It’s my favorite time of year—back to school. The ads are out, the commercials are playing, and there is fear in the heart of every mother. Today, in the interest of every parent everywhere, I would like to discuss with you the lies the media tells you about what you need for college, and what you will actually need.
Lie #1: Matching everything. Every ad is the same—a beautifully coordinated dorm room with matching sheets, towels, blankets, rugs and accessories. You don’t need them. Trust me. Your towels and sheets will be stained and disgusting by the end of the year no matter how often (or how little) you wash them. Don’t bother getting the pretty
towels or those sheets. Your towels will inevitably end up in a sodden heap on the floor, and your sheets will become wrinkled, if they even stay on your bed at all. Get something basic and something that you don’t mind being having unspeakable acts done to. The same goes for rugs. You will never wash your rug. As much as you swear up and down that you will be responsible and wash your linens, you won’t. You will realize half way through the year that your dwindling supply of quarters could be better spent on food (2 ramen for .25 equals 8 meals for the price of a load of laundry, kids.) rather than on producing cotton-y fresh goodness for that little square of cotton that lives on the floor. Your towels, rugs and sheets will be spilled on, trodden over and generally mistreated for the better part of a year. Just get something cheap and bright and call it a day. Don’t get emotionally attached. I recommend burning at the end of the year.
Decorative pillows seem like a good idea at the time. But trust me—after the 15th time of tripping over them as you fall into bed, they will be chucked into a corner and there rest for the duration of the year.
Lie #2: Stupid accessories. I don’t know what evil person came up with all of those stupid little desk organizer thingys they sell in various and assorted bright dorm-y colors, but here is my tip: don’t buy them. Baskets, boxes and bags and invaluable to you, but a stand-up book organizer will be used exactly twice: once on the first day of school when you proudly arrange your books on your desk, and then again as a doorstop and/or balancing stand for your PS2. You will not use paperclips or rubber bands enough to warrant little baskets for them in your desk. Instead, get a stapler. And tape. You will never have enough tape. And having a stapler means that you can be the kid who shows up prepared to class, instead of having to frantically search for one 15 minutes before your midterm is due.
Lie #3: An expensive computing/gaming/electronics/sound system. No one in the history of college has ever actually bought the ridiculous array of electronics that some stores try to peddle to innocent newbies. You do not need surround sound in your dorm. Trust me. You might like being able to “really feel like you’re in the movie, dude”, but the beat-down that your next door neighbors will provide about half way through semester one isn’t worth it. Also, buy a durable laptop. You might treat your laptop like it’s a newborn, but that won’t matter when your idiot roommate spills his beverage all over it at 2AM before your final paper is due. Invest in the warranty. It’s worth it.
Stay tuned for the next part of this two-part series. Next week: Dorm Dining and What Not To Wear.