Monday, April 14, 2008

The Beginning

I am currently nearing the end of my second year as a college student at Knox College in Galesburg, IL. I've found my friends, my scholastic interests, my extracurricular activities, and while I expect that the next two years will bring plenty of excitement and novelty, I feel confidant that I have this whole college life thing pretty well figured out. And maybe I'm being egocentric, but I think I have some useful things to say to the rest of the world about living in college.

There are hundreds of colleges out there in the United States alone, all of them different in some way. But there are still universal traits that bind us together.

1. We live in teeny-weeny dorm rooms.
I admit, I was spoiled as a kid. I had my own room for most of my childhood, somewhere around 15x20, and I kept it pretty full of stuff. Now I live in a 12x15 room that I share with my friend Scrat. From what friends at other colleges tell me, this is pretty normal, if not on the large side, for a dorm room. So unless you've got a lot of money to throw around for nice housing off-campus, chances are your living space is pretty cramped.

2. We don't have lots of money.
Parents are beginning to (or have already) cut off financial support. College itself is friggin' expensive, and more and more students are having to foot the bill themselves. Studies make it almost impossible to get a full time job during the school year. And on top of all that, you want a little money saved up for after graduation when you enter the big, bad world. All things considered, college student usually don't have a ton of money, and even those who aren't acutely feeling the pinch don't mind saving some extra dough.

3. Most of us are hippies.
I don't mean the kind that only wear organic hemp clothing, never bathe or shave, and are followed by a perpetual cloud of weed smoke, though there are plenty of those on most college campuses. I mean any of the children of this generation, who tend to be more conscious and caring about their impact on the environment. Most of us have a little bit of hippie in us, and all other things being equal, we would like to do the right thing by Mother Nature.

With these things in mind, I begin Nerfulness' Guide to College Life, my field guide to living inexpensively and eco-consciously in a tiny space. Because while it seems like these are some pretty severe limitations, you can do a lot of surprising things on a limited budget with your dorm room. So to all you college students, college-bound seniors, or anyone else basically living like a student, I hope someone finds this useful.

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