Jonas Doerr – Opinion Columnist
‘Tis the season when Gusties start to wonder, “how can I cover these naked walls?” The unclad white plaster starts to create anxiety in the Caf-filled stomachs of some students, while other students think “why bother?”
Hamlet asked, “to be or not to be?” but far more important than the question of whether to live is the question of whether to decorate. Is it worth the trip to the store? Are fourteen strings of lights enough? Is the two-week-old ramen stain enough decoration?
For some, home is where the heart is, and that means they should plaster their heart all over the walls and ceiling in the form of decorations. Plants, posters, and lights give rooms the personality of their owners.
“Decorating makes it more like home,” Pittman residents Kendra Stanton, Katie Linder, and Samara Goltz said. Between the three of them, they had a little coffee area, hanging lights, and some Halloween decorations stashed away for spooky season.
One student noted that he hadn’t decorated his room much, but he would soon. “It’s probably a little boring and looks a little bland. I’ll have to liven it up a little,” Pittman resident Joey Auge said.
Not decorating one’s room “makes it feel like a jail cell,” First-year Taylor Katzenmeyer said. A dorm should be nicer than a jail cell – it’s a lot cheaper to get a cell, after all.
However, not all students agree that decorating is necessary. “If you want to have lights, ok, but what’s the point?” Collegiate Fellow Nazid Mahin said. Instead, he says, people should just stick to simplistic stuff like a whiteboard and good organization.
Decorating can make your room look “too cluttered,” First-year Tanner Hadler said. Students have a hard enough time keeping their things clean already, so why make it harder?
In reality, there’s a formula for how much of one’s room can be decorated and how much shouldn’t. First off, you need to calculate the volume of your room. A Pittman dorm is eight feet tall, 16.75 feet long, and about 9.5 feet wide. This comes out to 1273 cubic feet of volume, which sounds like a lot.
Now that you know it’s a lot, it means you have enough for decorations. You can designate about 271.1 cubic feet towards decorating, and the other 1001.9 will be for sleeping, jumping jacks, and other general shenanigans.
So far, this still isn’t very useful. What should the 271.1 cubic feet of decorations be? There are two key things to remember while deciding this.
First of all, remember that you will accumulate more stuff over the semester. The Campus Activity Board is practically dying to give you free stuff, and you wouldn’t want to have to say no because of your oversized plush hippopotamus.
This means you need to start off slim on the decorations. That two-year-old photo of a high school friend you’ll (probably) never see again? Eh, toss it. That half-dead plant you found in someone’s backyard? Feed it to the worms. Don’t use up your cubic footage too soon.
Secondly, make the most of the space you do have. Every decorative item you have needs to be very meaningful to you. A couple of first-year students have great examples of this idea.
First-year roommates Kaia Meyer and Carolee Hanks decided to use some of their space for plants. But not just any plants. Their plants have personality. The succulent is named Talen, after a friend. The aloe vera plant is named Alfredo, but not because the juice in the leaves tastes like a pasta sauce.
But wait, there’s more. Meyer and Hanks even named their garbage can after their friend Precious, whom they must have mixed feelings towards.
This, O fellow students of our beloved institution, is how you milk a dorm for every last drop of value. Do your plants have names? Better yet, does your garbage can have a name? If not, you either don’t care about your room or you don’t have friends’ names to borrow.
It probably won’t matter too much whether you chose to lavishly decorate your dorm or not to anyone except your guilt-ridden conscience. If you can ignore the voices telling you that you’re boring and bland, why not be boring and bland? On other hand, if your bank account is screaming for you to empty it, why not buy some dumpster-fodder to hang on your walls?
One thing most students can agree on is that your decorations express your personality. They show people who you are. So don’t stress about whether you need a bit more festive adornment in your room. It’ll reveal your soul to anyone who visits, but does it really matter? You can always say it’s your roommate’s personality.