Two cars, too much when moving in

By Jennifer Meyer

As I prepared to come back to NIU, I was reminded of how much useless junk I brought with me freshman year. I remembered this when moving in and I saw a girl with a surfboard. This isn’t California. Each year, the amount of stuff I cram into the car lessens and moving in becomes easier. I wish I knew I did not need to bring a lava lamp, chili pepper Christmas lights nor every CD I own three years ago. Instead, I learned the hard way.

Bed Bath & Beyond offers college students a great list of things they will need. IKEA offers students essentials at cheap prices, as does Linens N’ Things. However, students should be aware of certain items at stores and on college lists that are only there to make more money off students.

For instance, Bed Bath & Beyond put tapestries on its list of “must haves.” Not only are posters an easy and cheap alternative, but easier to stick up on the brick walls in Neptune Hall. Students may also find some nice decorating ideas on the company’s Web site, but a hula skirt for the bed – which will most likely be puked on – may not be one of them.

Also, it will probably get squashed and ripped on the Grant Towers’ pull out beds.

Bedding should be machine washable and dark colored.

Students can find many checklists online. A very helpful one can be found at But again, this checklist has a few unnecessary items on it. For instance, residents will not need an electric blanket. The halls are hot enough.

Residents can leave behind their dry erase memo boards. Most likely, residents will return to more pictures of male genitals and stolen pens than messages. Residents can leave their cans of bug spray at home; nothing will stop the Asian beetles from attacking.

Not only do stores put unnecessary items on lists, some NIU students bring useless and offbeat items.

For example, Daniel Hanuska, a senior political science major, brought two bins of protein powder with him his first semester. He enjoys working out and thought he would need that much as a dietary supplement.

“I brought two bins thinking I would get sick of one of the flavors,” Hanuska said, “but it turns out they were both horrible. I couldn’t even finish one [bin].”

Students should make sure they bring items they are absolutely sure they will need.

Students who showed up on move-in day with more than one car will most likely take back a carload at winter break full of things they do not use.

However, there are a few things students should keep supplied in their rooms. Earplugs come in handy when it is time for bed. Even on a quiet lifestyle floor, there are always a few rude residents who play loud music at all hours of the night. Students may be shocked when they step outside around November: DeKalb is cold! Surfboard girl, listen up. Winters here are brutal. All NIU students should not leave home without a warm winter hat, gloves and a heavy winter coat. November may be labeled as an autumn month, but here in DeKalb it can feel more like the dead of winter.

Students living in the residence halls should also keep a few pairs of cheap flip flops or sandals in their closets for the showers. Be sure to replace them after a month or two to avoid unknown organisms from growing and living on the bottoms.

Most importantly, always be sure to have insurance cards and emergency numbers on hand in case you need them.

Students should not leave home without a few comfort items. Pictures of family and friends can help when homesickness hits. They also make great decorations. It helps to bring comfort items such as a teddy bear or a favorite blanket for the not-so-great days.

Bring addresses of old friends from home so you can send handwritten letters. They are more personal and therapeutic than e-mails and guarantee you will have more in your mailbox.

However, do not bring things that are valuable. Valuables get stolen and broken easily in such close quarters.

Now that most of the unpacking is done and Labor Day weekend is approaching, it is a good time to re-evaluate what is and is not needed.

Columns reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the Northern Star staff.