Sunday, September 7, 2014

Let Dorms Be Dorms

The Star Tribune Sunday Homes section has done it again when it comes to raising my blood pressure, this time by reprinting a Washington Post story titled Designing Parents Raid the Dorm. (Note: the link is not to the Strib site... maybe they're too ashamed to put it up for posterity.)

It starts off only moderately annoying, telling of a mother-daughter pair who couldn't find cool enough goods for the daughter's first-year dorm room, so they started a company called Dormify. Okay, well, I guess there could be some better choices in bedspreads and accessories for students as they head off to college.

But just after that, it tapped a new vein of outrageousness:

Then there are the families who take it to the next level: hiring a professional decorator to transform the typical college cell into a cozy retreat.

[The typical dorm room is] a challenge for many millennials who have never shared a bedroom or bath and aren't accustomed to roommates or going without.

Helicopter parents are not inclined to drop their darlings at the dorm entrance with two suitcases and a cheerful wave goodbye. Instead, they're turning to their own interior designers or professional organizers…
There's a big difference between helping a student deal with having a roommate for the first time and hiring a decorator. (And really, who can have much sympathy for someone who's never had to share a bathroom before?)

It's telling that the story originated at the Washington Post. The Washington, D.C., area has the country's third highest average household income, largely because the incredibly well-paid people who live in Northern Virginia more than balance out the poor people hanging on in parts of the District.

That the Strib thought this story was worth reprinting in the Twin Cities speaks to completely unacceptable levels of materialism and unconsciousness about what's important. At the same time that way too many students are going into debt to pay for school, it encourages a keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality that we can all do without.

1 comment:

Michael Leddy said...

My children would have been mortified to have their parents step in in this way.

I like seeing the plain word “dorms.” In the parlance of higher ed, they’re now “residence halls.”