PLATTSBURGH — With the start of fall classes quickly approaching at colleges across the country, many soon-to-be students are preparing to transition to dorm life.
And while one’s instinct may be to stock his or her dorm room with every possible amenity, officials at Plattsburgh State suggest thinking twice before doing so.
“I find that people bring too much,” said Bryan Hartman, director of Residence Life and associate vice president for Student Affairs at Plattsburgh State.
When packing their bags for college, he said, it’s important for students to remember that space in residence halls is limited.
“It’s a small room,” said Michele Carpentier, director of Student Support Services and Special Programs at Plattsburgh State, which opens its residence halls to students Saturday, Aug. 25.
“You don’t have a lot of space, so you’ve got to be efficient.”
For example, rather than bringing their entire wardrobe with them in the fall, Hartman suggests that students who plan to make a trip home throughout the year use the visits as an opportunity to swap out seasonal clothing items.
“Sometimes it’s best not to bring everything you think you may need between now and May,” he said.
COORDINATE WITH ROOMMATE
Another thing that can prove beneficial for incoming students is communicating with their future roommates in advance to discuss what each plans to bring.
Items such as televisions and area rugs might best be shared between roommates, Hartman said, as there simply isn’t room to have two of everything in a small, communal living space.
It’s also important to know the rules of the residence hall the student will be living in before going out and purchasing appliances for the room.
At Plattsburgh State, for example, students are allowed only one mini-refrigerator per dorm room, and cooking devices such as microwaves, hotplates, toasters and grills can be used only in designated areas.
“I would recommend they only bring the essentials because anything beyond that is a waste of time and effort,” Carpentier said.
Among those essentials are bed sheets, towels, toiletries and clothing.
In addition, Carpentier recommends all dorm residents bring shoes to wear in the shower.
“You are showering in a shower with other people, so it’s best to have something for your feet,” she said.
Of course, students should also bring to college what they need for academic success.
For those bringing a computer, Hartman said, laptops provide flexibility because they are portable and take up less space than a desktop computer.
However, he noted, it is important for students to be mindful of where they leave their laptops to avoid unauthorized use and theft.
“Unfortunately, we’re not immune to the things that can happen in any community,” Hartman said.
Carpentier recommends bringing a portable lockbox to store items such as credit cards, checks and anything else a student wishes to keep private.
Students should also have a day planner, she said, to keep their classes and appointments in order.
“You need to keep everything organized,” she said.
Not necessary at college, according to Carpentier, are distractions like video games, as a student’s ultimate focus should be academics and not entertainment.
“Video games can be a tremendous waste of time, and (it’s) best to leave them home, where they won’t tempt you,” she said.
Email Ashleigh Livingston: firstname.lastname@example.org