August 3, 1997 in Features

Tight Spots When Deciding What To Take To College, Keep In Mind Dorm Rooms Will Put The Squeeze On You

Nina Culver Correspondent
 

Young men and women all over the Northwest are going over final details in preparing to leave home for college.

The burning question on their minds? “What on earth do I pack?”

The answer is, not much.

The key thing to remember is that dorm rooms are s-m-a-l-l.

Some people’s kitchens are larger than the typical dorm dwelling.

You will have a bed, a desk, a closet and a dresser; that’s about it.

Only a few feet of space will separate you from your roommate, a mysterious person you probably have yet to meet.

In an effort to be helpful, some colleges provide a list of suggested items to bring.

Gonzaga University’s list - divided into necessities, helpful items, and luxuries - includes some suggestions that elicit a few guffaws.

Clothes are on the list of necessities, naturally, but they make sure to specify that you need clothes for four seasons. (We knew that, didn’t we?)

In a really interesting move, they list a bathrobe as a helpful, but not necessary, item.

Just what do they expect people to wear when they go down the hall to take a shower? Is a Jesuit institution really advocating streaking!?

The real kicker, though, is the category in which computers are listed.

Even though the university recently spent nearly $1 million wiring every dorm room on campus for Internet access, computers are still listed as a luxury. Go figure.

The fact remains you should try to bring something to type your papers on, whether it’s a computer, a word processor or a typewriter.

You will be typing a lot of papers, and being able to do it in your room means you don’t have to stagger across campus to the computer lab when you finally finish writing it at 4 a.m. the day it is due.

Another must is a bike. It’s good for getting around campus and around town, and it’s great exercise. Even students who have cars should consider leaving them at home and riding a bike.

Parking on most college campuses is difficult to find and can get pricey. Just remember to bring a good lock.

Dorms usually have a microwave, television, and VCR that all residents can use. Those items are handy to have in your room, but think compact. (Some dorm rooms, such as those at Eastern Washington University, offer cable.)

One thing that dorms don’t always provide is refrigerators. A lot of schools have compact models for the rooms that students can rent.

It’s a great place to store all those late-night munchies and the milk for your morning cereal or coffee, and it fits neatly in the closet.

The only question that remains is how to decorate your new living quarters.

It’s a good idea to bring a few mementoes and pictures from home; they provide a homey touch and besides, those dorm paint jobs usually leave something to be desired.

But keep the knickknacks and wall hangings to a minimum; there just isn’t a lot of space.

One great way to increase available space is putting the bed up on cinder blocks. Just go to a hardware store and get eight of them - two for each leg - and raise the bed.

An important item to note is that many dorm rooms, including those at Gonzaga and Washington State University, have extra-long mattresses that require special sheets. A good place to check on details such as what size sheets to bring, whether the rooms offer voice mail, and specifications on computer hardware and software you need to hook up to the Internet is the college’s Web site.

WSU’s can be found at www.wsu.edu, the University of Washington is at www.washington.edu, Gonzaga is at www.gonzaga.edu, and Eastern’s address is www.ewu.edu.

And when you finally get to college, don’t forget to study.

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: WHAT TO BRING AND LEAVE HOME Stock your dorm room with: Clothes and hangers (including bathrobe!) Alarm clock Sheets, blankets and pillows Towels Laundry detergent Toiletries School supplies, including dictionary and thesaurus Backpack Stereo Wastebasket Camera Coffee mugs A few plates and bowls Surge protector Some personal items and decorations

What to leave at home: Your teddy bear collection Potted plants and/or trees Anything you don’t want anybody using, touching or stealing That 26-inch television Grandma got you for your birthday Large stuffed chairs and other assorted furniture Lava lamps Herman, the goldfish (or turtle, or tarantula) The ridiculous notion of needing eight hours of sleep a night

This sidebar appeared with the story: WHAT TO BRING AND LEAVE HOME Stock your dorm room with: Clothes and hangers (including bathrobe!) Alarm clock Sheets, blankets and pillows Towels Laundry detergent Toiletries School supplies, including dictionary and thesaurus Backpack Stereo Wastebasket Camera Coffee mugs A few plates and bowls Surge protector Some personal items and decorations

What to leave at home: Your teddy bear collection Potted plants and/or trees Anything you don’t want anybody using, touching or stealing That 26-inch television Grandma got you for your birthday Large stuffed chairs and other assorted furniture Lava lamps Herman, the goldfish (or turtle, or tarantula) The ridiculous notion of needing eight hours of sleep a night


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