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August 19, 2013

“Dwonna Know What I Think?”

“Dwonna Know What I Think?”

A social/lifestyle advice and commentary column by guest contributor Dr. Dwonna Naomi Goldstone. Dr. Goldstone is a Professor of English and Coordinator of the African American Studies Minor at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee.



Dear Dwonna Know What I Think,

My daughter is leaving later this month to move into Castle Heights dormitory at Austin Peay.  In addition to being sad about her leaving, I’m not sure what she needs to bring.  Please help! 


Nervous Mom


Dear Nervous Mom:

I think that it’s wonderful that your daughter is going to live in Castle Heights, and although it sounds like you will really miss her, please know that living on campus will be good for both of you.  On-campus housing gives your daughter a safe place to make the transition from childhood to adulthood, so you won’t have to worry too much about her.  Moreover, she will be living in a dorm with other like-minded students, and I have found that my traditional-age students who live in one of Austin Peay’s dormitories tend to be more devoted to their classes and find it easier to make friends and participate in different facets of the campus life.  By living in a dorm, your daughter will be “going to college” and not just “going to class,” and she will be well vested in Austin Peay campus life.  Finally, your daughter will also have easier access to the library, to her classes (no parking problems!), to the cafeteria, to the Foy Fitness Center, and to all of the many sporting events on campus.

So, what should your daughter bring with her? I suggest going online to see what items will be in your daughter’s dorm, and it might be a good idea to coordinate with her roommate so that you do not have to buy two of the same things.  In addition to school supplies, a good book bag, and a comfortable pair of walking shoes to get to and from class, your daughter will also need the basics—sheets (for a dorm bed), pillows, a comforter, wash cloths and towels, and a bathroom caddy, and you might also see if she can keep a small refrigerator and microwave in her room so that she will always have healthy snacks on hand.  If you can afford to buy her a laptop with Microsoft Word installed, I suggest buying her one, but if you cannot or just do not wish to purchase such an expensive item, your daughter can use—for free—one of the many computers on Austin Peay’s campus.

Before I left for my dorm on the University of Iowa campus, my parents gave me a set of navy blue American Tourister luggage, and they told me that I could take from my room whatever fit in them.  They also gave me an iron and a small ironing board because they did not want me running around the Iowa City campus in my wrinkled clothes, and they bought me a brand new typewriter from Sears.  I was so glad to leave my parents’ house after I graduated from high school, and I look back with fond memories on my four years at the University of Iowa. Not only did I learn to live on my own, but I also learned how to get along with people who were much different than I was.  I hope your daughter enjoys Austin Peay as much as I enjoyed my undergrad years at Iowa, and I hope she finds a major she loves.  Know, too, that there are many professors on Austin Peay’s campus who want your daughter to have a wonderful experience, too, and encourage her to seek us out.  Let’s go Peay!


Dr. Dwonna Goldstone was born in Moline, Illinois, home of the John Deere Tractor.  She graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in American Studies and a minor in African American Studies and from Brown University with an M.A.T. in secondary English education. Dr. Goldstone is the author of Integrating the Forty Acres: The Fifty-Year Struggle for Racial Equality at the University of Texas (University of Georgia Press 2006), which won the Coral H. Tulis Memorial Prize for the best book on Texas history.  She has also published several articles, including “An African American Woman Reflects on What 9/11 Meant for African Americans, and Herself,” “Black Women in the Civil Rights Movement in North Carolina” and “Stirring Up Trouble: Teaching Race at a Southern Liberal Arts University.”

Dr. Goldstone lives in Nashville with her four unruly dogs—Satchel Paige, Butterfly McQueen, Charlie Parker, and Lena Horne. She can be reached at



About the Author

Dwonna Goldstone



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