It’s the summer right after your high school graduation: you’re psyched and ready to move onto the next chapter in your life! Fall is quickly approaching and you’re surrounded by boxes in a junk-filled bedroom with a blank packing list in your left hand and a Monster energy drink in the right. Perhaps one of the most stressful things about going away to college is figuring out what to bring. From saying your farewells to your friends and family to trying to relax and enjoy the last bit of your home, there’s not much time in between to worry about the daunting task of packing your whole life into the trunk of one car. So here’s a list to take some of that worry off your mind and make your packing just a bit lighter! (If you’re going to be living on campus, that is!) You’ll find some things that are not allowed in the dorms more surprising than others!
The most obvious item not allowed in the dorms. This is a surefire way to get you started on the wrong foot. Not only will it distract you from your education, but it is a violation of the student housing contract and can get you into a load of trouble. Save it for the clubs and friends’ houses off-campus, even the frat parties. (And if you’re just coming into college, you shouldn’t be drinking anyways!)
Instead: Even if you are of age, you still can’t have it in residence hall common areas.
Instead, bring refillable water bottles! There are water fountains in the dorms. There are also vending machines with energy drinks, soda, and more! Each dorm room has its own personal mini-fridge, so why not stock up on whatever tickles your fancy — apple juice, chocolate milk, anything you like. Coffee makers are also allowed if you’re the type of person who can’t function without a fresh cup of joe in the mornings, afternoon, or during a midnight cram session!
Same deal as the alcohol, folks. Big no-no. Illegal drugs, prescription drugs for which you have no prescription, cigarettes, and any object that leads to drugs and drinking (i.e. bongs, kegs, etc.) are not allowed in the dorms. Again, save the LEGAL drugs for off-campus sites and please be safe! Spending your college career in jail would be awfully inconvenient.
Instead: Bring happy drugs. Be high on life, high on friends, high on community values! Learning is a drug, coffee is a drug, and lots and lots of chocolate is a drug. Let’s go for those!
‘Nuff said. And yes, this means fireworks, paintball guns, and super sharp knives too. There are other ways to have fun and a plastic knife works just fine to spread your peanut butter on your late night snack.
Instead: Bring video games that have VIRTUAL swords and guns that fight VIRTUAL people and/or dragons. And if you’re feeling like you want to play with non-virtual weapons come join FSU’s “Humans v Zombie” club on campus and hunt down some of the undead with Nerf guns.
4. Fire Hazards
This one might actually not be as obvious, because it includes things like candles and incense, and other “open element devices” (as they are called in the housing contract). This also includes barbecue grills (how that got to be on the prohibited list must be a fun story) and smaller “open element” appliances like toasters. And finally, any living plant (including seasonal decorations) are also considered fire hazards and are not allowed in the dorms.
Instead: Microwaves and coffee makers are perfectly acceptable as long as they are of a specific wattage (more on that later). Lamps, desktop computers, and TVs are good as well. There are plenty of outlets in your room as well as cable. Just be careful and use common sense. Basically, any item with an open flame is bad.
5. Motorized Vehicles
Everything from motorcycles to segways to hover boards are not permitted inside the residence halls and are definitely not allowed in the dorms (although why you would park a motorcycle in your bedroom, I have no idea). If you really feel like you need a segway to get around campus, find another place to store it. These are all considered fire hazards.
Instead: you can bring skateboards, roller blades, and bicycles into the dorm (as long as you DO NOT use them in the hallways). It might be more convenient to keep your bike on the bike racks that are outside of every dorm hall.
Bonus Tip: Make sure to invest in a good bike lock! Unfortunately, college campuses are notorious for stolen bikes (and even stolen parts of bikes like bike seats and the front wheel…go figure). Flexible, stretchy, coiled bike locks don’t work. I speak from experience.
6. Appliances Over 700 Watts
More fire hazards! Microwaves and other small appliances that are over 700 watts are not allowed in the dorms. Pretty simple. And this is a good thing too: the low wattage microwaves are cheaper and still cook your Ramen noodles to perfection. Also, be sure not to bring a refrigerator or a freezer. You are already provided with both!
Instead: Bring 700 W and below appliances and you are also free to bring pots, pans, and other cooking materials. There’s one kitchen per floor in every residence hall. So if you think you’re going to miss being a chef, bring your kitchen operations with you! The whole hall will be flocking to the tasty aromas wafting from the kitchen.
Yep, I know, this one is upsetting but sadly having a pet is not allowed in the dorms. It would cause messes, noise, and unwanted allergic reactions to the poor people hypersensitive to pet hair.
Instead: Bring your favorite photos of your pets! Bring pet calendars, pet stickers, pet notebooks, or stuffed animals.
But wait! Take heart! There is one pet that is allowed! What’s the one pet that doesn’t make noise and doesn’t make a mess? That’s right…fish. You can have pet fish as long as they aren’t in a bowl/aquarium exceeding 30 gallons (that may seem like a lot, but it’s really just a tank with dimensions around 36” x 13” x 16”. Don’t go thinking you can have a full-on aquarium in your dorm room!).
8. Huge Furniture
Making your dorm feel like home is important, but there is such a thing as taking it too far. Bringing your own sofas, tall dressers, and similar large items is a little much. You are already provided with a dresser, a desk/desk chair, a bed, a sink/mirror, and closet space. Even though a sofa would be cool consider the fact that space is limited and you have roommates who will bringing their own stuff.
Instead: Bring small and possibly fold-able furniture like a bean bag chair. They take up a lot less space but still bring some homey comforts! You’re also welcome to bring a desk hutch (although some rooms already have them—and you won’t know until you get there), your own desk chair, curtains, a lamp, a rug, basically anything that isn’t overly large and heavy! Get creative and have fun with it!
9. Exercise Equipment
We have gyms on campus so keep the gym equipment at home and take your workout to the Leach, the FMC, or even on your run outdoors.
Instead: If you like, you may have one set of weights at a maximum of 20 lbs. Some students also like to bring yoga mats so they can stretch and do small exercises in the comfort of their rooms!
10. Nailed Wall Decorations
Mounted wall decorations cause damage to the walls and you will be fined for it. Basically, any sort of shelving, pictures, paintings, etc. that need a hammer and nails to hang up.
Instead: Bring wall decorations that can be hung using command strips. You don’t want your walls to be boring but you don’t want to damage them either! Posters, pictures, white boards, cork boards, calendars, etc. are fun additions to your room, as long as they are hung up without putting holes in the walls!
11. Vacuum Cleaners
The front desk of each dorm has vacuums and brooms for you to check out if you ever make a mess!
Instead: Keep these at home while you pack Lysol, cleaning wipes, Febreeze, air freshener, and perhaps a duster so you can keep your room nice and clean. That way you’ll be ready for small spills, accidents and/or odors.
12. Toilet Paper
These are also provided by the front desk! No need to spend money on all those Charmin Ultra rolls, but if you like a little more softness down there, more power to you.
Instead: Don’t forget shower towels, hand towels, and a shower curtain for your bathroom! Other helpful things are a bathroom mat so your floor doesn’t get nasty and some sort of toiletry holder like a shower caddy.
We all love having friends or boyfriends or girlfriends or you know, ~others~, over to spend the night, but there’s a limit here. Some dorms have stricter regulations, but most allow guests overnight for no longer than 3 days over a 30-day period.
Instead: Follow the guidelines and enjoy the company of visitors for as long as allowed.
Not only are these not allowed in the dorms, but FSU provides you with free WiFi all across campus so there really is no need for them.
Instead: Bring your phone, laptop, and chargers and you’ll be good to go!
15. Air Mattresses and Beds
This should go without saying, but don’t bring your own bed okay? I know we all miss the comfort of our own beds that we’ve slept on for years, but there are other ways to make it more comfortable. Same goes for air mattresses. Although technically not prohibited, it’s just a waste of space and there’s plenty of room for two people on the extra long twin beds.
Instead: Bring mattress toppers or gel pads if you love the feeling of sleeping on a cloud. The mattresses here might be a little hard for those of you who are used to a softer bed. Plus you can never go wrong with lots of comfy, decorative pillows!
16. Expensive Valuables
Although you might be tempted to bring expensive jewelry and your most prized possessions, there is a very real possibility that they can get stolen.
Instead: Be mindful of what you bring, and if you absolutely cannot live without it, invest in a lock. The drawer of your desk has a locking mechanism and you can store your valuables in there including necessary items like your laptop, credit cards, etc.
17. Anything in Excess
Keep the saying “everything in moderation” in mind. There are laundry facilities in every dorm so there is no need for a year’s supply of clothes, even though we all hate doing laundry. There are also stores here in Tally for anything you need. If you run out of deodorant, it’s not the end of the world!
Instead: In the age of Netflix and the internet, who needs any other form of entertainment? So please keep the excess books, DVDs, and gaming consoles at home.
18. Cement Blocks and Bricks
I don’t even know what to say here. It’s actually listed as a prohibited item. How that got to be on the list…
Instead: Let’s bring lots of soft things, okay? Soft and squishy and plushy and not something used in action movies to knock people out.
19. Don’t Bring Negativity
And finally, let’s all leave behind any negative, rude, mean, I-hate-everyone attitudes. That isn’t a way to make new friends!
Instead: Explore, be a part of the community, and be kind to others. Bring lots of positivity, lots of energy, and lots of smiles, and you’re bound to have a great first semester of college!
Bye-bye high school, hello future!
Have any other tips on what to bring instead? Comment below and be sure to share!
Featured photo source: wikimedia.org
Kelly Lewis is a sophomore at Florida State University double majoring in Astrophysics and Music. She plays saxophone and clarinet and is a member of the Marching Chiefs. She loves Disney, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Marvel, Star Wars, chocolate, and cats. Her other hobbies/interests include reading fantasy and science fiction, writing poetry and short stories, snowboarding, playing video games like Skyrim, Pokémon, and anything Mario, and going out with friends. She dreams of having a career in both science and music, like the guitarist in Queen, Brian May.