New canvas backpack? Check. Memory foam mattress pad? Check. Hand-knit baby blankie? Wait…no. Packing for college is an incredibly stressful process. Prioritizing which items makes the journey to your dorm room proves tricky. When dismantling your childhood bedroom and stuffing it into boxes, remember that some things are better left at home.
SENIOR CLASS SWEATSHIRT
Alternative: Use your high school T-shirt as a pajama shirt
“Hey everyone! I’m a new college student who’s still in denial that my glory days as high school football captain and senior class secretary are over. It’s okay though, I still wear this sick sweatshirt in hopes that some of my past popularity carries over into university life!” –You when you wear your high school class sweatshirt on campus.
The only thing high school apparel brings to college is a whirlpool of judgment. Keep evidence of your high school self away from the public. Sayonara secondary school, hello higher education.
Alternative: A longboard. A unicycle. Anything else.
Cars cost too much money and bikes make you look mainstream. But does that mean it’s acceptable to ride a Razor scooter across campus? Unless you’re one of the two percent of students who manage to look badass on two wheels, then no. Razor scooters are not acceptable. Invest in something a little less third grade, like a longboard. Not only will you pick up hotties, you’ll arrive to your destination with unbruised ankles and a legitimate reason to wear Half Cab Vans. University of Florida grad student Andrew R. attests to the powers of longboards. “In comparison to other forms of transportation, longboards are portable and inexpensive…It’s a great alternative to walking to class,” he said. “I also recommend a few weeks’ practice before you start riding–that is, to save you from eating shit in front of 50-something people, including your heartthrob from Intro to Vegetable Gardening.”
Alternative: Your university’s practice rooms
Just because your mom puts up with you doesn’t mean your hall mates will be so patient. That drum set your parents grudgingly bought you back in junior high has no place in college. The last thing any sleep-deprived student wants to hear while napping is the crashing of cymbals. I don’t blame you for wanting to be like Joshua Dun, but remember that nobody else wants to hear your slow progression. “If you want to play in closed spaces where you know there are other people around, I would definitely keep them in mind,” University of Florida senior Michelle Sanchez said. “You should always be considerate when you can. Don’t be that jerk that wants to play their electric guitar at like 1 a.m.” Trust me, your roommates will thank you.
EXTENSIVE SPEAKER SET
Alternative: Stylish headphones
Just like instruments, a massive speaker system is a big no-no for your college packing list. If you live in an off-campus house and plan to throw weekly ragers, then fine, load up your pair of Behringer speakers with Bluetooth capability. If you live in a dormitory (or any building with shared walls), do yourself and your neighbors a huge solid by keeping the volume to a minimum. “Blasting music in the dorm just ain’t a good idea,” Walla Walla University sophomore Bo Rapozo said. “It turns people’s concentration into frustration against their dorm buddies.” While blaring tunes through your fancy speakers may sound like something that’ll make you popular on your hall, it’ll just have your RA at your door faster than Busta Rhymes’ verse in “Look At Me Now.”
VINTAGE BEANIE BABY COLLECTION
Alternative: One item from the collection (if you must)
Every 90s baby knows the power Beanie Babies hold to brighten a person’s day. Even so, society expects young adults to act independent and not cuddle their stuffed animal collection to sleep every night (weird, right?). Adjusting will take some time, but believe me when I say that with closed eyes and a little imagination, your pillow will do the trick.
Wait…but what about my limited edition Star Wars action figure collection? Is that acceptable?
I think it’s safe to say that college is never a good place to reveal your packrat tendencies. Whether they’re figurines, stamps or playing cards, save your roommate a cringe or two and keep them in the past.
PROFESSIONALLY-TAKEN FAMILY PORTRAITS
Alternative: Your favorite family selfie
Nothing says, “I have an unusual attachment to my parentals and wish they were always by my side” more than a cheesy framed photo of your suburban family on the nightstand. Printing photos of your family before you move isn’t a bad idea, but there’s a fine line between cool and crazy. A picture of you and your sister mooning Prince Charming at Disneyland? Hell yeah. A picture of your whole family unit side-hugging in front of a Picture People backdrop? No. 100 times no. A decade-old picture of your brothers giving you a wedgie? Print. That. Out. A picture of your parents wearing Santa hats and kissing you on each cheek under a mistletoe? This photo shouldn’t even exist. Photos are a great way to spice up your dorm room and remember your loved ones…just choose carefully.
THE FAMILY PET
Alternative: A fish, duh
Cuddling a pup makes for a warm and fuzzy activity, but pets need room to roam. Walla Walla University graduate Megan Davis smuggled a kitten into her dorm and noted the challenges it brought. “It was a struggle to get him in and out of the dorm for fresh air and keep him hidden from the RA,” Davis said. Tossing Lucky into the closet and telling him to “be a good boy” every time your RA stops by won’t go over well for you, especially if Lucky’s in the mood to make noise. Puppy, kitty, chinchilla or boa constrictor, let’s agree to at least follow this one school policy. “I suggest going to the Humane Society to love on animals as an alternative,” Davis said. “Those animals need extra care and attention. It’s a great date, group outing or just a rejuvenating ‘you’ time.” If heading across town to play with shelter animals each weekend isn’t enough, PetSmart has a great selection of beta fish waiting to be named Bubbles.
Alternative: Facebook photo albums
Who would think to bring their yearbooks to college? Me. I did. I am not proud.
I overthought everything about college, asking myself questions like, “What if I meet the love of my life this year and want to show pictures of my younger self?” I’m still very single, and if I had jumped into a relationship, I doubt that yearbook-skimming would have been a fun date idea. My old yearbooks ended up collecting more dust than the 1997 Enrique CD your mom hid in her glove compartment. Learn from my mistake. Use that bookshelf space for more important things and stalk your preteen Facebook albums if you want to take a trip down memory lane.
Alternative: I think it’s pretty obvious
Your fifth grade backpack with two plastic wheels and a retractable handle stares at you from the depths of your closet. You take a break from packing, a wistful look crosses your face and you begin missing the simpler times of kickball and fun backpacks. Does this nostalgic moment mean you should give the rolly backpack another chance? Nope. “It was my first day at my new school. I was sitting in class looking around to see who was in it–who looked nice, who might become a friend,” Palomar College junior Kat Todd said. “When I saw the rolly backpack, I automatically thought not them!” As fun as it may have been pulling your books around as a tween, that old backpack needs to step back. Give it a quick spin around the house (for old time’s sake) and put it back where it belongs…in the closet. Or the trash.