Oberlin Blogs

Packing a Punch

August 20, 2009

Alice Ollstein ’10

Packing for college for the last time is a lot different from packing for freshman year. For starters, I know all too well just how freaking cold it's going to get, so fewer sundresses are making the cut. Basically, less of everything is making the cut, and not just because I stored a ton of stuff at school over the summer in my friend's attic (if you pay for a storage unit, you are getting ripped off). I've just learned that as much as I'd love to be the girl with a different, snazzy, quirky, effortless outfit each day, that's entirely unrealistic. You get busy, you get stressed, you have little to no closet space, and you become one with the hippie culture and stop caring. This isn't to say that I stopped dressing up entirely. I definitely jumped on board for "classy night" at the Oberlin Review, and relished the opportunity to get dolled up for Tango events. But during crunch time (which may turn into all the time, depending on your life choices) it's hard to even remember to shower. During finals last year my good friend's Facebook status was: "You may remember me as the girl who wore these clothes yesterday." What's the point of all this rambling? Ah yes, pack light. You will share with your roommates and friends, hit up the incredible Free Store or Ratsy's vintage shop, and wear your favorite jeans more times than you'd care to admit.

I had a rule with my freshman year roommate that we could borrow each other's clothes as long as, if we received a compliment, we gave full credit to the true owner. Sophomore year I roomed with a 6'3" male, who actually had more and better clothes than me and thus claimed the bigger closet, so we shared tips instead of items. We joked that Oberlin discriminated against mixed-gender roommates because we were assigned the smallest open double on campus, a room that another boy-girl pair occupied the year before. But in truth Oberlin is quite supportive of the practice, being the first college in the nation to allow such wanton debauchery (joking, joking...). There are four dorms on campus where you can room with a friend of the opposite sex, in addition to any co-op. I do not recommend, however, living with a significant other. We had one couple on our hall that year and would hear fighting and crying and it seemed all kinds of bad. We almost never got mad at each other, even when Scrabble got competitive or the vortex in our room gulped down our personal belongings.

The happy roomies, ready for a night on the town

More packing tips: Don't bring anything that would break your heart if you lost it. Do bring games, crafts, and other bonding devices. TGIF and dorm lounges provide great opportunities to meet and greet over such activities. Bring one nice outfit, just in case. Bring that item that's too weird to wear at home but you're just dying to rock it. My example of this is below: Velvet toreador pants from the 1950s.

Final thoughts? Bring stationery. E-mail is quick, but a handwritten letter is far more pleasurable to send and receive. Bring a camera, even if you're not a camera person. And remember, Oberlin may be small, but you can get almost anything you need.

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