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Anyone ever had their gear stolen?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm going to college soon, and I'm getting a little paranoid about pickpockets and other kinds of theives. I know some headphones and other electronics might not be considered very expensive compared to high-end, professional equipment, but I still think it's very easy to others take out of our bags and rooms. Has any of you ever had your audio gear stolen? How did you deal with the situation?

post #2 of 7

Never had audio gear stolen (also never had any worth stealing, to be honest), but I've had other things grow legs... nothing too expensive, fortunately. A couple things I learned during my college experience:

 

Make sure you can trust your roommate(s). No roommate situation will ever be perfect, but if you can't trust them not to nick your stuff (or if they're friends with people who might nick your stuff, and they habitually bring those friends back to your room), the situation will not improve with time. Put in for a transfer, if necessary. Most colleges will accommodate room switch requests, and you don't have to state a reason beyond "we're not getting on." A roommate who's not your best buddy, but who'll respect your personal space and things is much better than a friendly or pseudo-friendly roommate with sticky fingers.

 

Don't leave expensive things lying around. You don't (shouldn't) need to lock them in a safe or bury them in your sock drawer any time they're not in your hands, but make sure they're put away when you're done... kind of like you would in a hotel.

 

Unless you're planning on being a party animal, see if your campus has a "dry" dorm, at least for your first year or two. "Dry" dorms are generally a little less hectic and have less constant in and out traffic. That's not to say that you have to abstain from parties, if that's your thing... it means that said parties happen in the *other* dorms, in *other* people's rooms.

 

Don't neglect opportunities to meet other students outside of class. I did, and it made things much more complicated when I realized I had an untenable roommate situation, because I didn't have anyone better in mind to room with... I ended up having to delay switching for a few more weeks while I made some social in roads. Having buddies that you trust also means that, in an emergency-ish situation (say you come back to the room to find that your usually bookish roommate is throwing a rave there), you can grab anything expensive and stash it with said buddy, and/or go hang out with them instead of exiling yourself to the library with all your worldly possessions.

 

Don't bring the whole house to college. You'll need much less than you think you do. The more stuff you have, especially expensive or irreplaceable stuff, the more you'll feel like you have to keep an eye on. I ended up dumping about half of the stuff I'd brought with me back at my parents' house after the first semester, just because I didn't need it and was sick of worrying about breaking/losing/"losing" it.

 

(Edit to add): As far as pickpockets, the only thing you can do there is don't walk around with a bunch of expensive stuff in your bag/pockets, and be aware of your surroundings. Take only what you need with you - leave the rest in your room. That's why it's important to have roommates you can trust. Your chance of being pickpocketed depends on where you're going to school - my campus was in the middle of nowhere, so pickpocketing wasn't a concern of mine (but I still didn't walk around with any more than what I needed). That said, being so rural also made it a very *dark* campus, so I didn't screw around if I was going somewhere at night, and tried to take people with me when I could - just because groups are less likely to be targeted than individuals.


Edited by Seanchai - 8/11/13 at 7:00pm
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thanks for replying! I wasn't expecting such a long reply lol... lots of helpful info :) 

I haven't met my roommate yet, but so far I've learned that she likes to party a lot and is casual with strangers, so I'll make sure to tell her not to bring too many guests over. Anyway, would you say that the dresser or a luggage stowed under a bed would be a better place to keep valuables long-term? 

 

Quote:
I ended up dumping about half of the stuff I'd brought with me back at my parents' house after the first semester, just because I didn't need it and was sick of worrying about breaking/losing/"losing" it.

 

What were some of the things that you decided not to keep with you? I'm packing right now, and any tips to reduce the amount of stuff I bring would help greatly. I'm going to school of art, if that helps. Thanks again!

post #4 of 7

I've had the misfortune of getting a graphing calculator (if you know what this is you know these aren't cheap) as well as a pair of earphones (t-jays, long ago) stolen from me, and if I have one piece of advice it would be to never take for granted the security of the place you're in, don't let your guard down if you know that your stuff isn't in a secure location. I keep all my belongings away either in my backpack/locker, or on my person, at the very least out of plain sight. 

 

And another thing about Art school (I have a few friends in a local art school) is that people like to steal nice stationery, so keep away stash your fancy expensive pens/ brushes and whatnot when not in use, and don't leave them out on the open on a desk for extended periods of time. Also label your stuff if possible :) 

 

Hope this helps!

post #5 of 7

Re: Hammering out expectations with the roommate, it's something you have to do, and you're smart to want to do it sooner rather than later, but try to be diplomatic in your phrasing. One of the most useful things I learned in psych classes is that persuasion depends almost entirely on how something is put. If you sound didactic and absolutist, you're going to meet with rebellion (since it's a *new* roommate, it will probably be passive-aggressive rebellion, which is even worse!) If you sound diplomatic and reasonable, without compromising what you want, then you'll have a better chance of success.

 

For example: "Don't bring too many guests over, okay?" or "I really don't want more than three people at a time in the room," while very clear and direct, are going to result in your roommate thinking, "who are you, my mother?" and/or "hey, it's my room too, so deal with it."

 

On the other hand, you could say, "I like my personal space; could we make a rule that neither of us parties *in* the room?" or, "I like to go to bed early/study late, so I really need things calm around here after 9pm - is there something I can do for you to even out that kind of compromise?" These are, of course, much more indirect ways of phrasing what you want, but they achieve the same goal (no heavy traffic in the room) and they make it clear that you're sympathetic to the fact that she has her own needs, and that you're willing to give a little to get a little.
 

Both a dresser and under the bed storage are good options - though watch out if you have to share a dresser. In my room, we had one small dresser and one wardrobe cabinet with some shelving... my roommate took the dresser and I took the wardrobe, which had a little less storage space but was padlockable. Once I had a roommate I trusted, I took the padlock off.

 

I brought home bags and bags and bags of clothes, to be honest! I'm not a clotheshorse by any means, but I figured having more clothes would mean I could do laundry less often (the laundry facilities were expensive, ancient, painfully slow, and crap). That turned out to be a bad plan, because it made me desperate for space and I never wore most of what I brought anyway. In the end, I kept about a week's worth of interchangeable "outfits" (jeans, slacks, t-shirts), one set of really nice clothes for any formalish occasions, two pairs of shorts, two sets of sweats, one sweater, one light jacket, one coat, one pair of shoes and one pair of boots (I would've kept one pair of sandals/flip-flops if I shared a bathroom, but I didn't, so those weren't necessary. If you will be sharing a bathroom, you're going to need a pair of those, too, unless you want athlete's foot!) That was more than enough.

 

I also culled my sentimental stuff *way* down... pictures, knick-knacks, graduation gifts that were more kitch than useful, etc. It's tempting to take all that stuff with you, especially if you're going a long way from home, but it just gets in the way. As much as possible, everything you pack should have a *use*... preferably more than one use. The only real momento of high school I kept with me was a really nice, solid coffee cup that had all of our signatures on it - nostalgic and useful in one.

 

I got rid of all my framed photos, had copies made, took the original ones back home for safekeeping, and just taped the copies on the inside of my wardrobe - that way I could still look at them without sacrificing space or worrying something would happen to them.

 

A quilt my mother made for me when I was 3 went back home, just because I couldn't stand the idea of anything happening to it.

 

I went from having three or four stuffed animals on my bed (all sentimental ones) to one on my bed and a small Brain (as in Pinky and the, from Animaniacs... dating myself, here) perched on my computer monitor.

 

Books... I brought almost all my books back home, which nearly killed me, but there's very little time for pleasure reading, let alone pleasure re-reading. I think I kept about five paperbacks, just for those nights when there was nothing going on and my brain needed a break.

 

When I was in school, technology was nothing near what it is now (no iPods, portable HDs were outrageously expensive etc) so I had a ton of CDs... I dumped all the cases back home and slid them all into a portable folder. Same for my DVDs. As burning technology improved, I burnt copies for school and sent the originals back home for safekeeping.

 

I'm a board game geek, so I consolidated the pieces from several different games by dumping each game into a plastic bag and stacking them in a tub that slid under my bed (Eurogames are pretty expensive, $50-100 a pop, and they tend to go out of print within a few years, so I didn't want them lying around or big shiny colorful boxes attracting attention).

 

Some of this will depend on how big your room is and how much stuff your roommate brings, but count on having less space than you think you'll have... and above all, try not to bring too many things that qualify as either clutter, or irreplaceable. Don't forget you'll need space for your *new* stuff that you'll acquire as you go.

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 

Super late reply

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noobmachine View Post

I've had the misfortune of getting a graphing calculator (if you know what this is you know these aren't cheap) as well as a pair of earphones (t-jays, long ago) stolen from me, and if I have one piece of advice it would be to never take for granted the security of the place you're in, don't let your guard down if you know that your stuff isn't in a secure location. I keep all my belongings away either in my backpack/locker, or on my person, at the very least out of plain sight. 

 

And another thing about Art school (I have a few friends in a local art school) is that people like to steal nice stationery, so keep away stash your fancy expensive pens/ brushes and whatnot when not in use, and don't leave them out on the open on a desk for extended periods of time. Also label your stuff if possible :) 

 

Hope this helps!

 

Yea when I'm outside I feel like I need to keep an eye on my bag all the time. For my art tools, I decided that it would be safer to not bring them with me at all, since they're a long-term investment. It's actually easier to just buy new and cheaper ones since the profs all want us to get different things

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seanchai View Post

On the other hand, you could say, "I like my personal space; could we make a rule that neither of us parties *in* the room?" or, "I like to go to bed early/study late, so I really need things calm around here after 9pm - is there something I can do for you to even out that kind of compromise?" These are, of course, much more indirect ways of phrasing what you want, but they achieve the same goal (no heavy traffic in the room) and they make it clear that you're sympathetic to the fact that she has her own needs, and that you're willing to give a little to get a little.

 

In the end, I kept about a week's worth of interchangeable "outfits" (jeans, slacks, t-shirts), one set of really nice clothes for any formalish occasions, two pairs of shorts, two sets of sweats, one sweater, one light jacket, one coat, one pair of shoes and one pair of boots (I would've kept one pair of sandals/flip-flops if I shared a bathroom, but I didn't, so those weren't necessary. If you will be sharing a bathroom, you're going to need a pair of those, too, unless you want athlete's foot!) That was more than enough.

 

I also culled my sentimental stuff *way* down... pictures, knick-knacks, graduation gifts that were more kitch than useful, etc. It's tempting to take all that stuff with you, especially if you're going a long way from home, but it just gets in the way. As much as possible, everything you pack should have a *use*... preferably more than one use. The only real momento of high school I kept with me was a really nice, solid coffee cup that had all of our signatures on it - nostalgic and useful in one.

 

To start, I really need to thank you. it was unexpectedly hard to leave most of my sentimental things at home, but I ended up having the least amount of stuff out of all my roommates. Classes haven't even started yet and we have yet to buy art supplies (often very large and difficult to store), and they've already filled up their closets, dressers, and under the bed! I think our room's going to get very crowded in the future, but at least I will have more storage space available. 

post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by flobear View Post

 

 

To start, I really need to thank you. it was unexpectedly hard to leave most of my sentimental things at home, but I ended up having the least amount of stuff out of all my roommates. Classes haven't even started yet and we have yet to buy art supplies (often very large and difficult to store), and they've already filled up their closets, dressers, and under the bed! I think our room's going to get very crowded in the future, but at least I will have more storage space available. 

 

You're welcome, glad to help. It's incredibly hard to leave all that sentimental stuff home, especially in your first year (I was 16 when I went to college, and I cried every night for the first week, feeling really stupid for doing so) but it makes things *so* much easier if you can man up and do it, as you've already discovered.

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