Illustration: Reine Tejares
Move over newlyweds and expecting parents, your not the only ones who get to calls dibs on cool housewarming items anymore. Now students are getting in on the action with the emergence of dorm room gift registries, a service that allows them to map out gift preferences for their first year of university. Is this a smart and economically sound move on part of these new students, or is this another example of the entitled “Me, Me, Me” generation running wild?
A practical solution to a widespread problem
Gift registries have long existed for occasions like weddings, anniversaries, baby showers, and graduations. In fact, there are registries for most life changing events, so it makes sense to have one dedicated to students who are transitioning into their post-secondary lives.
Married couples who are celebrating their 20th wedding anniversaries generally don’t need to be showered with gifts. On the other hand, first-time university students are usually poor as shit, so why not take advantage of a service that caters to someone who actually needs things like food and school supplies?
The sad reality is that these dorm registries are just the latest method to combat the constantly increasing tuition rates faced by students in Canada today. As freshmen move into residence and get smacked with zillions of expenses they hadn’t anticipated, they might not be able to afford basic necessities like silverware, or even food (the latter is sadly becoming more likely since campus food bank usage has been on the rise).
Most people know how financially draining university can be, so what’s the harm in sharing a dorm registry with your loved ones? Many of us are lucky enough to have friends and family who want to give us a parting gift as we embark for university, so we might as well be as transparent as possible with what we need.
Besides, parents would probably feel better in knowing that their son or daughter has enough loose-leaf paper to get them through the week, as opposed to giving their married friends yet another useless decorative pillow.
Find your stuff somewhere else
I’m all about getting prepared for university life ahead of time, but something about the concept of dorm room gift registries really rubs me the wrong way.
Traditionally when an incoming university student is looking to stock their new dorm room with all the basic necessities, they seek out the help of friends and family, by asking them to donate used items. Not only is this a great cost-saving measure, but it’s also a great way to reconnect with loved ones, and reinforce those personal bonds before heading off to school.
But now, instead of calling on Aunt Jane and Uncle Jack to inquire about their used toaster, students are now being encouraged to run into the arms of corporate overlords like Bed, Bath, and Beyond—who host these dorm registries online—to consume whatever cheap crap they have to offer. No thanks.
Additionally, the whole process seems rather redundant. The economic plight of new university students is widely known, so much so that gift-giving events such as “trunk parties,” are becoming more and more popular. To this end, it seems like these dorm room gift registries are only good for giving students a better opportunity to get their mitts on luxury items that their parents would never buy them in the first place.
There is already enough anti-millennial rhetoric online about how entitled we are. We shouldn’t give ammunition to disgruntled Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers by passing off new 80-inch flat screen TVs or cotton candy machines as the “basic necessities” for campus life.
When preparing to go to university, students should always seek out used items from loved ones or discount stores first, and only use services like dorm room gift registries as a last resort.