The time is nearing. You’re about to move into your college dorm room and begin the experience that will create some of most pivotal opportunities, life lessons, and friendships in your life. You’ve been counting down the days since summer began, but now that it’s almost moving day you’ve finally made yourself stop hyperventilating long enough to pack basic essentials like your laptop, printer, surge protector, iPod, and of course, flip flips for the shower, but there’s something missing. You’re all set for the academic work, and the day-to-day necessities, but what about the fun?
College is a time of growth and exploring your full potential, and part of that is getting to know new people, learning new things, and enjoying your surroundings. To do that you need to bring your new home to life with personal flare and inviting comforts. Here are some ideas for fun gadgets and furniture you can add to your essentials to enhance your college experience even more.
1) Gaming Console. Whether you bring a Nintendo Wii, PS3, or Xbox, having your gaming console with you will give you fun options for those much-needed breaks between study sessions. Playing video games is also a great way to bond with your roommates and other dorm dwellers, and if you have Wii Fit, you can get a workout in too.
2) Webcam. Having a webcam on campus is an easy way to stay connected to family and friends back home, and to introduce them to your wacky new roommate too. Also, if you get sick and can’t manage to leave the dorm, with a good webcam arrangement you might still be able to participate in important study sessions or lectures from the warmth of your bed. And of course, you’ll want to record your Guitar Hero war with your roommate for YouTube, right? Just make sure your camera only records exactly what you intend to send over the Internet. You don’t need added stress!
3) Foam Chair, Beanbag Chair, or Futon. Dorm rooms are rarely the size you see on TV, and that means dorm life requires adapting to smaller, shared spaces. But that’s part of the fun! Lightweight, easy to move furniture is the key. Beanbag chairs are my favorite, but foam chairs, and futons are also good adaptable options depending upon the size of your room. You want to create a dorm room that gives you plenty of study spaces, as well as places for your friends to hang out. Unless you know the size of your room, it’s best to make these particular purchases after you move in. Stores like Ikea, Target, or www.ultimatesack.comare good places to start. Pick your comfortable style and jazz it up with a funky color or pattern!
4) Fun Board Games. With all the electronic options out there, board games sometimes gather layers of dust, but exciting group games like Cranium or Zobmondo! Would You Rather . . . ? are perfect for the college set. Zobmondo, in particular, is a social game that requires deciding on which crazy situation or outcome you would rather choose, like: Would you rather have a head half the normal size, or twice the normal size? Deciding on the best option, and also sharing wacky made up situations of your own make this game a great way to get to know others while laughing your big or little head off.
5) Sonic Boom Alarm Clock. Okay, so alarm clocks are not usually considered fun, but how fun is it to miss the review session right before your mid-term because you slept through your alarm again? In addition to high volume and low or high tone options, Sonic Boom alarm clocks have a vibration alarm called the bed shaker that will get you out of bed, bright-eyed and ready to face the day.
6) Old Standards. For some of that personal flare that every dorm room needs, old standards like lava lamps, disco balls, and even Christmas lights are still fun options. These timeless toys are also inexpensive, easy to find, and great for cheering your overstressed mood.
7) Mini-Fridge. What fuels a study session better than a nice cold Red Bull, RockStar, or even a fruity Snapple? Mini-Fridges might not sound exciting, but you and your friends will be appreciative of the relaxing beverages and snacks available because of your handy piece of furniture.
8) Bop-It or Bop-It Extreme. Need a short break from the books? Or has your thumb grown numb from playing PS3 again? Having a Bop-It or Bop-It Extreme game around can be the solution to both situations. It’s been out for years, and the versions keep changing, but this musical game of coordination, concentration and timing is fun and challenging for individuals and groups alike. Whether in small or large doses, playing Bop-It is a great entertaining way to get out frustrations, refresh your thoughts, or just plain have fun with your friends.
9) Bed Pillow Chair. Having a bed pillow chair, the comfortable firm pillows with tall backs and arms, was a life savor for me in college. No, it wasn’t my weapon for a pillow fight, though it would have made a good one. I used it to study comfortably on my bed and on the floor, to watch movies or play video games, and I still use one at home today. This is one piece of inexpensive furniture that you’ll never regret buying.
10) Foam Basketball With Indoor Hoop. It might sound like something you had when you were twelve, but so what? Having a foam basketball with that stick up indoor hoop inside your dorm is cathartic. Sometimes you just need to move when you’re studying, or planning out your next essay. And who says you can’t slam-dunk?
11) Favorite Movies. No college student should have to leave his favorite movies behind. It’s like tearing away part of your soul! Pick a dozen, and then switch your choices around at the holidays. Classics among the college set still include: The Breakfast Club, Princess Bride, Austin Powers, Monty Python, and of course, Star Wars.
12) Digital Pen. A digital pen is a little pricey for the average college student, but it’s definitely worth it in the long run. Having a digital pen that can convert your notes into your computer changes the whole concept of studying. And some also record audio comments, meaning that even if you dose off again, you won’t miss anything important. Fun for the geek in all of us!
13) Karaoke Machine. Whether it’s for dorm get-togethers, fraternity parties, or club events, a karaoke machine can inspire even the quietest of students to dance and sing at full lung capacity – no alcohol needed. It’s a great icebreaker and bonding tool, and if you love to sing, having a karaoke machine might be the perfect fun element to add to your dorm room. Just remember, not everyone appreciates Madonna classics at midnight.
14) Digital Photo Frame. What better way to personalize your room, and enjoy memories of home as well as new memories with your college friends? Having a digital photo frame of any size will liven up those sterile walls, and also promote great starter conversations with your roommate and other dorm pals too. So, don’t forget your digital camera either!
Some of these gadgets and items are splurges that might even be good ideas for birthday or holiday gifts, but any number of them will definitely spice up your dorm room, and allow your new space to shout your personality. With both the fun and the function, you’ll have a supportive foundation to help you enjoy and succeed in your exciting first college year. So, stop worrying, and finish packing already!