Welcome back to the move-in series! For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with the series, allow me to explain: this is the last part of a five part series that gives step by step instructions for high school grads preparing for move-in day at college. And it's finally the day you've been waiting for all summer: freshman move-in day! Here's everything you need to know about your first day in the dorms and on campus.
Step 1: The Walk Through
Before you leave, take one last look around the house. Run through the check list and eyeball your surroundings. Make sure you have everything you need and leave no space unchecked. It’s easy to forget about common everyday items such as toothbrushes and chargers.
Step 2: Last Minute to-do’s
How do I get my room key? Where do I check-in? Where is it safe to park? To find the answers to these questions, look no further than your college’s website. You may be responsible for other tasks such as room inspection upon arrival. So reference you college’s website for more information on move-in day instructions.
Step 3: Leave Early
Beat the traffic by leaving early. Speed through the security lines at the airport by leaving early. Catch the first train by leaving early. No matter how you plan on getting to college, leave early! You’ll have more time to unpack and relax on move-in day.
Step 4: Recruit Movers
Moving in without any help is not an impossible feat. But who wants to make twenty back-breaking trips from the car to the dorm? Text a few friends around campus and ask for some help. If your parents are dropping you off, recruit a sibling or two to help out. Still struggling to find help on move in day? Hire some movers to lug all your stuff for you!
Step 5: Unpack and Explore
As tempting as it may be to start rearranging the furniture in your dorm, don’t. Unless you have a room all to yourself, you need to check with your roommate(s) before moving things around. You definitely don’t want to start off on the wrong foot with your roommates. Also, be respectful of their space by placing all of your boxes, bags, and luggage out of the way. After you finish unpacking your things, take a trip around campus. There’s bound to be some type of move-in day meet and greet. Go out, meet people, and have fun!
Step 6: Final Goodbye
Saying goodbye is always the hardest part, especially for mom. Show your family how thankful you are for their support with a nice card. Consider going out to eat with them for one last meal.
Step 7: Meet the Resident Assistant (RA)
Introduce yourself to the RA and see what they have planned for the start of the semester. It’s never a bad idea to make some friendly conversation with the RA. They are there to enforce school policy, so don’t get on their bad side.
Step 8: Get to Know Your Roommate
Spend some quality time with your roommate. Take them out for a cup of coffee or a bite to eat. Invite them out if you have any plans on campus. Consider joining a club together if you share similar interests. On a more serious note, take a minute to discuss what the house rules will be. For example: leaving dishes in the sink is forbidden. It's important to set up a cleaning schedule right off the bat. Establishing these rules now will go a long way.
Step 9: Find Your Way Around
Familiarize yourself with your residence hall – check out the bathrooms, kitchen, rec rooms, etc. Take a trip to the gym, explore the quad, or just take a walk around the block. Another smart move is to figure out how long it will take you to get to your classes, by pulling up your class schedule and starting the stopwatch on your phone. Walk to each class and record how long it takes to get to each one. While this may seem foolish to students on a small campus, it can be hard to tell how far away a building is on a large campus.
Step 10: Unfinished Business
Take care on any unfinished business before the day is up. Store any important documents, cash, and credit/debit cards in a safe place. Turn in any paperwork that you may have forgotten about. Go pick up your textbooks and school supplies from the bookstore, and take care of any financial aid and/or scholarship obligations. If anything else comes to mind, you'll thank yourself later if you take care of it before the end of the day.
Step 11: Food Run
Make a trip to the grocery store to stock up on food. Only buy what you can easily prepare and store. If you do not have a fridge, avoid buying large amounts of perishable foods like fruit. Here are some great dorm food ideas: energy bars, chips, trail mix, and all things canned. Keep an eye out for anything on sale. If you have room in your dorm, such as under your bed, buy in bulk whenever you come across a decent sale. This is where having a rewards card (or using your parents) comes in handy. You’ll be surprised at how much money you can save with a rewards card.