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08.17.11

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Phaedra

You Need This!

A guide to all those 'college essentials'

By Justine McDaniel


I knew I should have gotten the back shaver. That was my first thought as I moved into my dorm freshman year, looked around at all my cool, hairless classmates and realized that I should have listened to the dorm gods of Bed Bath & Beyond if I ever hoped to fit in here. I mean, out of the entire realm of freshman year faux pas—let's not talk about the time I dropped my plate, slipped in spaghetti sauce and fell down the stairs; or when I accidentally used an umbrella instead of a raincoat in Seattle (major mistake if you ever want to fit in with the locals); or the semester I thought it was OK to blast High School Musical 3 with my roommate and dance around on benches like I was Vanessa Hudgens—no, I'm pretty sure my failure to buy a back shaver is what socially ruined me.

But don't worry, young collegiate! There is still hope! Each year, anyone who's anyone in Big Box Store Land puts out a catalogue advising freshmen-to-be of all the dorm necessities to be purchased before Mom and Dad send you off. As long as you obey the dorm-supply gurus and their keen knowledge, you can succeed in college.

To wit: in addition to the back shaver, Target tells us we will need a 34-piece Tupperware set. Now, your mom might try to just pass you off with a few of those wimpy Glad click-and-lock bowls, but that won't fly at college, no siree. What are you going to do with the two-dozen leftovers you want to bring home from the cafeteria every night to eat for breakfast the next morning? (Trust me, the food will be so good, you won't be able to resist.)

Now that you've got your mealtimes covered, don't forget to bring all the things Bed Bath & Beyond wants you to buy but that are outlawed in most dorms in the country—like barbecue grills, toasters and air-freshener candles. If you set off the fire alarm when you want a grilled-cheese sandwich at 3 in the morning, who cares? All the earplugs you bought to protect against your noisy roommate will shield your ears from the sound, and the three-piece sleep mask and portable pillow will allow you to sleep anywhere, so don't worry! You can snooze on the sidewalk outside until the fire sprinklers stop soaking your stuff.

In fact, everything you need for the rest of your life can be found in the dorm-essentials catalogues. They are your bibles. Do not scoff at them, for it will only lead to social and academic ruin. Like, hey, if you decided to add a dog to your den of illegal materials, I bet you could use the back shaver to groom it, too. And then collect all the hair into your 34 pieces of Tupperware and dump it into the trash compactor you conveniently installed in your wardrobe. (Make sure to wash out the Tupperware with your magic four-in-one dishwashing wand.)

It may be a challenge to fit all the essentials into your 15-by-15-foot dorm, but college is a series of challenges, so look at this as the first one. By the time you're done using all your appliances, you might even have a couple of hours left to spend in class.


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