Back To School 2007: Geek Out Your Dorm Room

I remember my college days very fondly, especially living in the dorms. That sounds a little weird, but I enjoyed it for many reasons: wicked fast Internet, tons of girls that were ready, willing and able to…help me study (get your head out of the gutter), and a food court within a couple hundred yards for the many occasions when I got the munchies.

The dorm rooms themselves were a different story. Each of the halls at my alma mater were in varying degrees of squalor and only the lucky made their way into the newly renovated buildings. Luckily for me, I lived in the one where Ted Bundy did some of his dirty work, but I had my own walk in closet, a large ‘living room’ and a separate bedroom. But not every campus is the same and you’re probably stuck in a 12×19 chicken coop where you and some douche each have a desk, dresser, wardrobe, and a bunk bed. You don’t have a lot of space and you probably don’t have a lot of money to spend on gadgets and gear since books cost way more than they should, but you have to pimp out that room to charm the ladies of Tri-Delta (everyone else has) into thinking that you’re the big man on campus. Here’s a list of what you’re going to need.

The first thing you’re going to need is a mini-fridge. You don’t need a specific brand or anything fancy so just get whatever’s cheapest. Chicks don’t like warm beer and neither should you. It’s also a great place to store your bong if you’re into that sort of thing. It’s a basic necessity and your RA probably isn’t cool with you keeping beer or your bong in the shared fridge. It ends up being the best investment you’ll make in college and you’ll most likely use it for the duration of your years at school. While you’re at it, pick up one of these. Cheap vodka is not fun to drink. Trust me.


I thought about including a small stereo system in my list, but the cheap ones are really lame and the sound quality is terrible to begin with so it’s not worth it. In lieu of that I’d just go with an alarm clock/iPod dock. You’re bound to have an early class and trust me when I tell you that waking up without the help of your mom or dad is hard when you’re on your own. So I’ve picked out the iHome iH7 Dual Alarm Clock because it’s cost effective and has the necessary features you’d want from a dock. The dual alarms allow you to wake up to your iPod, the radio or the buzzer. It’s always nice to have a second alarm because if you’re like me then you’ll surely hit the snooze more than once. It’s perfect for your iPod or any MP3 player thanks to the RCA jack. Some may think that the satellite speaker is rather pointless on this unit because it’s not actually adding extra sound, rather, it’s switching the right speaker to the satellite when it’s plugged in. That’s pretty chintzy in my opinion, but it gives you the option to spread out the sound so it surrounds your noggin. The included remote control is an added bonus because chances are when you’re necking with a Tri-Delta a song you may be embarrassed about will come on. The overall consensus is that the iHome iH7 is the best all around iPod dock alarm clock radio. Try it out for $150. Failing that you should think about Clocky as an added alarm. It certainly doesn’t hurt to have options. When you move out of the dorm you can think about upgrading to a better stereo system.

Your roommate may be a douche, but it’s likely he may actually get lucky and score with some random chick. You really don’t want to listen to them have awkward sex do you? So what can you do to not vomit? First, you can turn the other way and face the wall. The other option is to get a pair of earbuds that block out that dry heave inducing noise. You can’t sleep with cans so there’s the reasoning behind the earbud selection. A lot of people dislike the Bose in-ear headphones, but I actually like them as I’ve had them for a little over a month now. They’re a bit pricey considering you can get noise canceling headphones for the same price, but it’s up to you. They’re $100 and do a decent job of blocking out unwanted noise. If you want a pair of noise canceling buds for the same price then try out the Sony MDR-NC22s. I don’t think you can lose either way. If you’re strapped for cash then try out the Sony Fontopias. They’re $40 and get the job done. Hopefully your roommate or the young lady spending the night has the common courtesy to put a pillow over the other’s mouth.

I won’t go into TVs or laptops since the other guys have you covered there. Of course, you should have a gaming console because any geek without one is certainly not a geek. I won’t go into which is better than the other, but I think the Wii is a pretty good way to go. It’s a sociable console that everyone can play. Chances are the girlies will even want to play. Maybe, just maybe, one of the girls calls you out for not having a 360 or PS3. If this is the case then you should swoop that girl up. Very rarely will you find a hot girl who likes to game. Just make sure you’re better than her.

solio_302.jpgI wouldn’t be a true Oregonian if I didn’t mention some eco-friendly tech for your dorm room. The Solio has been around for a few years, but it’s still worth a mention. It’s free power. Need I say more? Ok, fine. You need as many outlets as possible to power up the rest of your gadgets, so why not use the Solio to recharge your cell phone, MP3 player, PSP or Game Boys, Garmin GPS, digital camera or PDA. I’ve got one and I love it. The Solio is small and light, so you can throw it in your bag and not worry about your cell phone dying. It’s a $99 and comes in pink, white, silver and black. It is well worth every penny.

That about wraps it up for geeking out your dorm room. I purposely left out the high-end gadgets and gear because chances are you’re just like I was in college, broke. Don’t break the bank your first year of school. Stuff can easily be stolen and you really don’t want to stress over that. Be sure to check out Matt’s recent help key on keeping your laptop secure. Have fun this year because it goes by really quick. If you can think of anything else then drop a comment. It’s been a few years since I’ve lived in the dorms so things could have changed.