It’s college shopping season! I’m sure if you are a freshman reading this you have already made your fair share of trips to Target, but before you max out your parents’ credit card on brand new, well,everything, there is a list of items that are 100% unnecessary to bring to college. Take it from a seasoned college student, I was once a rookie in this department, and as a senior I am planning on heading back to school with the bare essentials only. Sadly, college dorm rooms do not look like Rory’s from Gilmore Girls. There is just enough room for you to live, and that is it. Here is a definitive list of the things you can leave at home.
I am not talking about your dog or cat. Most schools only allow you to own a furry pet provided you have your own housing off campus. I’m talking about fish and other aquatic creatures. Many colleges allow freshman to bring fish their first year, thinking that new roommates may bond over sharing responsibilities of a common pet. All I’m going to say is my roommate, who I remain best friends with despite her murderous ways, essentially killed off her fish, Paco, mid year. She claims it was unintentional, but when the green film formed over the top of the fishbowl, I knew the little guy was a goner. Seriously though, having any small creatures is an added expense to your already plummeting savings and you will become the girl/guy who cleans his/her fish bowl every week in the last sink. That is if you decide to clean the fish. RIP Paco.
2. A Printer
It’s very simple: the first time you have to buy a new ink cartridge, you will never print in your room again. Printing is expensive, and typically there is at least one place on campus that allows you to print for free. In fact one of the selling points of my school is that all printing is free. If you are deciding between going to Harvard or a school that has free printing/ laundry, pick the latter. But really, having a printer in your room is cumbersome and will become a hassle more than a help. Save the desk space for more framed pictures of your “bestiezzzz 4 lyfe!” and don’t bring the printer.
3. An Iron/ Ironing Board
This is probably one of the more important items I will mention, considering a fish you can “accidentally” kill and a printer is at least useful until it runs out of ink. An ironing board will serve absolutely no purpose. I know, you are getting agitated because you just bought that adorable lime green iron and the mini board to go with it in the Room Essentials aisle at Target, but return it. The number of times you will actually take the time to set up the ironing board and then iron your clothes are slim to none. In fact, some dorms consider irons a fire hazard and won’t even allow you to have them. After the first week of class, when you realize your schools girl to boy ration is 70:30 you will be wearing sweatpants. Repeat it with me: return the ironing board.
4. A coffee pot
I know I know, you just bought the mini Keurig and you totally just got your fave hazelnut coffee to go with it! You are picturing yourself walking to class, looking pretend stressed yet shabby chic, holding the really cute Vera Bradley travel mug your grandma got you. Once again, the second you need to buy a $12 pack of k-cups, you will regret taking the coffee maker. Eventually, when you are not afraid of the cafeteria anymore, you will be running to get the watered down Mountain Green coffee, and you will love it. Also, you will always make a friend who uses you for your k-cups if you have them. Not cool. Unless your freshman year dorm has a kitchen in it (which is totally unlikely), the coffee maker is a bad idea.
5. New Textbooks
If you are the first kid in your family to go to college, there is a good shot your parents will try to buy you brand new textbooks. This will be the biggest waste of money. Textbooks are ridiculously expensive and chances are the only time you will even open them is during finals week. Or better yet, your one d-bag of a professor will ask you to order a text book that you never get to in class, OR make you order the text book he wrote. I get it, you want to write your own notes and you don’t want to have to deal with the high possibility of random penis pictures popping up. Take it from me, the cash you will save is worth the penises. And hey, if you are really lucky, the person who had the textbook before you left the best notes ever.
6. A Credit Card
Credit Card companies target young spenders like crazy. It is a strategic move considering you are on your own for the first time and it is easy to forget that you actually have to pay a bill for credit cards at the end of the month. To be totally honest, budgeting is really hard your first year in college. Meeting new friends and having to buy your own shampoo for the first time depletes the money you have been saving since freshman year of high school pretty fast. You have to be careful with your own money and adding a credit card into the mix is just bad news bears. If you do decide to get a credit card, you have to be super responsible with it, or else you’ll end up in debt due to purchasing k-cups, ink cartridges, and fish food.
I wouldn’t say bring no DVDs at all, but I will say pick a few of your absolute faves. I guarantee everyone on your floor will have an unbeatable collection of movies when combined. There is barely enough hours in the day to get homework and extracurriculars done with, there will be practically no time to fit in a movie. My best advice, turn on TBS during the day on the weekend if you want to watch a movie. I am sure Wedding Crashers is bound to be playing. Some colleges even have a movie channel where students get to vote on which movies to watch for the month. Trust me, the DVDs are just another waste of space.
8. Expensive Electronics or Furniture
Broken. If you are an aspiring DJ and you bring your stereo and turntables, you can consider those babies broken. You officially pronounced yourself the party room which basically means a spilled beer on your stereo or a drunken idiot falling into the machinery. It is done for. This pretty much goes for any big or expensive appliances/furniture you think you can’t live without: your blu-ray player, your Mac extra large screen desktop used for graphic design, your 60 inch plasma screen tv, your plush love seat (it can happen) or anything of the sorts. If you have the best of anything, everyone will want to hang out in your room and you can consider that s**t either broken or you can live without privacy for the next two semesters.
9. High School Memorabilia
I know it is hard to believe, but you are about to fall in love with a new stage in your life, and high school will not be a part of that. You definitely do not need to bring your year book or anything related to high school to fill your time. New friends, new goals, new everything. You are about to embark on the best four years of your life that are going to make high school look like a complete waste of time. It is a time to change anything you don’t like about yourself. No one knows you. Start fresh and leave the high school stuff in the past.
10. High End Alcohol
Hahahahahhahaaaaaa…. Do not come to college with Absolut in tow. Even if your older sister bought it for you as a going away gift and you have been hiding it from your parents in your underwear drawer for the last few weeks. You will ruin your college alcohol experience forever. If you are drinking a high end alcohol the first couple of times in college, the handle of whatever the lowest brand of alcohol your local liquor store sells will never sit well with you. Its an expensive habit to begin with, and you don’t want to get used to the good stuff. Also, when you are drinking (responsibly I hope) you will suddenly become the most generous person alive. After approximately 1 and a half drinks you will be passing around your alcohol like it is gum or hand sanitizer. You do not want to be passing around expensive alcohol. Side note: that is a great way to contract mono your first week of college.
This may be blunt, but it is true. I am sure you will still bring all this stuff, but you can’t say you weren’t warned!