll be sorry.
In fact, high school stuff might not be such a great idea, after all. At Harvard, you have the opportunity to be someone completely new. That varsity football letter jacket might be hard to explain if you come here and decide you want to join, say, the Advocate.
And DON'T bring a high school relationship. You'll only rack up hefty phone bills. Plus, you might as well start exploring the strange world of Harvard relationships as soon as your arrive. If you wait until February of your first year to break up with Alissa or James, you'll be overwhelmed when you finally venture out into the Yard social scene. Harvard's dating pool is inundated with bitter, post-reading-period dumpees on the rebound and dumpers "not yet ready for a relationship."
DO bring formalwear. Harvard just loves to get dressed up. Charity balls, house formals and play openings (yes, play openings) provide ample excuses for shedding jeans and sweatshirts for black ties and velvet dresses.
In the fall, fancy affairs turn up every month or so. And in the spring, you will be invited to take part in the House formal scene.
Note that "formal wear" doesn't necessarily mean "prom dress." Harvard women suffer from a fear of looking too "high school" when selecting a dress for a formal. Consequently, all Harvard women must eventually acquire the Little Black Dress for that sophisticated "college" look.
DON'T bring a huge picture with a heavy gilt frame. Harvard hates nail holes. Instead, the Yard powers that be will provide you with "poster gum," which is basically useless. Find other way to hang pictures, or get used to minimalism of blank walls.
DO bring a camera. Inevitably, it will be buried under piles of unwashed laundry in the bottom of your closet when prime Kodak moments arise, but any photos are fun to pore through later.
If you have access to a video camera and don't mind the risk of burglary, you might consider bringing it. Film each other on the night of you house formals: Mom and Dad are at home, and someone has to take their place.
DON'T bring your dog or cat. Harvard doesn't allow pets, so you will have to leave Fido or Fluffy at home. Be strong. Improvise. You could try to content yourself with the 300,000 too-tame gray squirrels in the Yard. Or you could just bring your loving teddy bear instead.
DO bring a photo of your loving family. They'll miss you, and while you might not miss them so much, you will think of them occasionally. A picture will help you remember what they look like. Just make sure it's not too big.
DON'T bring a bunch of swimming suits. One is okay, but you'll find that Cambridge is not exactly Tahiti. Resign yourself to the fact that you will never be as tan as your best friend who attends that prestigious university on the West Coast.
DO bring extensive rain gear. Umbrella, rain coat, duck boots--the whole works. It rains here. A lot. Sometimes, an umbrella alone does very little to protect you from Boston's torrential downpours, which are usually accompanied by gusty winds. And the old brick sidewalks of Cambridge have a way of collecting rainwater and ruining shoes. If you don't like getting wet, consider transferring.
DO bring guidebooks and maps of Boston and New England. There's no reason why you should have to stay cooped up in Lamont Library every weekend. During reading periods, you'll appreciate the chance to escape to a place where people think "crimson" is just another color.
DO bring mittens. It can get a bit chilly in the winter, and when it snows you'll want to participate in snowball fights without freezing your fingers off.
DON'T bring a car. The T can take you anywhere you need to go. Parking in Cambridge is a nightmare, and drivers in Boston are among the world's worst.
DO bring a calling card. Dealing with the Harvard Telephone Office and their PAC codes is no way to live.
DON'T bring the idea that you are "the mistake." Most likely, your roommate is the mistake.
As corny and parental as it sounds, DO bring an open mind. There are a million-and-one different kinds of people at Harvard, and a million-and-one different things to do. Don't limit yourself to your room. You'll be missing out on a lot. You'll get lonesome. You'll get really, really bored.
One final tip, though it seems obvious: DON'T bring your SAT scores. Just don't. Please.