Thursday, May 28, 2020

7 Things To Know For Your First Year at College: What to Do Before You Pack (#1)

This is another attempt at a series on my blog, containing advice from my own time at college. This is a series of blog posts (which will be linked as they are posted) intended to help first-year students and freshmen navigate their new settings. This is all written with the hopeful assumption that it will be safe for students to move back into college soon. Each post is limited to seven items in an attempt to provide manageably-sized bits of advice.

What to Do Before You Pack (#1)

You've finished up your senior year, accepted a college offer, and if all goes according to plan and the pandemic doesn't stop you, you're off to move in some time in August or September. In hopes that it will be safe to move-in, here are seven things you should do before you even start packing.

1. If you haven't been on-campus yet, and it's safe to do so, visit.
If it is safe to do so and tours are still being offered, take one. There will probably be tours in whatever your institution's equivalent of Welcome Week is, but if you haven't visited your campus before accepting I highly recommend you do.

2. Contact your roommate. 
It doesn't really matter if you chose a roommate or went random, it's a good idea to contact them ahead of time. You don't have to be best buds, but it's a good idea to have some semblance of an idea who the person you're moving in with is. The same goes for suitemates, to a lesser degree.

3. Consult your schools lists of to-brings and not-to-brings.
Odds are that your residential institution has a recommended packing list, like this one my undergraduate alma mater has. There may even be two or three lists: what (they think) you should bring, what is okay but not necessary, and what is prohibited.

I recommend taking the "to-bring" list with a grain of salt. If you've never ironed in your life, you probably aren't going to start in college. Be realistic about what you'll use - your dorm room isn't that big. It may be possible to reach out to your R.A., peer mentor, or other upperclassmen during the summer to ask what to pack for your campus in particular.

4. Coordinate with your roommate who will bring what, of that which you won't need more than one of.
I absolutely recommend bringing a mini-fridge and a microwave. I don't recommend having two of each in your dorm. Same goes for the toaster, coffee maker, and vacuum. You don't have to be besties with your roommate, but you can probably stand to share a toaster.

5. Figure out what your mailing address will be at your dorm.
It may be a normal address and it may be a P.O. box. Either way, it may be easier for you to have some stuff shipped there shortly before move-in instead of dragging it from your parents' house in one trip.

6. Get rid of excess stuff. 
This is an excellent time to declutter your possessions. Clothing, shoes, books, makeup. You have to shift through your possessions to decide what to bring, so now is a great time to decide what you no longer need.

7. Figure out your move-in date. 
If you don't know your move-in date, you should figure it out before you start packing. You don't want to be living out of a suitcase after you've packed everything but have a month left before moving in.

Here's to hoping that you'll be able to move in this year safely, and these tips help you!

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