You’re getting ready to start your new life. Here’s what you’ll need for your new dorm room:

  • A thesaurus that includes synonyms for the word dude, so that every sentence you utter will neither begin nor end with the word, nor will you run the risk of addressing the dean of students’ grandmother that way.
  • A look of bored insouciance, as if you’ve seen it all, whatever it is, even though you’ve really not seen much of anything, including the definition of the word insouciance.
  • Photographs of your parents, so you can look at them occasionally as you try to remember their names. Also, this way you won’t have to actually call them or write them or email them.
  • Back-up batteries for your phone, in case your phone battery is running low and you are tempted to look up from the screen and engage in face-to-face conversation.
  • Extra thumbs, in case one of yours gets worn out from carpal-texting-syndrome.
  • A loud wake-up alarm that screams and shouts and repeats that screaming and shouting every five minutes or so. You will need this because mom or dad will not be there to say “time to get up” every four minutes before eventually dragging you out of bed by your hair or your phone.
  • A large poster for your dorm wall reminding you not to call any of your professors “bro.”
  • Extra sheets for the bed, although we both know that you’re only going to use the one pair your parents set up for you on move-in day until it cracks and turns dark black because it’s too much trouble to change the sheets every few months. Particularly if you have covered it in granola bar wrappers.
  • Multiple sets of headphones so you’ll always be able to jam them into your ears as a way of ignoring your roommates’ constant whooping about great parties that you have missed.
  • A hand-held mini-vac, in case your parents do come to visit for parents’ weekend. Otherwise, you’ll find that half-eaten pop tarts make an excellent organic compost for your dorm room floor and begonias can grow without much light.
  • Extra rips, in case your jeans don’t already have enough.
  • A glossary of artisanal craft beer terms, so you will be able to detect the differences between a porter malt IPA and a strawberry lager with a hint of stout.
  • A roommate who does not intend to major in macro-economics and wants to explain to you, at length, the importance of aggregated indicators.
  • Your college application essay, so you can occasionally look at it and try to figure out why you told them that your goal in life was to cure the world of overdue library books.
  • Patience. It’s a long four years — or maybe six years — and you’re going to need it.
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