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BJU Dorm Life, for the Men

Top Ten Things to Bring... or Leave.

  1. A computer? Yes, but NO GAMES!
    I'd say yes, but only if you leave Quake, Blood, Doom, Duke Nuke'Em, Minesweeper, Solitaire, and anything else recreational at home. I brought my piddly little Commodore 64 to BJU with me. I had a printer and SpeedScript 3.2--adequate for word processing. However, even the feeble games on that Commodore could chew into valuable study time. You can get an email account via the school--you'll have a address for a nominal fee. Also, filtered net access is available.
  2. My Nintendo/Sega/Atari/Whatever game machine? NO!
    Nope; leave it at home. Great social boost, wonderful thief-bait, poor use of time. For every guy that brought a game machine to BJU, there were at least 2 roommates who wished the video game junkie crowd in the dorm room would just GO AWAY. Also, although the BJU student body is traditionally very trustworthy, you might encounter someone who'll walk off with valuables; fact of life anywhere on Earth.
    Note: Some video games have been banned due to violent or occult content. I got 50 demerits for uncheckable (see the BJU Lingo list) video game music from my Commodore--you could imagine the kind of trouble some of the current popular games could get you into. Nothing will destroy a guy's GPA faster than convenient recreational software! Trust me; this is experience speaking. Besides, the games that will be around by the time you graduate will make the games you played in school pale in comparison. During my college days, the most impressive shareware games out there ranged from Commander Keen up to Doom II. Now, we've got Quake, Duke Nuke'Em, MDK, Unreal, etc...
  3. My stereo? If small, YES.
    Depends. If you can pick up and hold all components of your stereo system for longer than 5 minutes and carry them up and down 2 flights of stairs without breaking anything on the stereo--or on your body--then perhaps yes. Do you really think you can appreciate the sound of a 500-watt system when it's in a 400 square foot room? NO. It's like being inside the speakers. Nobody will be impressed. A midrange boom box with a CD player is plenty for a dorm room. Leave the headphones at home, by the way; they're not permitted.
  4. My CD collection? Well, maybe...
    BJU Music standards, brief version: If it was composed before 1940 and is performed in the musical style and original instrumentation of its date of composition, it's probably fine. Anything after that could be deemed unacceptable. Seriously. BJU holds very high standards for all fine arts and music--music is a real stickler for some students. What about Christian contemporary artists like Amy Grant, Sandi Patti, Mark Lowry, Steven Green, Michael W. Smith, Twila Paris, Petra, D.C. Talk, 4 Him? Nope. Basically, if you ever heard it on your local Christian pop station, forget it. Leave them all home during your BJU educational career; after that, think about it and prayerfully set your own standards. 
    There are many receivable radio stations in the BJU listening area, but only 3 of them are permitted that I am aware of; 2 of the 3 are run by BJU, and the last one's the local talk radio affiliate, WORD. (Hey, Dittoheads, you won't go through Rush Limbaugh withdrawal!)
  5. My entire wardrobe?
    For the gals, please see the tips for the gals--from my wife.
    Guys, here's what I'd recommend:

    • 2 suits
    • 5-10 pairs of comfortable Docker-esque almost-dress pants (no denim, pleats are fine, easy on the neon!)
    • 2 pairs of jeans (unless you're working on campus in a messy environment--increase as needed)
    • 5-10 pairs of dress socks, a few pairs of white socks, 3 pairs of shoes (1 pair "full dress," casual--the kind you could wear to a job interview or with a tie, but that are comfortable; Dexters, penny-loafers, etc., and tennis shoes)
    • Several ties.
    • Bring one windbreaker for the mild season, and an overcoat for the miserable wet season that calls itself winter. My "pro" recommendation: a Columbia Sportswear brand "Bugaboo" parka. It's windproof, water-repellent, the liner zips out for use as a zippered sweater, and the outer shell makes an awesome windbreaker. This coat also costs a small fortune, but will probably last all four years of your college career and far beyond.
    • Cutoff blue jeans, shorts, tank tops, and t-shirts with logos will almost never be allowed out in public, but are generally OK in the dormitories.
    • Ditch the chambray--it's tacky, it's not permitted, and I hope it goes out of style soon anyhow. (It was the big thing when I was a student.)
    • Khaki is great; cotton shirts are fine. Think "job interviews" and not "Big Man On Campus," and you'll get a better idea of your wardrobe. You'll be wearing ties until noon Monday through Friday, and a suit all day Sunday.

    Side Thought: Concerned about BJU telling you what you can and can't wear? I've heard high school juniors and seniors say, "It's not fair! No schools gonna' tell me what I can and can't wear!" Guess what: A lot of companies (i.e., your future employers) have dress codes. Can you say Real World? "Business attire" (BJU "morning dress code") is generally suit and tie, or at least dress shirt and tie. "Business casual" (BJU "afternoon dress code") is collared shirt, dress slacks, no tie necessary, no jeans... Get used to dressing decently; your employer's going to tell you what you should wear--why not practice during your college years?

    • Guys, want a neat shopping hint? Get a few gals from your church's college class to shop with you and give you some ideas. Britches Outdoors is a good template look; their business-style line would be right on target. J. Rigging is neat, too, if you can afford it.
    • Sweaters are great. They can cover up too-short or out-of-style ties in a pinch. You still have to wear the tie, though--minor technicality.
    • Bring a couple turtleneck shirts--not mock turtleneck, but the real thing, the style you have to fold down. (Mock turtlenecks haven't been often accepted as a proper business casual style, either, so don't whine.)
    • Tip for the westerners: Leave the cowboy hats, boots, and spurs at home, unless you have some unusual craving to stand out in the crowd. There are a lot of Yankees down at BJU.

  6. My sci-fi/fantasy/romance/historical book collection? No, you'll be too busy.
    You probably won't be asked to do many book reports on them. And you won't--shouldn't--have enough time to enjoy them. If you must, be selective. Leave the future collector items at home, for safety's sake, and bring no more than 5 of any given series. Some recent popular authors or series may be off-limits soon anyway, such as Raymond Feist, Terry Brooks, and Tom Clancy. This is primarily due to the use of the "seven words you're not supposed to say on TV" which are off-limits either spoken or written at BJU.
  7. My favorite priceless sentimental item from childhood?
    This depends. Stuffed animals are one thing if you need that touch of home. But if they're just for decoration, reconsider. If any item that you're taking to college is potentially disposable, financially replaceable, or easily repairable, it'll survive just fine. Fragile, "this-end-up" kind of stuff just doesn't make for a relaxing time when you're moving in with 2 total strangers. My wife has told me of the sort of arguments that happen on the girl's side of campus about where personal possessions are placed in the room.
  8. Food?
    You can survive quite well on the diet served in the Dining Common; 3 meals a day, all-you-can-eat, and considering they're cooking for 2000 people or more per meal, BJU does a good job. The high carbohydrate content is undeniable, but you'll burn off a lot of calories walking around campus. I haven't investigated the possible fat content, so be alert. As a Yankee, I was surprised to see that Southerners are big on gravy--on everything! If all else fails, there's the salad bar, too. Most men students do not gain much weight at school; many lose a few pounds at first.
  9. Bicycle?
    In reality, you don't need a bike. They're handy, and if you keep your cycle well-maintained and use it often, so much the better. However, you should be able to design your class schedule in such a way that you don't have to walk more than 5-7 minutes between any two activities. Also, the rainy season is difficult to ride in, and is really rough on bicycles. I used my bicycle for about one year, and during the two summers I worked on campus. That's it. You'll either need to disassemble your bike to get into a closet, or park it outside (bring a tarp).
  10. Umbrella?
    Yes, emphatically! You'll lose at least 2 while a student, so don't bring the family heirloom. Bring one large enough for you and a friend! Be friendly, guys, and offer some umbrella coverage to the ladies if they forget theirs. It's a southern gentlemanly thing, and a great ice-breaker.
    Covered sidewalks are available between the primary classroom buildings and most facilities on campus, but there's always that long run to the School of Applied Studies building on the west side from the speech building on the east end. In a driving rain, that can be a long, wet trip!
    Neat note: some gas stations in Greenville sell large umbrellas for less than $7--not too bad of a price, but they're not quite golf size, either. Sure was the last place I would have thought to find a great deal on an umbrella.
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