What must you have in your dorm room this Fall?

I am a college professor, so I do pay some attention to all the back-to-school kinds of articles that get published this time of year. I came across one this morning that was a little strange. has a list of “top essentials” that every college student must have in his dorm room this Fall. Color me unconvinced. It seems to me that this list is mainly composed of luxury items while leaving out actual essential items (e.g., laptop computer). I wonder if you agree. Here’s the list with my brief remarks on each:

1. Computer monitor/TV – It seems to me that having a computer should top this list. A big screen monitor is really kind of useless without a computer. For some inexplicable reason a computer is not even on the list, but it is truly an essential piece of equipment for today’s college student.

2. Mouse and keyboard – Again with the peripherals? Mouses and keyboards work a lot better when there is a computer to plug them into. They don’t work at all without one. A laptop computer, on the other hand, works just fine without these external devices.

3. Surge protector – recommends a surge protector that costs $44. I don’t know about you, but I’ve never needed a luxury surge protector. Here’s one for less than a quarter of the price.

4. Electric toothbrush – Unless your wrist is broken, I’m not really seeing how this would make your list of “must-have” items.

5. Charging station – The report recommends a model that costs $40. I say skip this and just get another surge protector (see #3).

6. iPod dock/alarm clock – You need an alarm clock, but your iPod alarm clock is plenty loud without the docking speakers. I’m sure this is a nice item, but certainly not an essential.

7. Computer back-up solution – This is essential if you have a computer. Why isn’t there a computer on this list?

I’m writing this post with tongue firmly implanted in cheek. But there really are some essentials that students need to put on their must-have lists as they go to school this Fall. I will follow-up tomorrow with what I would recommend, and cheeks will be back to normal then.

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