It never ceases to amaze me that whenever I look through lists of “must-haves” for college, mini-fridges are repeatedly at the top of them. I didn’t bring a mini-fridge to college my freshman year, and I haven’t done it since. Even though my roommate has brought hers to college for the past two years, I’ve never really felt it to be all that essential. If you’re on the fence about whether you should bring a mini-fridge with you to college, I have some advice for you to consider.
For one thing, these tiny mini-fridges aren’t terribly cheap, and they take up a significant amount of space. If you’re bringing a lot of things to college, keep in mind that your mini-fridge will take up a decent amount of space in your room — you don’t want to position it in a way that makes it easy to knock into when you get up to use the bathroom in the middle of the night. Because of this, you also want to talk to your roommate to make sure only one of you is bringing one.
Additionally, even if both you and your roommate were to bring mini-fridges, you have to think about how realistic it is that both of you would ever need that much space to keep your things cool. When my roommate and I had ours, it pretty much exclusively held the occasional soda can and/or kept the ice cool in the mini-freezer. If you’re going to be cooking a lot and you don’t want to risk leaving your expensive things in the communal fridge, then a mini-fridge would be a good investment. If the only thing that’s going to go in there is leftover take-out, you may want to reconsider.
The final thing you really need to consider before bringing a mini-fridge is if you’re willing to lug it up and down three flights of stairs. If there is no elevator in your dorm (which applies to quite a few of the dorms on campus), then good luck. If you drove yourself to the College of William & Mary, then you will once again have to get all of your things, including the mini-fridge, down to the parking lot and into the car. In the grand scheme of things, this is a pretty minor thing to worry about — and you can probably rely on someone else to give you a hand if it gets tough. But if you’re in a situation where you can’t take the mini-fridge home, you have to find someone to help you get it across campus to the storage units in Landrum.
All in all, yes, the communal fridges in the dorms aren’t super clean, and there’s always the risk that someone will take your food. For the most part, however, I’ve noticed that no one will touch your leftover mushu pork if it looks like you’ve eaten a good chunk of it. Sometimes students completely forget about the food they’ve left there, and it eventually gets thrown out. Unless you plan on cooking consistently on your own and you need a safe place to store your perishables, think carefully before you decide to add “dealing with mini-fridge” to the bottom of your to-do list at the end of the semester.