When I decided to transfer to a college 95 miles away from home, I knew that there would be unwanted developments in my life. For instance, I would no longer be able to see my cats on a weekly basis. I would have to budget my expenses more carefully to fit the higher cost of transportation. Most devastatingly, I would have to say goodbye to the massive Asian supermarket next to my prior institution. These were sacrifices that I was willing (and even happy) to make because they accompanied my new and exciting academic environment. However, there was one change that I couldn’t reconcile: the personal belongings that I didn’t bring to college would no longer be a short train ride away. So I just brought everything.
On move-in day, my family’s car that once comfortably seated ten people was so distended with suitcases and boxes that I had to carry my bedding on my lap. My parents were too emotional about sending their youngest child to a different state to have stopped me from this snafu, and my four older, college graduated siblings were too amused to forcefully remove some of the paraphernalia for my own good. As a result, I arrived to Willets Hall on August 27 with all of my life possessions, many of them being utterly useless and even counterproductive to my dorm life.
There are many objectively dumb things that I’ve brought with me to Swarthmore College, but there are ones whose futility defies logic. Some of them include:
Oedipus, my mannequin head
The golden toilet
A Talking Heads CD (as well as my vinyl player)
Stevie the Sloth
An excessive amount of clothing
The truth is that despite the fact that these objects aren’t the most practical or the most tasteful, they’re associated with valued people and memories in my life. My brother once took a bite out of the plastic pear as a joke and I laugh every time I see the bite marks on the underside of the fruit. Stevie the Sloth is somewhat of a surrogate for someone I miss everyday. And on the rare occasions that I do use my vinyl player, I remember how I felt listening to Tame Impala for the first time. While I don’t suggest bringing every single item that contains a note of sentimental value, I think it’s okay to bring a few things that remind of you of tangible memories. Then you can hold onto those visceral feelings as you navigate the state of flux and uncertainty of college life, and despite the fact that your room is a mess, everything will feel a little brighter.