If you’re starting university soon, you’ve likely read list upon list of things that you should bring to college.
But how many times have you heard what not to bring?
Chances are, not enough.
It’s all-too-common that incoming freshmen bring items that they’re never going to use—or worse, ones that land them in deep trouble.
And while some of these items are expressly forbidden in dorm agreements, others result in more social faux pas.
Trust me: you don’t want to get in any trouble or be embarrassed for bringing anything that you shouldn’t.
For that reason, it’s important that you understand just what you can—and what you can’t—take to college.
Below, we’ve included ten of the most common items that you shouldn’t bring to your dorm with you.
Keep this information in mind as you look to pack for your dorm. By keeping these items off your checklist, you can be on your way to enjoying a better transition into university life.
And remember, though these may seem to be minor considerations, many of them can have important impacts on your university standing.
With that in mind, consider the following ten items that you should never bring to your dorm with you.
Pets – Even Approved Ones
Chances are that your dorm already has a strict no-pet policy. Many, for instance, allow only caged or tanked animals such as hamsters of fish.
Others are even more restrictive than that.
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This means no cats or dogs—and certainly nothing exotic such as your pet snake.
And look, we get it. It can be difficult telling your pet goodbye.
The reality is that that’s just part of going to university.
The consequences of being caught with a prohibited animal can be quite severe. You may even find that you are no longer allowed to live in your dorm—forcing you to find new lodging quickly.
And we know what you might be thinking.
Why not bring a pet that’s allowed? That won’t cause any problems, right?
Despite your best intentions, you’ll grow to realize that you don’t have time to properly care for a pet.
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You’ll likely be spending most of your time in class or even at work—meaning that your pet isn’t getting the appropriate attention that it deserves.
And honestly, there’s no point in getting an animal if you can’t spend time with it.
For this reason, it’s better that you remain focused on your studies. While it can be tempting to bring a pet with you, the consequences of doing so often prove far-reaching and quite severe.
Too Many Decorations for Your Dorm
Starting college can be exciting—even meeting and rooming with your new roommate.
You’re starting your new life away from your family, and you can now do those things that you never could get away with at home.
Unfortunately, it’s important that you keep your newfound self-expression away from your dorm room walls.
Though it can be tempting to decorate your dorm, don’t engage in overkill. You may find that your new roommate doesn’t appreciate your decorations.
It may even be the case that you’re not allowed to hang certain types of items due to your dorm’s policies.
For this reason, it’s best to not bring too many different dorm decorations.
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This doesn’t mean, however, that you shouldn’t bring any. You’re going to want something that will help make your dorm feel like home.
Ideally, it’s best if you discuss with your future roommates before decorating your dorm. You may even find that you have similar interests—giving you the flexibility you need to design the room in a way that’s suitable for everyone.
However, many students find it best to keep their decorations to a minimum. In doing so, you can better focus on more important relationships and reduce potential conflicts.
The Wrong Attitude
We know what you’re thinking:
This sounds like something cheesy that your fifth-grade teacher would say.
All the same, it’s true.
Having the wrong attitude when starting college can prove detrimental in a variety of ways.
The difficult part about this is knowing that there are several different ways in which you can have the wrong attitude while attending university.
If you go and intend on prioritizing parties overstudies, for instance, you’re going to see your grades suffer.
Another result is that you’re not going to make as much of the resources that are available to you.
You may even see your GPA drop, hurting your chances of keeping financial aid and attending graduate school later.
But that’s not all.
If you go with too much of a focus on academics, you may find that you’ve become socially stunted.
The truth is that at university, everyone around you will be on their own individual journey of self-expression.
Everyone will be in evenly new territory, as they feel out those around them and try to understand themselves.
It’s important that you don’t miss out on these opportunities. By engaging in proper social relationships, you’ll be able to better grow as a person.
You’ll want to explore these different relationships as you enjoy newfound freedom.
Away from your family’s expectations, you’ll need to foster relationships that prove beneficial to you.
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Failure to do so can leave you stunted and quickly label you as a social outcast in many circles.
This doesn’t mean that you should be pressured into relationships, however. Simply be aware that you need to balance your social and academic lives to grow as a person.
Microwave and Other Appliances
It’s possible that your dorm contract already expressly forbids microwaves and other appliances.
The reason for this is simple: misuse can lead to costly fires that put you and your dormmates at risk.
For this reason, you’ll want to avoid bringing any appliances. Your dorm likely has a kitchen if you should choose to cook in it. If not, you can find everything you need at your university’s dining halls.
And though this may sound trivial, be sure not to bypass this rule. If your RA discovers you have a prohibited appliance, you’ll likely be reported and be subject to severe punishments.
While these appliances can prove especially convenient—especially for late-night munchies—you’re going to want to avoid sticking them in your dorm room. Instead, be mature and make that extra five-minute walk to the dorm kitchen.
Check out some of these “dorm safe appliances”. Be sure to run these past your RA prior to using them.
Once you do it enough, you’ll find that it’s really not so bad.
Lewd or Profane Decorations
Many students find out that college isn’t an excuse for profane or lewd behavior in a hard way.
This includes hanging inappropriate decorations in your dorm room.
That’s right. As tempting as it may be, hanging your favorite page from Playboy magazine above your bed is likely not a good way to stay in good standing in your dorm.
And we get it. Most people aren’t doing that. As encouraging as that is, however, there are other types of symbols that are offensive as well.
For instance, decorating your walls with offensive gang symbols or other shows of terror is a great way to land yourself on the hot seat.
The profanity-laden text also may prove too offensive for your RA.
At the end of the day, your university has a reputation to uphold—and if you’re not helping them do that, you’re breaking university regulations.
For this reason, be sure that you’re keeping your decorations in check.
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If you question whether one is appropriate, just don’t hang it up at all.
If you must, wait until you get an apartment of your own away from roommates and others who may be offended.
You’re sitting in your dorm one night, and you decide to light a candle. It’s the smell-good kind, and your roommate’s foot odor has managed to stay all week.
He’s gone now, so you decide to light a candle will help curb the smell while he’s gone.
No big deal, right?
Well, it wasn’t until the candle dripped and caught your papers on fire while you took a quick and harmless restroom break.
Now your room is engulfed in a raging fire that leads to emergency evacuation and your expulsion.
Well, that escalated quickly.
Here’s the deal: no matter how improbable this seems, it’s a distinct possibility that cannot be ruled out.
You don’t ever want to be responsible for this type of damage, and the best way to avoid it is to prevent having flames in your dorm.
If you see your dormmate with flames or other candles, be sure to have a discussion with them about it.
At the end of the day, following this rule can help protect you and your other dormmates.
Weapons—Even Fake Ones
It should go without saying but don’t ever try to bring any weapons with you to university. This includes replicas and other fakes.
You don’t want to run the risk of others believing that they are real. And it may even be the case that these weapons violate your university’s code of conduct.
They’re simply not worth risking expulsion over.
There have been cases where students have been expelled for just pretending to shoot a gun at others with their fingers.
This type of threatening behavior—even in jest—has become a taboo in today’s world.
For this reason, it’s important that you take the proper precautions to safeguard yourself from unnecessary trouble.
Curtains or Other Types of Flammable Cloth
Avoid bringing curtains or any other type of flammable cloth to your dorm.
You’ll likely find that these items are prohibited by your dorm contract anyway, but you may still be tempted to bring them.
It may even be the case that a loving mother decides to outfit your dorm with beautiful curtains that technically aren’t allowed.
Make sure that this isn’t the case.
Curtains are banned for the same reason candles are—they could help facilitate a fire.
For your safety and for the safety of others, make sure that you keep these out of your dorm room.
Though you may think they look nice, they actually pose significant health risks that could endanger the safety of hundreds in your building.
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Got something of value that you just can’t bear to part with?
Don’t bring it to your dorm.
Though you may think that it’s a good idea to keep it by your side, nothing could be further from the truth.
The reality is that you don’t know what type of person your roommate is—or what type of person he will bring into your dorm room.
For this reason, you’re going to want to leave anything valuable at home.
You may find that your precious belongings are missing after leaving them alone in your room.
And you certainly can’t carry them everywhere.
So, no matter how difficult it may be to temporarily part with them during your university experience, know that they’re much safer at home than laying around those you can’t trust.
When you go home and when you graduate, you can spend as much time with your valuables as you want.
But if you really want to keep them safe, keep them off your campus.
No matter how trustworthy you may think your roommate to be, you may be surprised to learn just what others will do as pranks or other kinds of practical jokes.
So take it from me: leave your valuables at home.
Finally, make sure that you’re not bringing any loudspeakers with you to the dorm.
Sure, it sounds like a lot of fun, and your dorm mates might appreciate the party for a day or two.
But after a while, the loud sounds are going to draw ire even from your closest of friends.
They’ll likely catch the attention of your RA as well.
Instead, if you’d like to party, invest in a good-quality pair of headphones so that you can listen to your music in private.
I found some awesome ones on Amazon, check them out here.
This is a little old, but still relevant. Just wanted to add another perspective on top of this article.
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