Packing for college wouldn’t be complete without some special items to remind these Owls of home.

Jasmine Manansala, Brown College
I brought my Build-A-Bear teddy bear, Petal, with me. She was a present for my sixth birthday. Since she’s wearing a set of my baby clothes, she truly reminds me of my childhood. I’ve held onto her since I got her, and she’s a great portal for reuniting with fond memories of my parents and my home.

Marcus Tierrablanca, Lovett College
It’s a small plastic skeleton hand that was originally the top of a Halloween cupcake. My grandmother used it as a good luck charm in bingo. When she passed away, my mom gave it to my sister as a good luck charm when she went to college. Now that she’s graduated, I bring it with me every year to Rice. 

Joshua Harper, Lovett College
I brought a cross-stitched pillow that my grandma gave me before I left for Rice. It has a sailboat with my initials on its sail. My grandma made a surprise visit for my high school graduation and gave me the pillow then, which was extra special because she doesn’t live in the U.S. and usually only visits during Christmas. 

Noah Fons, Jones College
I brought a sign saying “We Charge for Broken Paddles.” My parents own a campground, and the sign was left behind by the old owners in the game room in reference to ping pong paddles. I saw it most days for the last eight years of my life, and it is now the only item I have directly related to the campground, but it’s a fun, unique thing on my wall. 

Jack Bodnar, Martel College
I brought a silver fleur-de-lis key chain that everyone in my class received during a high school retreat. I brought it with me because it reminds me of my home, St. Louis, as the symbol is on the city’s flag. More importantly, it acts as a personal connection to all my friends and everyone from my class who are now all across the country.

Photos by Jeff Fitlow