Carolina on My Mind: August 2011
"What Did You Bring to College?"
By Brad Muller, '92, Alumni Association senior director of communications
Campus came to life on Saturday as the residence halls opened at Carolina. Oh, how times have changed. I don’t know what has changed more: the luxury of today’s residence halls or the amount of stuff students bring to college!
First of all, if you haven’t been to campus lately, many of the residence halls are palaces compared to the old-style dorms I occupied in the late 1980s. The shocking thing to me is the amount of items that are deemed as necessities brought by the students. I’m sure alumni who are twenty years older than me thought the large duffle bag of clothes and small trunk of other stuff that I brought in to the Towers in 1988 was excessive, but what I’m seeing now is overwhelming. Yes, I’m jealous.
I’ve never seen so many flat-screen televisions, laptops, and other electronic gadgets. It’s as if a Best Buy electronics store was taking over campus. Suitcase after suitcase of clothing was brought in. I couldn’t believe it was all for one kid. One young lady had more shoes than Imelda Marcos.
Fortunately, gadgets are a lot smaller than they used to be. There was always the one guy back in the day who had the “ultimate” stereo system with 18-inch woofers, dual-tape deck, turntable and amplifier, which all-in-all weighed 1,000 pounds and took up half the space in the room.
Now, a simple iPod and attachment gives you more bang for your buck and allows the student more room for important things, such as more kitchen utensils than a Benihana restaurant, candles larger than my head (aren’t those prohibited?), mini-fridges, microwaves, the 400-gallon tub of laundry detergent, seven pairs of Crocs, a guitar, some new gaming system I’ve never heard of, lamps, and 11 storage bins.
And what’s with the storage bin full of sweaters? By the time you need those, you’ll be home for the holidays. But I digress. It was refreshing to see that Ramen Noodles are still around.
Wasn’t dorm life fun, though, especially that first year when you were away from the parents for the first time? Remember meeting new people, putting posters on the wall that your mother would never let you bring in the house, and running outside in the middle of the night thanks to the first false alarm fire drill? Of course, the first week of classes throws a wet blanket over all the fun a few days later, but I guess that’s why we come here in the first place.
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