I consider the lens to be 2/3 of the equipment equation with everything else being the other 1/3. Camera bodies, lights and modifiers, tripods, monopods, gear bags, etc. are worthless if the light in front of the lens can't reach the sensor at the back of the lens reasonably intact.
Having said that, I think your first priority is to concentrate on the space behind your camera's viewfinder. The most important piece of "equipment" involved in the making of a photograph is the mind of the photographer. Since you are a college student, consider using some of your electives to take an introductory photography course. Not only will you learn the fundamentals of photography in a structured environment, but the basic gear list required by the professor will probably go a long way towards establishing a basic kit. Exposure, composition, and post processing should all figure prominently in the curriculum.
If taking a class is not an option, then read some good sources on your own. This question and this one contain a wealth of information about where to go to learn the basics. I think you will discover as you work through some of the exercises and suggestions in these resources you will see some types of gear mentioned repeatedly. Which leads us to just what is the basic gear you need to learn photography?
Here is a list of what I consider essential gear:
- A sharp, fast lens. For Canon the old standby is the EF 50mm f/1.8. For the money there's probably not a better lens around in the EOS mount. That's not to say it is perfect, but you can take a lot of quality photos with it. Other good "budget" lenses in the "normal" focal range that perform well are the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 Di II, and the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM. The EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS is a good starter telephoto zoom lens (Avoid any version of the EF 75-300!). If you can spend a little more the EF 70-200mm f/4L will introduce you the Canon "L" series. WARNING! You can become addicted to "L" lenses!
- A stable platform. Tripods are a lot like lenses - you usually get what you pay for. If you are careful though, you can sometimes find a bargain. Don't expect to be happy with a $20 tripod designed for a 6 oz. video camera, though. One of the best values I've found was a Ravelli I bought a few years back. It even included a decent pistol grip head for around 100 bucks. It is not quite as good as my Manfrotto legs, but it is vastly superior to any consumer grade video tripod you'll find at mass retailers. If the head has a quick release plate, buy a couple of extras. You'll thank yourself down the road.
- A manageable source of off axis light. You need a flash unit that can be manually controlled and used without being directly connected to the hot shoe on your camera. Ideally you want one that can also work with your camera through E-TTL, which is Canon's name for automatic flash control. If a unit like the 430EX II is more than you can justify, YongNuo makes some very affordable units. Some are E-TTL compatible with Canon. To control it off the hot shoe you can use a simple radio flash trigger that will only cost $20-30, or you can use an off shoe flash cord that costs about the same and comes in varying lengths up to about 10'. With the cheap radio flash triggers you loose E-TTL, but using the off shoe cord allows you to still use it if your flash is E-TTL compatible. What you shoot will determine what kinds of reflectors and other modifiers you may need, but you can make a lot of them yourself fairly inexpensively. See this site for ideas on DIY light modifiers and stands.