Introverts: Meeting People in College

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It’s easy for people who are very outgoing and talkative to meet new people. But people often think introverts like us are shy, standoffish, or unapproachable. But the truth is, we’re like everyone else: we want to make friends, have fun, and get out there. We get you. That’s why we’ve put this guide together: to help introverts get out there without setting off anxieties or fears.

 

Understand Your Kind of Introversion

The first thing to recognize know about introverts is that we’re not all alike. There are actually four commonly recognized types of introverts: Social, Thinking, Anxious, and Restrained. Understanding which category you fall in can help you realize and act on your strengths and weaknesses.

First, there are two groups who actually do occasionally like being around people. Social introverts are those who would rather hang out in small groups or for more limited amounts of time. Thinking introverts are creative, imaginative, dreaming types who sometimes may seem to space out or be lost in deep thought, especially around bigger groups of people. Both these types need plenty of alone time to recharge, but they enjoy being around people, especially those with whom they’re more familiar.

On the other end of the spectrum are the highly introverted introverts. The most common of these are anxious introverts, who are what we commonly think of when we use the term ‘introvert’: shy, awkward, resistant to new groups, and unlikely to actively seek out new friends. Finally, restrained introverts are those who need time to get to know new friends to build trust because they take their social circles very, very seriously.

 

Go Where You’re Comfortable

With all of those four types of introversion, the key is to go to a place that is comfortable to meet new friends. Social and anxious introverts would love smaller clubs or group outings while restrained prefers one-on-one. Thinkers will need to be in their element, like at a library or an art show.

Now that you’re getting used to your school, think about where you feel the most “you” and look for opportunities there that will allow you to meet someone. It may be in your favorite writing class where you can offer to do group work. Or if you love your theater, try going to a show or volunteering to work as an usher.

 

Take It Online

I don’t know about you, but as an introvert, I really rock an online convo on Messenger or Snapchat. That’s why I am super excited when I find online meeting groups where I can introduce myself first without the pressure of small talk.

Once you’re comfortable and you’ve established yourself, take your new relationship or clubs offline. Invite a face you interact with the most out for a coffee or cheer them on at their soccer game. It’s a great way to build close friendships without the awkward first meetings.

 

Link Up

How I made my best friend was through my roommate! She was much more extroverted than me and would often throw parties (against my wishes). But once I told her about how shy I felt, she calmed down and had fewer people stop over. One of those regulars became my friend and eventually best friend once we hung out without the “link” between us.

With mutual connections, you always have something in common, and there is no pressure to be best friends if you decide they are not the right fit. By having one person to hold on to, you can open your circle up for more friendship opportunities.

 

Go Where the People Are

I know it’s tough, but devote yourself to leaving your dorm room at least once a day for a certain amount of time. And don’t spend it with your headphones in your ears. Be present and open! But most importantly — go where others are!

This may mean sitting alone at lunch or snagging a seat near the main tables at the coffee shop with a smile on your face. Bring something like a book, a musical instrument, a favorite purse, etc. as a talking point. It’s awful at first, I will admit, but it works, and it will change your introvert outlook.

Everything You Need to Know to Conquer Freshman Orientation

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It can be tempting to blow off your college’s freshman orientation. After all, this is college, right?

But skipping out (or just not paying attention) could end up costing you time and peace of mind in the end. That’s why you should go into your orientation ready to learn and observe — because you’ll need the info presented and the extra time on campus to get ahead of the game.

Here’s how you can conquer freshman orientation and be prepared for your first semester.

 

Making Friends

Freshman orientation provides many opportunities to meet new friends, especially those who share your major or who will live in your residence hall. That’s why it’s important to stay true to yourself. While you should try to go to all the mixers and social events offered, if you’re not into country music, don’t go to the country music concert. Find events that interest you, and if you’re not interested, check out the dorm floor to see who stayed behind.

If you’re working on making friends with your new roommate(s), the best ice breaker is to talk about how you want your dorm room to look. Discuss themes, colors, and shared items. While you may disagree on fashion or style, you can have fun shopping online for wall or floor decor that works for both of you.

 

Selecting Classes

One of the most important parts of orientation is getting your first class schedule. You’ll want to get the best classes before they fill up, so do your homework before you start picking out what you’re going to take.

There are a ton of different resources you can use for this. Read up on professors and their class reviews online. Check out your major requirements and make a checklist of classes you know you’ll need to take. If you’re able to talk to upperclassmen from your college in advance, ask them to help you make your schedule out; they’ll give you a better inside scoop than your advisor.

exploring-campus-orientation

Getting to Know the Campus

With your schedule in hand, use your time on campus to map out your walk from one building to the next. Scout out your new favorite bakery or check out the hours of the Starbucks closest to you. These are all essential things you’ll need to know the first day of class.

Of course, you’ll also want to check out where the tailgaters go for football games. Having some fan gear ready to go for this trip will help you get in the spirit.

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Plan Out Your Dorm

There’s no rule that says you have to come into orientation week or freshman orientation events knowing what you want for your dorm. If possible (if you’re not staying in there already), get a tour of the dorm rooms so you can refresh your memory on the size, wall type, placement of beds and furniture, closet size, etc. This will help you make decisions on what bedding will look best with the wall color, what storage you’ll need to store away your winter clothes, and how big of a shoe hanger you’ll want to grab.

Starting College Late After Gap Year

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Gap years, a period off between high school and freshman year of college, are becoming more popular in the United States. Even the former President’s daughter, Malia Obama, is currently taking one before starting Harvard next year! This gap can be used to relax and recharge, travel, save up money for tuition, etc. But what happens when your gap year is up and you’re ready to re-start at your college of choice? This advice on how to start college late after gap year will help you feel like you haven’t missed a beat.

 

Ease Into College

It can be tempting for gap year students to try to jump right into college at full-force. Some make the mistake of taking on too much because they feel they need to play “catch-up” with the rest of their age group.

Don’t buy into this! Stop comparing yourself to those who took the normal track. Instead, remember that you’re a freshman too, and no one would advise a freshman to take more credit hours that they need or to enroll in the most advanced class possible. Ease into college with a schedule that matches your academic needs at the time — not what your friends who didn’t take a gap year may be doing.

 

Go to Orientation and Freshman Events

Being a year or two behind may make you the oldest in the class, but there’s nothing wrong with that. Your first-year experience is important, and so is going to all those fun orientation events your college has set up for you. They are valuable for many reasons, but, first and foremost, they are an opportunity to make some friends with peers that will be in the same level classes with you.

Orientation is also great at helping you get around. You’ll learn where the restaurants are, who your academic advisor is, where the best shops are off-campus, etc. Never underestimate the value of orientation, even if it all seems a bit cheesy to you. Attend and learn!

 

Use Your Gap Year to Your Advantage

All colleges and universities are different in how you must declare your major. Many have no problem with you going in as “undecided” for a year or two. Others will need you to declare right away. If that’s the case, then your gap year can help you decide at least where you may want to head.

Think of your break in the real world. Did you really enjoy working in the restaurant business while you saved up tuition? Were there activities that you enjoyed doing every week (or the complete opposite)? Did you pick up any new languages while you traveled or networked with some interesting people during your post-high school internship? Sit down and spend a couple hours (or several days) going through what you loved and didn’t love about your year off. It can really make the difference in showing you where your heart is.

 

Get Support Early On

A year off is unlikely to ruin you academically. If you were a good student before your gap year, you’ll probably remain so when start up school again. You may be rusty on those studying or test taking skills, but a few weeks into classes and you’ll be back to your old self.

However, if you took off time to recharge after a difficult senior year, then it’s important you set up support systems early. Check out your college’s tutoring center. Often, these are free services that help provide you with professional, experienced math teachers, writing experts, and student aids. Teaching Assistants (TA’s) can also be valuable for classes you feel you may struggle in. The important thing is to ask!

Getting the right support, setting yourself up for success, and easing back into college life after gap year can make all the difference!

How to Make Dorm Room Shopping a Breeze

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It’s official: you’ll be spending next year living in the dorms! Whether this will be your first year in a residence hall or your fourth, you’re probably dreading the whole dorm room shopping ordeal. But you can make shopping a breeze by following these simple tips.

 

Examine the List

The good news is that most colleges will provide you with a dorm shopping list. In addition, you’ll most likely get rules and restrictions (like the size of the refrigerator allowed). Keep these lists close because they will become your best friend. Read through it carefully. Then, do research on your own for college checklists and advice. And add to it as you think about what’s important to you. For example, your bare bones list may only say “bedding,” but if you want something more comfortable, add a line for a deluxe mattress pad.

 

Set a Budget

Shopping for an entirely new bedroom can really add up in costs! If you’re doing it on your own or have a small amount to spend, it’s important to research online and in stores to see what you’ll, realistically, need to spend. Once you’ve got estimates, set a budget and start saving up now. It’s never too early to put a few bucks in a savings account for your dorm room decor.               

 

Shop Early

Shopping early is another way to save a ton. If you put off to July or August, you will run into skyrocketing prices. Buy now when dorm specific bedding and furniture are on super sales and clearances. After May, new dorm styles will go on the shelves and prices will increase. Plus, shopping early means you’ll get your hands on the latest trends before anyone else (like our favorite dorm bedding for 2017/2018: The Mosaic.

 

Recycle What You Have

Who said everything has to be new and unused? If you love what your bedroom looks now, there is nothing wrong with recreating the look and feel in your dorm room. Items like lamps, rugs, chairs, and storage units can be easily moved to your dorm. Really, only linens are essential to purchase before your move.

 

Buy Packages Instead of Single Items

The easiest way to go through your shopping list quickly is to buy your dorm room in a package. There are some huge benefits of value paks like having everything you need come to your door without having to step foot in a store. In addition, everything is coordinated to match so you don’t have to play a guessing game on what will look good with what. And then, there’s the price. Buying in bulk means saving on individual items!

 

Accessorize Around a Theme

Once you’ve got your value pak (or at least a color scheme in mind), you can start picking up the smaller decor items to complete the look. Take the popular Kaleidoscope White. This pattern will go great with a boho theme where you can add feather art, a turquoise desk lamp, or an off-white shag rug.

 

Shop With Online Tools

Finally, don’t forget to use online shopping tools like email alerts, sales notifications, and saving apps. Ebates, Ibotta, and similar apps are awesome to have when looking for dorm room deals online and at your local stores.

 

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Rhapsody Dusty Purple Bedding from OCM

 

With these top tips, you should be all set for move in day!

8 Things that Definitely Surprised You About Freshman Year

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This can’t be real. We’re almost done with our freshman year of college! After dreaming of this year for what seems like forever, it’s over with. Now that we’re hitting finals week, it’s time to reflect and look back on what things we have loved and hated about our freshman year of college.

 

  1. The (Lack of) Fashion

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I guess we always imagined that college was like the movies with well-dressed, preppy girls wearing the latest styles and guys in leather jackets and designer jeans. In reality, it’s pretty much pajama pants, leggings, sweatpants, and old cardigan sweaters every single day.

 

  1. How Terrible the Food Is

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We were warned. We even had a small taste of it during our tour, but we really didn’t expect… this. Sure, there’s some items on the menus we get excited about (hello Taco Tuesday!), but for the most part, we’re planning on spending sophomore year learning the art of dorm cooking.

 

  1. Homesickness

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Surviving summer camp was supposed to prepare us for long stretches away from home. And we’ve been aching for freedom since freshman year in high school. But when the moment came to say goodbye to our parents, we felt that sting of homesickness.

 

  1. Our New Friends

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Making friends as adults is tough. It’s not like you’re forced to finger paint with someone. However, we found that making new friends wasn’t as bad as we had thought once we opened ourselves up. Joining a sorority/fraternity, signing up for clubs, group projects, trips off campus, etc. gave us plenty of ways to make a new, college BFF.

 

  1. Your Major Isn’t a Big Deal

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All of our adult friends are constantly asking us what our major is. But when you’re a freshman, no one but them seem to really care. And it turns out that being undeclared is totally cool. It gives you freedom to find what you like and are passionate about, and there are countless numbers of freshmen and sophomores who are just as clueless as your are.

  1. The Stress Factor

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I think we all feel stress differently. Some of us breeze through college without missing their necessary eight hours or more of sleep. The rest of us basically ping-pong back and forth between relaxed and about to explode from the pressure. If you’re heading to college next year, just be warned you may be on either spectrum.

 

  1. The Freshman 15 Exists

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We already talked about food. But we can’t forget about how easy it is to not move around. With tiny dorm rooms and lack of time to hit the gym, getting a good sweat can be difficult. What’s easy is packing on the pounds. Our biggest piece of advice to incoming freshman: schedule your workouts or bring along some hand weights.

 

  1. How Much We Love It

This list could really go on and on. College is like a complete shock to our systems… and we love (almost) every second of it. We wouldn’t trade the meals in the cafeteria with our new friends, the times we were overwhelmed with projects for classes we actually enjoy, and the highs and lows of living away from home for anything in this world.

College Guide: Second Semester Vibes

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College Guide- Second Semester Vibes

WELCOME BACK FRESHMAN!!– What does second semester look like for you? 8 AM’s every day or 9 PM classes? Making new friends or maybe even joining a sorority/fraternity? Say goodbye to sleeping in every day in your nice comfy, big bed at home and say hello to eating pizza for breakfast and cereal for dinner. You’ll get back into the swing of things…soon…hopefully…I promise.

1. First Day of Classes-Don’t be that kid who shows up five minutes late the first day of classes. Not a good first impression

2. Remember what your teachers taught you from your first semester- Whether it was remembering the proper grammar to use in a sentence or becoming organized.

3. Caf food for any time, any day- Pancakes for dinner, pizza for breakfast… who cares. Your parents aren’t there to stop you.

4. Budget yourself- You now know how much money you spent last semester. Know your limits. Spend wisely this semester on EVERYTHING. 

5. Mental Breakdown- What would college be like without pulling your hair, wearing different socks… or shoes to class and crying to your mom how hard college is? Don’t worry. We will all get through it.

6. Sleep, sleep counting sheep- Don’t forget… sleep is also important too.

7. Weekend treat- After a long week of hard work, you get a nice reward by treating yourself to a nice weekend of a fun time with friends at home or an out and about, night.

8.WORKOUT- No excuses this semester. Summer is around the corner… Get that beach body for summer 2017 on!

9. Stay up to date on what is going on- Even though Netflix is nice, you’re in college. Be aware of what is happening around the world.

10. Do not second guess yourself- Be confident. New Semester. New Teachers.

Hope everyone has a great start to a second semester!!!!

xoxo ariel

10 Lessons You’ll Learn in Your First Semester at School

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With fall semester winding down, I think we can all agree that this semester has been… well, a learning experience. Let’s forget about the facts and figures we’ve been jamming into our head as we prep for finals. Instead, we need to talk about all the lessons we learned in our first semester of college. From dorm hacks to #squadgoals, here are our top 10.

 

1. Survival of the Fittest

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Procrastinating lead us to the ultimate college experience — the late night cram session. Luckily, we learned quickly that we weren’t alone and that our college library had late night hours or our dorms had study rooms available for rent. Oh, and also, that pizza delivery goes until 2 AM.

 

2. Independence Isn’t All We Thought

Mom! We’re so sorry we didn’t listen to you when you were trying to teach us how to properly do laundry or make rice. We are also so sorry for all the times we told you that we couldn’t wait to get out of the house. Now that we’re on our own, we are just not into this whole adulting thing!  

 

3. Sharing is Caring

We were prepared for roommates, but not for roommates. The best way to get along with strangers you’re forced to live with is to share, compromise, and bring along noise canceling headphones.

 

4. Disconnecting is Connecting

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We all have those moments where we are hooked to Facebook and Instagram. It happens, especially when all our old friends are constantly posting there. But when we spend too much time on our phones, we miss out on new moments.

 

5. Budgeting Matters

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Money. Some have it; we don’t. Even that part-time job just barely provides enough to cover our expenses, and everyone’s always talking about that student loan bill we’ve got coming. That’s why we are committing to learning how to budget and stay on track. No debt here!

 

6. Vacation is Everything

The only thing that gets us through the hard times is having that calendar with the dates circled and bolded with our days off. Sure, it may just be going home for a few days to do laundry… but it counts.

 

7. Communication is Critical

Being honest about how we feel was usually reserved for those sappy TV shows we watched in high school. But now that we’re responsible for everything from our grades to our sleep schedule, we have learned how valuable communicating our needs and wants really is.

 

8. Saying Goodbye is Hard

The first semester of college can feel like a funeral. We’ve had breakups with boyfriends and friends that disappear from our lives. And while we may be heartbroken, we know that letting go of old relationships open us for something more.

 

9. Saying Hello is Even Harder

We had no idea how hard it is to make friends once you’re over the age of 18. It’s seriously difficult! While we still sometimes struggle with going outside our box and just saying hello, we’ve managed to build a squad of our own.

 

10. Dorm Food is Terrible (and Awesome)

Did you really think we’d go a whole article without mentioning college food? Basically, you learned that you could live your whole life on Ramen if it means avoiding the cafeteria, or you have memorized the food schedule. Either way, we salute you, dorm food eater. It’s one lesson we know we won’t forget.

Move in Day Madness! 11 Things you need to bring to college

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Dorm Room Packing

Congrats newest freshman! You made it to your first day of college! Welcome to move in day! This might have consisted of crying to your parents about how much you’re going to miss them, or spending 8 hours making your room just the way you want it. Well, I have a few tips on what things you won’t regret bringing from home. How do you envision your ideal dorm room for this upcoming fall? Christmas lights and tapestries hung up? Sofas and canvas wall hangings? Let’s take a look at what I used for my room and what things were really needed.

Dorm Room

My room at Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Connecticut.

What important things to bring from home: 

1. Mini Fridge

  • Leftover pizza, midnight snacks and your daily dose of Arizona Iced Tea. Buying a fridge is the perfect idea for an on the go breakfast or keeping your water bottle cold. My roommate bought one before we moved in and it definitely was worth the money! Go out and buy yourself a mini fridge!

2. Dorm Space saver!

  • Even though you think you have enough space no matter how big your dorm is, you will not regret buying this! A Dorm Space Saver (be it a trunk or under the bed storage) will keep all of your personal belongings in an organized space.

3. iHome

  • Don’t forget about your alarm clock for those 8 am classes! It definitely helps me when I need to wake up early for those 9AMs. An iHome will become your best friend. It has a charger for your phone, AM/FM stations, Bluetooth and so much more.

4. Fan, Fan, Fan!

  • Depending on which school you go to, most freshman dorm rooms don’t supply air conditioning. Definitely bring those fans with you because it gets very hot! Large or small, it does not matter!

5. Trunk

  •  A trunk is another great way to store anything you don’t need immediate access to — think winter blankets or clothing that’s out of season. You can also use this as a way to liven up your space. Slap on a bunch of bumper stickers and band stickers for an indie look, or spray paint it in your favorite colors.

6.  Plastic Storage bins

  • For all of you who complain to your mom how you don’t have enough space around the room, buying these bins was worth every penny! I know that I couldn’t fit all my stuff in that small closet they give us so buying these bins made my life so much easier! It helped me organize them from underwear to sweaters I will not be using now, towels, sheets and gym clothes!

7. Command Hooks

  • The easiest, cheapest and best way to hang up your picture frames, tapestries and a DIY canvas. You can pretty much find these anywhere – and you’ll be glad you bought them. Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 2.39.08 PM

8. Hangers

  • For all of those clothes us ladies bring, you must must must bring over 50 hangers… I know it seems like a bit much but you will not regret it! I brought so many hangers and it kept my closet organized from dresses, pants, skirts and shorts.

9. Light Up Make Up Mirror

  • Do you really want to put on a full face of makeup on in the dark for an 8 am? Invest in a mirror with a light, specifically one that gifts off natural, daylight hues.

10. Coffee Machine

  • Espresso, chai teas and much more! Who doesn’t love their early morning coffee? I know I can’t live without my daily dose of tea!

11. Batteries

  • You might be thinking right now why would I need to bring a pack of batteries? When I say trust me, trust me because I needed so many batteries setting up my dorm room, for things like remotes and lights!

Move-in Series: 1 Week Away from College Move-in Day

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College Move in Day Advice

Welcome back to the move-in series! We’re a week away from move-in day so there’s no time to waste. For those of you, who haven’t been keeping up with the series, allow me to explain: this is part four of a five part series that gives step by step instructions for high school grads preparing for move-in day at college. With only one week left to go, it’s time to tie up any loose ends and take care of those last minute tasks.

Step 1: Clean up

Before you leave, make sure your room is clean. Do yourself a favor here and don’t leave behind a messy room. You may not be coming home for a while, but when you do, a clean room is everything.  Not only is it rewarding, but making sure your room is spotless is the responsible thing to do. You may not be living at home anymore, but your family members do. So set aside some time to clean, and don’t cut any corners. You won’t regret it.

Step 2: Going away party

Don’t forget about those last goodbyes! Throw a going away party and invite your friends and family. Even if your school is nearby, it may be that you won’t get to see everyone again until winter break. If the weather’s nice, have a cook out with games and music. If not, you could invite everyone inside and have a potluck. Feel like going out on a budget? Take every one out to Dave & Buster’s with a group deal. Or keep things small and under budget with a family dinner.

Step 3: Medicine

Are you prescribed medication? Do you have an emergency inhaler? Whatever the case may be, make sure you have all of your prescriptions filled and secure. When packing, store the medicine in your carry-on bag or someplace where you’ll have immediate access to it. After you move in, store the medication in a safe place. And if you feel the need, let your roommate know about your medical condition and what to do in case of an emergency.

Step 4: Last minute packing

Do you see that overflowing basket of laundry in the corner? How about that closet full of shoes? It’s time to take care of all of your last minute packing! Pack those lack minute items such as clothes, electronics, and keepsakes. Next, pull out that checklist for another look. Go through the entire list and make sure that everything is accounted for. Also, get rid of any items that you deem unnecessary. This will help to lighten the load and save space in your dorm. Stay organized by keeping all of your bags and boxes in one area of the house. Be sure to label everything so that you know what’s fragile and what’s not. Consider shipping some things if you need to lighten the load. Always update the checklist and stay on top of your belongings.

Step 6: Say hello

Reach out to any contacts you made at student orientation; start texting your other friends and make plans for your first few nights on campus. There’s bound to be plenty of events going on so ask around. And where there are events, there is free food, and everyone loves free food. If you can’t find anything to do on campus (which is unlikely) spend a night out on the town, and explore all of the shops and restaurants. If you want to stay in, plan a movie night and make sure there are plenty of snacks to go around. Whatever you plan on doing, be inclusive and make new friends.

Step 7: Back it up

Backup computer contents to a hard drive, in case something happens during the move. Also, backup phone contents in order to make lots of room for new memories! Now, it’s easier than ever with the iCloud feature and others like it. If you’re not a fan of the cloud, stop by the store to pick up an external hard drive. However, once you get to college, you may find that manually backing up everything is just a pain. Check out OCM’s Campus Backup software that will automatically back up your e-mails, term papers, lecture notes, presentations, and as an added benefit, all your photos and music.

Step 8: Paperwork & textbooks

Take care of any last minute paperwork for school. Don’t forget to take any important forms with you! How about textbooks? Print out your textbook list and start searching! Check online vendors before settling for the bookstores retail price.

Step 9: Thank You Cards

Write thank you cards for your family and friends. There are plenty of reasons to be thankful for: moral support, financial help, grad gifts, etc. It’s a nice touch and a thank you card never goes unnoticed.