Sunday, August 4, 2013

Packing for Culinary School

By Student Blogger Morgan

Congratulations! You've been accepted to the world's premiere culinary school and finally made it passed the hurdles of financing, loans and scholarships with our wonderful financial aid team. Hopefully you've passed a physical,  stalked the school's website to look up your future class schedule, and weighed your options for living on campus and off. It was a tough decision for me, but I decided to go with the dorms and haven't regretted it one bit.

Once you've decided where you'll be living while you're a student at the CIA, it's time to start packing. And whether you'll be living in the dorms or not there are a few things you should know to bring. To get you started, here is the suggested packing list from the school's website and what not to bring if you're in the dorms. I have a few things to add...

Dorm living
This is what you get: a bed (twin XL for sheet purposes), a dresser with four or five drawers, a desk with a shelf on it and a desk chair. There is a surprising amount of room for creature comforts if that is what you need to create your happy space, but do leave extra furniture at home (there's not thaaat much space). The floor is tile, so if you'd like a rug bring that too. Here's an idea of what to expect for a double room in Angel, Pick/Herndon or Rosenthal:



What I didn't know that I wish I had before arriving: you are responsible for all cleaning of the dorms and your bathroom. The RA office supplies you with any necessary supplies you may need, but if you're particular about cleanliness, you may want to stock up on a few things: 
  • toilet paper (you don't want to run out at a time when the RA office is closed and your RA is in class...) 
  • paper towels those nifty Clorox wipes for easy clean ups
  • a swiffer + wet and dry attachments (the RA's have mops and brooms but swiffers are way more convenient) 
  • some type of air freshener
  • a bath mat 
Now let's talk dorm kitchen supplies. We're food people, right? Whether you're culinary or pastry you probably like to cook for yourself and/or bake and experiment at home. The dorms are all equipped with a kitchen that has a stove, oven and sink. In my six months here so far, I have used it twice. When I'm not at school, I cook and bake constantly so I really thought I might use it. But once I got here, I became too busy balancing class, clubs, work and studying to make extra time to cook. The meals you eat on campus are large, plus baking and pastry students get to take a lot of treats home with them during the first semester. After a while you start to forget what hungry feels like. So my advice is bring some basic cooking supplies like a frying pan and a small pot to satisfy your urge for dorm cooking, should it arise. Leave your immersion blender at home. 

School supplies:
The CIA is not your traditional college, so you'll need a lot of nontraditional school supplies. A few of the regulars do apply like notebooks, pens, pencils (most tests in your academic classes are scantron), a calculator and a TON of flashcards. I thought I came pretty prepared but ended up making at least two trips to target my first week in search of these things:
  • A notebook that will fit in your chef's coat pocket for easy access
  • Sharpies, sharpies, and more sharpies
  • Solid black or white socks
  • A gagillion plain white t's to wear under your whites (no...seriously)
  • Duct or packing tape to mark your knives and tools
  • Solid black or white headbands 
  • Hairnets (for any hair longer than your ears)
  • Oxy clean, bleach, a bleach pen or all 3
Your first week at the CIA is like Christmas. Everywhere you go you get stuff; books, uniforms, tool kits, the works. Although you paid dearly for everything, the excitement is definitely still there. For the most part I love the tool kit for baking and pastry (except for how heavy it is) but it does have a few short comings. You can find the official list for the baking and pastry tool kit and the culinary tool kit by clicking on these links. Here's an idea of what to expect:

Baking and Pastry tool kit



What doesn't come in your kit (not-required) but is useful to have for baking: 3-ring sheet protectors (to keep your recipes from getting flour-y) a microplane or zester, an infrared thermometer, a cheap pastry brush (like from the hardware store, the bristles on the one in our kit fall out) a medium offset spatula for frosting cakes, a bowl scraper or bench knife with a very squared off edge (also for frosting cakes- the ones they give us are slightly rounded and the handle goes passed the knife which means you can't hold it level on a turntable), and a small wooden spoon or dowel with the end sharpened (to poke holes in eclairs, I have yet to sharpen mine). If you have a small turntable that you use at home you may want to bring that too so you can practice cutting cake layers in your room!

Culinary Tool Kit
This one covers most of your bases as well, but a few extra things that culinary students usually supplement their kit with are a slotted fish spatula, needle nose tweezers (for removing small bones in fish) a mini sifter, a bench scraper (to quickly clean your station or to scoop cut veggies and other ingredients off a board), a tourné knife (to make your life waaaay easier) and a squirt bottle for plating sauces. 

That pretty much sums it up and will definitely get your through your first semester here at the CIA. If you have any specific questions on what you should bring, please comment down below and one of us here will find your answer for you! Happy packing. 




78 comments:

  1. Buy a new peeler ( the cheap swiss peelers work best) as soon as possible. The one you get weighs .6 pounds.

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    1. And does NOT work! Give it to your mom she has better use for it in her home kitchen...

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  2. So where can you buy some of the extra baking equipment that you suggested? Like can we buy it at the school bookstore?

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    1. Hi Alex! Any kitchen or homegoods store that Cody mentioned below will do for most of the stuff, but also be sure to check out hardware stores like Home Depot. Especially for pastry, hardware stores are loaded with cheap, durable tools that are perfect for working with chocolate and sugar like brushes, molds, combs (grouting tools!) and spray guns....I also got my zester at the dollar store and so far I LOVE it. Sometimes with kitchen tools, more expensive is not always better.

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  3. jbprince.com, cheftools.com, amazon.com, warrens about 25 minutes north of the school. Most will be cheaper then what the school sells it for.

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  4. Can you raise the beds in any of the residence halls?

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    1. For my type of bed you would need bed raisers (they sell them at target, wal-mart etc. and they're neat little blocks that the legs of the bed fit into) to adjust the height but the furniture does vary across campus. I have seen rooms with beds that have notches in the legs and you can choose what height you want. I'd suggest wait until move in day to see what you get, and then buy bed raisers if it's still something you want. If you mean can you loft your bed with your roommate's and make them bunk beds, I believe that is also possible although I've never met anyone who has it that way.

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  5. hi
    i'm 30 year old, can i study culinary courses?

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    1. Hi Sanjar,
      Absolutely! The CIA accepts all ages and walks of life into their degree programs that you can find out more about here: http://ciachef.edu/degree-and-certificate-programs/
      Or if you're looking to continue your education without the commitment of two years, they also offer a lot of weekend classes, two week long boot camps and professional development programs that you can find out more about here:
      http://www.ciaprochef.com/programs/

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  6. Hi, my name's Victoria, I was wondering when you should start applying? As off right now I'm a junior in high school. If you could get back to me soon with some sort of answer and maybe ideas for scholarships that would be great thanks!

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    1. Hi Victoria,
      The CIA has a rolling admissions process that is even more liberal than most colleges. This means that every three weeks we have a new entering class, a new class returning from externship, a class leaving for externship and a class graduating...whew! You apply for a season of entry and then they will divide you into a start date depending on demand. If you are a junior in highschool now, you have some time. Check out this schedule for an idea of the deadlines, and you can use it to plan on when you'd like to start school here: http://www.ciachef.edu/enrollment-schedule-ny-baking-and-pastry/

      Sometimes there are even special grants for specific start dates (typically winter). Look here for information about them and other scholarships: http://ciachef.edu/new-york-campus-scholarships/

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  7. Does the residence hall cable TV carry HD channels or is it only worth bringing an old standard def TV?

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    1. Hi John,
      I'm not the authority on HD or TV's in general for that matter, so take my answer with a grain of salt! We have a great connection in the dorms and get almost every channel I would ever want to watch. I don't know anyone personally who has an HD TV, so I would lean towards it's not worth it to buy one just for school. You'll spend most of your time in class or studying anyways!

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  8. Hi Morgan, am I able to take my generals at CIA or do I have to go somewhere else first to do them?
    Thanks.

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    1. Hi Savannah,
      I'm not exactly sure what you mean by 'generals' but if you mean your general education requirements or the academic classes then yes, you have to take them at the CIA. Our academic classes for your first year are culinary math, college writing, nutrition, food safety, gastronomy and intro to business management. It is possibly to transfer credit if you have previously taken a college level class in any of these areas elsewhere. You can read more about that here!: http://ciastudentsdish.blogspot.com/2013/09/year-1-pastry-school.html

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  9. is there a mirror in the dorms already?

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    1. Hi Kelsey,

      My room in Pick/Herndon hall had a full length mirror already on the back of the door, but my friend's room in the same dorm did not. Regardless, you'll have a mirror in your bathroom but my advice is to wait and see! If you decide that it's something you need then target is only a short drive away :-)

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  10. So you don't have to bring you're own knives at all? (culinary student)

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    1. Hi Eric,

      You're provided with all of the tools that you'll need to complete the program in the tool kit the school provides. Some students prefer to bring their own knives and tools (although depending on your chef's discretion, you may or may not be allowed to use them) or supplement their kit with other useful things. It's up to you!

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    2. What about knife bags? I have an orange Ultimate Edge Deluxe knife bag that I used in community college culinary classes with knives of course-can i use that?

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    3. Hi Andy. Most likely, yes, but it is ultimately at the discretion of whatever chef you're currently in class with. He/She may prefer you to use particular knives/tools.

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  11. Hello I'm from Puerto Rico I graduate from school in May of 2014 and am interested in qualifying for this university and I want to know what are the requirements for the degree course grab baking and pastry so I want to have a general orientation but is more explicit.

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    1. Hi Cristal,
      Your first step is applying! Here's a link to our website that will give you step by step instructions on how and when to fill out an application, and what the specific requirements for acceptance are: http://ciachef.edu/applynow/

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  12. Would it be a good idea to bring a car first semester or would we be able to use it so seldom that we might as well use a cab?

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    1. Cullin, the CIA recommends that first semester students don't bring a car. The college has a weekend shuttle and sponsors various trips. Plus there are two Hertz-on-Demand cars available for short-term rental.

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  13. Do we have our own personal bathroom or is it a common bathroom between a few dorms ?

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    1. Hi Kira! The answer depends on which hall you're assigned. Most of the rooms in Hudson Hall share communal bathrooms, which Rosenthal, Pick-Herndon & Angell have private baths in each of the rooms.

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  14. Does CIA offer transportation to the Poughkeepsie train station, and how do most students get to the closest Target? Lastly, if students aren't 21 or older, can they take wine classes?

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    1. Hi Eric! There is a shuttle on the weekend that can help you get to the mall (which includes a Target). The Poughkeepsie Train Station is only a few miles from campus, so a cab is also an option if the shuttle isn't available when you need it. Yes, students under 21 take our wines class. When sampling wines, spitting is required.

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  15. can i bring my own mattress to any of the residence halls?

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  16. Tiffany, students cannot bring their own mattresses. If you have a medical reason for the request, you should discuss the issue with disability support services and they'll work with you on the issue.

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  17. Could I bring a mattress cover? Also where do you purchase the chef jackets and where do most people recommend getting good non slip shoes? Finally what do you carry all your stuff in?

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    1. Hi Dylan! Yes, you can bring a mattress cover. Make sure to get an XL twin. The CIA will provide you with your uniform. We'll ask you to complete an online form before you start classes and you'll have a chance to make sure you're getting the right size during orientation.

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  18. Also if I did bring a car where would I park it?

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    1. Dylan, student parking is mainly in the northeast area of our campus. Check out this campus map, you'll see an "R" in the upper-right area indicated resident student parking: http://www.ciachef.edu/new-york-campus-map/

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  19. I will be attending the CIA in the fall. I'm going to be flying to NY from TX by myself and i will not be able to bring a microwave, refrigerator, tv, and other stuff i want to have in my dorm. Is there a Walmart or target close to campus where i can purchase this items? and is public transportation available?

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    1. There is a Target located about 10 miles from campus. It's part of a mall and is on the CIA's weekend shuttle route. However, be sure to talk to your roommate in advance -- he/she may have these items.

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  20. hi my name is Aaliyah Im going to be attending this college in december moving from north carolina to new york, and was just wondering does it cost anything for student parking? and would it be better for me to bring my car?

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    1. Hi Aaliyah! Student parking is free of charge, but the CIA does encourage new students to leave their cars at home. New students often find that they're so busy on campus (with classes, clubs, and other events) that they don't make much use of their cars. Plus, the CIA offers shuttles to the mall/movie theater, trips, bike rental program, and has a Hertz-on-Demand rental car program so students can rent a car for a few hours or a day.

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  21. I read that the meal plan doesn't include breakfast & I normally make myself a protein shake/smoothie every morning to start my day. Can I bring my own blender to make them or are they NOT allowed?

    Also, I can tell from the photo's posted that the desk's provided are for normal height people & my legs won't fit under a desk that size. Can I bring my own desk or do I need to go through disability services to get that approved?

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    1. Hi Michelle! Students are allowed to have blenders in their rooms. We do want to clarify that our meal plan does not specify certain meals. The standard plan allows for two swipes per instructional day. You can use these whenever you'd like. And there are a variety of a la carte items (cereal, fruit, bagels, etc) available to students in the AM that do not require a swipe.

      You will need to contact disability services regarding any furniture changes.

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    2. Thank you for your prompt reply!!

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  22. Hi. My name is Aditi and I am from India. I will be attending the spring session 2014. My question is regarding the electronic appliances that I can bring to the campus. I usually have a smoothie for breakfast. Can I buy a blender in the US and bring it with me to the campus or will it be considered a violation of the items permissible? Also does the communal kitchen have a fridge, blender and a microwave? Do you advice me to buy all these items or use the ones available in the communal kitchen?

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    1. Hi Aditi! Yes, you can have a blender, but we ask that you take it to the residence hall kitchen when you want to use it. The communal kitchen has a refrigerator and microwave, but no blender. You can store items in the fridge as long as they are clearly labeled and dated. Most students choose to have a small fridge in their rooms.

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  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  24. Do you need to wear white t-shirts under your chef jackets or can they be black? The reason I ask is because I know white t-shirts can start to discolor and become dingy looking rather quickly. Also can you buy additional chef jackets and if so, how much does an additional jacket usually cost? I know the tuition cost includes one jacket, but it doesn't hurt to have a spare in the event it gets misplaced or something happens to it.

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    1. Hi Tony! Only white shirts are allowed under your chef jackets. New students are issues 5 chef jackets and chef pants. When they return from extern, they're issued 5 more sets. If they choose, additional jackets can be purchased through the vendor who supplies our uniforms.

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  25. For the Baking and Pastry kit, does the school supply you with any of these items?

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    1. Yes, incoming students are provided with the complete culinary or baking tool kit. You can view everything that comes in the baking kit here: https://secure.ciachef.edu/purl/bakingpastrytoolkit.html

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  26. Do plastic storage drawers count as "outside furniture"?

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    1. Hi Kylia! No, they do not. Feel free to bring them! You may also want to check out this post from our Director of Residence Life about suggested items to bring: http://cookingatthecia.blogspot.com/2014/05/cia-residence-halls-what-to-bring.html

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    2. Great! Thank you for the link!

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  27. Is there a local market near the campus that sells fresh fruit?

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    1. Hi Robert! There is a nearby supermarket, but there isn't a local farmstand in the town of Hyde Park. However, many local communities (including Hyde Park) hold farmers' markets on various weekends & weeknights throughout the spring/summer seasons.

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    2. The BEST farmers market is in Rhinebeck! I graduated in 2012 and am currently doing my bachelors at UNLV. I loved my time at the CIA. Rhinebeck is a total little foodie paradise. Go to Warrens which is a totally awesome kitchen store. You will love it. Check out the farmers market especially the lady if she is still there that sells falafels! SO delish! Its a beautiful drive. Also there is a really amazing farmers market in NYC in Union Square that I used to go to. So fun!:) Good luck future culinarians!

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  28. Hai how to be able to be a student CIA? Give me your information or procedure and how about the price hehe

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    1. Hi! You can learn more about our college and programs, check tuition costs, and apply for admission at www.ciachef.edu

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  29. hi i saw you said to bring solid black or white headbands, would a bandana work? i have some red and white striped bandanas would i be able to get away with that? like do people use bandanas instead of headbands?

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    1. Hi Damian! They should be solid white or black.

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  30. I will be starting the CIA in January and on the calendar it says that the start date is the 6th. Will we be allowed to move into the dorm rooms prior to the start date and if so how soon could we start moving in. Thanks and I am so looking forward to getting started!!

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    1. You move in the day before your start date. In your case, you would move in on January 5th. I start August 19th this year and I move in on August 18th.

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    2. Ginger is absolutely correct! Thanks!!

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  31. The student handbook says "plain white undergarments are required". Does this mean we need white underwear and undershirts, or just the latter?

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    1. Hi Ethan! The concern is that since your chef coat is white, dark colored undergarments would show through. So the rule generally applies to what you wear under your coat, not your checked pants.

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  32. hi i want to know whether the communal washrooms are any good i mean are they close to the rooms in the dorm and are they nice or should i request for a personal bath in my room????

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    1. Hi Akshay! Communal bathrooms are present only in Hudson Hall. There is one restroom per floor, per gender and they are cleaned by professional staff. The CIA's Residence Hall staff will assign you to a dorm based on many factors.

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  33. can we ware jean and a tee shirt when were not in class and can we have a small three self bookself.

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    1. Hi Brian! You must be in dress code whenever attending class or in any academic building. This means you can wear jeans and a t-shirt when in the Student Rec Center, but never when entering Roth Hall (even if you're not heading to class).

      You can bring small storage items for your room.

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  34. Can you bring your own printer on campus to use in your dorm? Also how long does it take to find out what dorm building you're in and who your roommate is?

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    1. Hi Anthony! Yes, you can bring your own printer to campus. The Residence Life Office will notify you at least three weeks before your entry date about your hall/roommate assignment.

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  35. When will I know which hall I have been assigned to? How can I know and contact my future roommate? Also does it make sense to travel around the campus using a bicycle?

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    1. Hi Shahaan! The Residence Life Office will notify you at least three weeks before your entry date about your hall/roommate assignment. Students don't generally use a bicycle to move about campus, but it can be useful in getting from campus to a few local areas. The Student Activities Office does offer a free bike borrow program for students.

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  36. can i bring a pet...like a small lizard in my dorm and if i were to bring my tv how big or small would you suggest

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    1. Sorry, Josh, no lizards allowed!

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    2. alright also if i were to bring a tv how big/small would be suggested?

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    3. Josh, it really depends on your preference. There is no size limitation.

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  37. Is their any other school supplies to bring?

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    1. Hi Brianna! This list covers the essentials. If you'd like, you can talk to current student about any items you were thinking of bringing. Reach our student telecounselors at telecounseling@culinary.edu or 1-800-CULINARY (285-4627), ext. 1515, Monday through Thursday, 5:30–9 p.m. ET.

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