10 things you do not need for the dorms

Gabriel Stoffa

Everybody has a list of what you must have for dorm survival, but people don’t tend to tell you what you don’t need.

10) Your acoustic, or electric, guitar. Unless you are an avid musician, it will take up space and make you look like a tool when someone asks you to play and all you know is a bad rendition of Sublime’s “What I Got.” Just play “Guitar Hero” instead.

9) Your entire wardrobe. This is as much for guys as it is girls, you will not wear everything unless you really try. If you have the undeniable urge to wear some random article you left at home, just call your parents and have them ship it. They’ll be happy you called, and more than happy to send it along with a care package of delicious treats.

8) Lava lamps, black lights, etc. As cool as you may think it is, your roommate may not agree — not to mention black lights may bring certain embarrassing sheet stains to light that you didn’t want others privy to.

7) Your CD collection. Again, this takes up vital space, and some of your CDs will somehow disappear as the year goes on — I blame underpants gnomes. Take the time to convert everything to mp3 format on your computer — it’s really quick and easy — and maintain access that way.

6) All your wall adornments. A poster or two is fine, maybe a cork board with a picture mosaic; the point being, your tastes may not be your roommate’s, and they probably have personal touches they want as well. Not to mention you probably don’t want people to define you by your pseudo-pornographic posters of models or movie stars clad only in their skivvies, or photo composition demonstrating your obsession with Edward and Jacob from “Twilight.”

5) Candles, incense, explosives, toaster ovens, things that can burn and explode. These items tend to be banned in dorm rooms; you are not trusted to make certain they are extinguished or turned off before you leave or fall asleep. In the eyes of the university, you are still small children not to be trusted with the cookie jar, and with good reason, you absentminded pyromaniacs.

4) Drug paraphernalia, and even, to an extent, alcohol paraphernalia. Obviously you shouldn’t bring anything that may have been used for illicit drug consumption — something you would never do in the first place — but sometimes people buy a pipe, bong, steamroller, hookah, empty keg, whatever because they like how it looks. Nevertheless, Iowa State has made drug paraphernalia a prohibited item, and getting kicked out of the dorms is not a college adventure you need to choose.

3) Swords, knives, guns, ninja stars, nunchuks, you get the idea. The dorms don’t allow these. Again, I don’t agree with them, but keeping these nifty or fun or protective items in your dorm is asking for trouble, both from your RA and angry roommates.

2) Book collections. Most everything you may want to read in your leisure time — yes, some people read for fun — is available at the library. This is another space issue, and books also have disappearing potential, as new friends may borrow without asking and never return them.

1) Pets. I think you can maybe have a goldfish, but other pets are not OK. Besides the obvious problem of the creature in question getting loose and ending up in someone else’s room, do you really think the university considers you adult enough to properly maintain another living creature? I mean, they don’t even trust you enough to allow a George Foreman indoor grill in the dorms.