Fish are wonderful creatures. They're stupid as the day is long, but entertaining nonetheless. Most colleges do not allow pets, with the exception of fish, presumably because they cannot escape and run amok... unless the dorms are flooded, in which case fish running amok is the least of the college's problems.
Goldfish are particularly wonderful creatures. They are bright; cheerful (if the tank is kept clean); and, if you get a pond-type goldfish, hardy... as well as being affordable.
Fish and Students
Hardy and affordable are important considerations when choosing fish, due to the average condition of the pocketbooks and attention spans of most college students. Although it is not recommended that you neglect your goldfish, they can endure a little neglect - though not much.
Before you go out and buy a goldfish, make sure your roommate, if you have one, agrees. If you are planning on sharing the fish, make sure to agree on a feeding and tank cleaning schedule. Also, a schedule of who will care for it over holidays is equally important.
To acquire a goldfish, a trip to a pet store is necessary. Talk to the pet store employees about what equipment you should get. A bubbler, some gravel, fishfood, and a glass bowl are the absolute minimum. Make sure to get a fishbowl that is the proper size: not too large and not too small. You must also get de-chlorinator for the water, because chlorine is poisonous to fish. A plastic or ceramic castle adds a nice touch, though it is not required. If you do get a castle, make sure the fish has enough free room to swim around it.
Feed your goldfish at least once a day. He will love you for it... or maybe he won't; he probably won't realise you exist, for the most part. This is normal as they don't have very big brains.
Clean the fish bowl at least once a week. If you notice the water level dropping and the fish getting claustrophobic, or the water taking on a yellow tinge, clean the fishbowl. It only takes a few minutes, and requires no heavy lifting or mental strain.