What did you bring to college?

The Class of 2016 is wrapping up their first quarter as college students, having undergone the difficulties acclimating to an entirely new environment.

From pictures and posters to books and stuffed animals, college first-years have brought all kinds of items from home to make their dorm rooms feel a little more comforting.

“I brought a cute night light to my dorm room because I have been scared of the dark since I was little,” said first-year biological sciences major Victoria Tran. “I plug it in right before I sleep and make sure it is not too bright so my roommate does not wake up.”

Tran said there’s nothing like a night light to make all the bad monsters under those Segundo dorm beds go away.

“If you want other people to make fun of you then yes, please bring a night light,” Tran said.

Along with night lights, students bring various items that serve different purposes. While students aren’t allowed to bring toasters for fear of the rooms catching on fire, brownie and panini makers have yet to be banned.

“I love to cook but the kitchen in Cuarto is really small and not convenient since I live on the third floor and it’s on the first,” said first-year managerial economics major Tina Pan. “I decided to bring a brownie maker to make brownies for my suitemates.”

Students may bring things that are purely for function, such as a brownie maker, or may keep items around with little use but which simply spark interest in the individual, as is the case with first-year psychology major Mona Nguyen and her empty photo frame.

“I have a picture frame with the stock photo still inside it because I don’t know what to put in it yet. I just like staring at the girl who seems so happy sitting on the swing in the sunlight. A lot of people think it’s weird,” Nguyen said.

Most pets aren’t allowed, for obvious reasons. However, the one pet that is allowed is a fish. First-year chemistry major Kevin Cervantes has adopted the responsibilities that owning a fish in the dorms entails.

“When my RA found out, he told me to fill out fish forms that took a whole day,” he said.

According to Cervantes, the hassle of taking care of a fish outweighs the benefits. As a first-year, it is difficult to take care of another creature when one is just learning to take care of oneself.

“It’s always nice to have a fish swimming happily next to you as you do homework. However, if ever you are offered a fish and you don’t have the means to take care of it, just say no. Initially, what was meant as a friendly heartwarming gift was really just another load of work I had to deal with,” Cervantes said.

While some students have fish friends to keep them company, others seek comfort in mementos from past experiences. One example is first-year undeclared major Anya Stewart, who brought beads from Uganda.

“My sister went on a mission trip to Uganda earlier this year around June,” she said. “She met many people and traveled around to many different villages with her group. In one of the villages, there was a wedding going on for two regular mission trippers to that particular village. There was a huge celebration and my sister got me some beads from women in the tribe who made it for the celebration. They’re made out of banana paper with a special glaze over them.”

Stewart said that she hangs the tribal necklace on her wall because it is of such great significance to her.

Dorm walls are the perfect place to showcase personal items, as seen with Stewart’s beads, but also with the owl collection of Taryn Peters, a first-year biological sciences major.

“I have little pictures of owls on the wall and also a small ceramic owl on my desk. Not only are owls my favorite animal but they also have symbolic meanings. An owl can have the meaning of intelligence, wisdom and mystery, which I think are very unique and interesting,” Peters said.

Another first-year UC Davis student, undeclared major Moris Martinez, also brought his collection to college.

“Being a huge fan of Spiderman, I had to bring a figurine of him along with others that I had been collecting over the last year like Venom, Cyclops and Iron Man,” Martinez said. “I had initially planned to line them all up but on my second week I had made so many new friends at Tercero that I decided to give them away. My Spiderman is still with me, though, standing proud overlooking my desk while the other figurines are overlooking other people’s.”

Martinez said that collecting Marvel Figures is his hobby, yet he finds more pleasure in sharing them with friends on his floor.

“I feel so awesome when I walk in and see Venom on my friend’s desk. It is something that has brought us closer together as friends,” Martinez said. “I really don’t know why I wanted to put so many figurines on my desk; now that I think about it it seems ridiculous, but I am glad that I was able to bring them and give them to others.”

ALICE LEE can be reached at features@theaggie.org.

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