Column: The essentials of Life

A student is seen swiping into Buckley Residence Hall with her UConn One card. (Jason Jiang/The Daily Campus)

Oxygen, water, food (at least most of the time), exercise (for those of us who struggle to remain still for more than 10 minutes) and sleep (except during exam time when caffeine takes its place) are generally considered the essentials of life. As long as you can breathe, stay hydrated, keep your blood glucose levels steady and shut your eyes for at least a few hours a day you generally do alright.

In college, however, there is one life essential that supersedes all of these.

It’s made of light blue and white plastic, about two by three inches big and has a tiny, really, really awkward picture of my 18-year old self at the end of a very hot, rainy day.

What is this most crucial college item? It goes by just two-letters. I.D.

When I lose it – which happens a little more often than I would like to admit – all of the other life essentials become impossible to grasp.

It starts when you wake up and can’t remember if you left it in your coat pocket the night before.

After shoving your hand into each pocket of all three coats, and a few sweatshirts you definitely didn’t wear just for good measure, and coming up with nothing but slightly melted cough drops, gum wrappers and that business card of a possible employer you haven’t been able to find in weeks, you begin frantically rifling through the stack of papers on your desk, tossing notebooks on the floor and then back onto the desk as you consider the possibility that it ended up on the floor with your jeans from the day before. With all the pockets hanging out of those once-worn pants, the hyperventilating begins and the first vital element of life begins to slip away.

Without air things become slightly more difficult – logical thinking being one of them.

In college, no I.D. not only takes your breath away, but your access to food.

That over $3,000 meal plan – worthless without your two by three piece of blue plastic. No breakfast, no mid-morning tea from the chem café, no lunch and by this point you are not only oxygen and glucose deficient, but caffeine deficient – and that is the worst punishment of all.

Without caffeine, my go-to for staying awake is a quick trip to the gym. A 30 minute bike ride or a few laps in the pool can normally do the trick if tea is off the table. But wait – that’s not possible without your I.D. either.

So instead of a rec center trip, you rush back to your dorm – losing your breath once again.

No air, no food, no caffeine, no exercise...suddenly an image of your I.D. perched on top of the fan next to your bed pops into your head.

“Ah! That’s where it is!”

Elated at the thought of being able to breath, eat, etc. you grab the handle of your dorm building only to realize that you are shut out. Your I.D. is required for entering your dorm building too. 


Julia Werth is the news editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at julia.werth@uconn.edu.