Orienting to BU: Bringing the Bling

Orienting to BU is a series aiming to help incoming freshman in the sometimes bumpy transition from high school to Boston University. Installments were originally posted during the summer of 2011 by Jon Christianson, but have since been updated and reposted to help future classes of BU students adjust to freshman year.

Despite what those corny holiday songs may tell you, this is truly the most wonderful time of year. Summertime. Where newly emancipated students can frolic in the sunshine, solicit friends for plans over Facebook, and toil away at minimum-wage, part-time jobs. For those who have recently left high school on a well-worn path to higher education, there is one more task at hand.

Shopping for the college dorm.

The summer dream | Courtesy of stock.xchng user Leonardobc

To remedy some headaches associated with this task, colleges (Boston University included) send out lists to their prospective students about what to bring with them from home. There’s always the standard things: mattress pad, desk lamp, fan, appropriate clothing, trash can, etc…

For the most part, these lists cover the basics fairly well. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a few more choice items that don’t always get the celebrity treatment that pillows and comforter can get.

The axiom “cleanliness is next to godliness” is not typically followed by the average college student. Whether it’s room organization or personal hygiene, other things like “eating” or “homework” tend to win out in the game of college student triage. There are some important items with less notoriety that can help here.

Febreze was easily the superhero that saved my life freshman year. Unless you live in a single, there is little to no control over what unpleasant odors your roommate may bring in. It could be garlic-scented food, maybe some rank lacrosse gear, or just a friend who has sworn off deodorant. It doesn’t matter. Febreze, or some other odor-fixing spray, will save your life.

In the same vein, a Tide-to-Go Pen or similar item is also necessary. One day you’ll be sitting in a dining hall with a bunch of friends when disaster strikes. Amidst talking with your hands, spaghetti sauce from your fork will land on your favorite shirt. And this won’t happen just once. No, it will be a weekly occurrence. With a Tide-to-Go Pen, you quickly save your social life from getting messy.

Next, it’s time to move from personal maintenance to more room maintenance. After a presumably sweaty move-in to BU alongside your parents, your room will hopefully be the idyllic picture of college perfection. It won’t stay that way.

Useful and exciting | Courtesy of stock.xchng user Clix

Bring a lot of duct tape; it will mask the problems that Febreze cannot. It’s great for posters, loose electrical wires, a tattered backpack, ripped shoes, and (with the varieties of colors available at craft stores) decoration! Neon duct tape can make for a great conversation piece.

Here’s an analogy for the next set of items. When a knight goes into battle, he always comes equipped with the necessary armor. When a college student goes into BU, he or she needs the appropriate body gear in order to survive.

Students who aren’t from the New England area need to know that the part of the list advising for “appropriate clothing” is no joke. A silly little umbrella is useless in a Boston windstorm. It will blow out and turn into the biggest safety hazard for those around you. A durable raincoat with a hood is a necessity. Fortunately for the unprepared, there are several sports clothing stores near West Campus.

Bring a pair of really sturdy walking shoes. Don’t expect your favorite pair of glitzy Converse shoes to save you. If you end up living in East or West Campus, or have any plans to use the FitRec, visit Agganis Arena, or do anything social on campus, walking sneakers are a must. Only fashion snobs will judge you harshly, and there’s solace in knowing that their feet are not as happy as yours.

Finally, there is the most paramount item of them all. It may be on some lists, but it debuts here again for emphasis.

Shower sandals.

Ignore whatever claims about which gender is more bathroom inappropriate. The germs that end up around the public bathroom, whether they are from Venus or Mars, are not worth the risk. Especially in the shower. As respectful as you may be, some students will not use showers for their intended purpose. Being unprepared is not worth contracting E. Coli or the next strain of the Bubonic Plague.

They are EVERYWHERE | Courtesy stock.xchng user Bessarro

No matter what items end up enduring the ride to Boston, everything will be all set as long as research is done. Surf the Internet. Ask older friends. Take note of things used daily now, before the college move in. In the worst case scenario, there are stores such as Barnes and Noble, Star Market, and Campus Convenience that provide nearly all that is needed, at a slightly higher price.


About Jon Erik Christianson

Jon Christianson (COM/CAS '14) is the zany, misunderstood cousin of The Quad family. His superpowers include talking at the speed of light, tripping over walls, and defying ComiQuad deadlines with the greatest of ease. His lovely copyeditors don't appreciate that last one. If for some reason you hunger for more of his nonsense, follow him at @HonestlyJon on Twitter or contact him at jchristianson@buquad.com!

View all posts by Jon Erik Christianson →

One Comment on “Orienting to BU: Bringing the Bling”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *