Friday, September 12, 2008

On Too Much Stuff

Ok, whether I have too many or too few things compared to the average person can be debated- I'm told I don't have much for a college student even- but every once in awhile what I do have annoys me to the point where I half-think I want to travel the world next semester just to cut down on my material posessions. This thought hit me harder than usual earlier this week when I was supposed to write my fortnightly column but was still working hard on organizing my room, so the following article resulted-

Senior contemplates need for accumulated possessions

Last weekend I went home for the first time in months to pick up my stuff. I realize this is a few weeks later than most people furnish their dorm room with a beanbag chair and a couple posters, but my situation was complicated since I arrived on campus straight from my summer job in California. And while my time on the West Coast did not do things like leave me with a mystical urge to expand my mind – I do physics, my mind is weird enough – it did reduce me to two bags worth of possessions until just a few days ago.

Now let me say this: I have way too much stuff. I realize this is an odd statement to make when your worldly possessions can fit into the back of your parents' minivan, but my mind can't help but notice how I survived several months without missing most of it. I'm not quite certain yet why a lot of this junk is here anyway, except to stand in front of whatever I happen to be urgently looking for.

What sort of things am I talking about? For starters, let's take my bookshelf. I didn't really need it for all these months, but I needed to bring it now to shelve the books and DVDs I also brought (which, of course, were living quietly undisturbed lives in the basement until I brought them to live quietly undisturbed lives on the bookshelf). I brought back a large quantity of pillows for my bed as well. These serve no discernable purpose except as projectile missiles whenever my suitemates annoy me, but I like them for inexplicable reasons so I hold onto them.

A lot of my trepidation, I freely admit, is from all the moving around I have done since my freshman year. You move a lot in college – this last one was my 12th – and you pick up pretty quickly that the less stuff you have, the less you need to pack. Put it this way; there is a reason a miniature legion of people are on hand to assist freshman to move in while most everyone else just corrals their own resources.

To be honest though, I very much appreciate the items that stuck around this long. Few material possessions will ever delight me as much as my set of colored pens, for example, and I'd be embarrassed to publicly admit how little time needs to pass before I miss my computer. Further, once an item of clothing gets in my wardrobe it doesn't leave very easily, to the great annoyance of my mother. This results in her passive-aggressively taking my favorite shirts out of my laundry hamper whenever I visit, to which I retaliate by finding the shirts behind the dryer and putting them back where they belong. I figure if this is as big as our mother-daughter strife is, I should just leave it be.

And now you'll have to excuse me, because my suitemate just came into my room to tell me she ate the last of the ice cream. Doggone it, where are those pillows when you need them?

Cendes is a fifth year physics major. In her spare time, she plans for what she politely calls "galactic domination."