How to Make Move-in Day a Breeze

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There’s nothing quite as exciting, thrilling, or stressful as moving into your residence hall for the new school year! With so much to plan and coordinate — not to mention all the different thoughts and emotions running through your head — you can probably use a little help. Here’s how you can make moving in day a breeze without breaking a sweat.

 

Step One: Think Basics

Here’s a simple question for you to answer: when is move-in day? Make sure you double- and triple-check. Many schools have different move in days and times based on your grade level, the dorm you live in, and if you’re attending any summer or orientation events. Make sure you check with the college so you definitively know when your assigned day and time is.

 

Step Two: Review Your Dorm Room

Some residence halls are palaces with upgraded features like in-suite televisions and memory foam beds. Others have dorm rooms that are basically cinder block cells the size of a large (or even not-so-large) walk-in closet. Before you do anything, head to your school’s residence life web page to review the layout of your dorm room. Note the closet size, the amenities, and the recommended furniture layout(s). These will all come in handy during the packing phase.

 

Step Three: Do a Pre-Pack

Nearly all schools provide shopping lists for incoming residents. These usually include things like extra-long bedding, pillows, towels, and office items. Once you’ve picked out all your essentials, lay them out on your bedroom floor and see how much space they take up. Add season’s worth of clothing, shoes, and accessories, along with your electronics. This will give you a rough idea of how much remaining room you have to work with. We recommend placing all of this in a trunk that can double as storage and seating in your dorm room..

 

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Step Four: Plan Your Transportation

Once you know the footprint of everything you’re bringing, decide how you’re going to get it there. Most students can get away with using their parents’ SUV or truck to get by. If you have a lot, though, you may want to consider renting a U-Haul or other larger moving truck, especially if you’re moving cross-country.

 

Step Five: Pick Your Moving Crew

Most colleges have students who volunteer to help those living in the dorm move in. But you should also bring a few extra hands, if possible. Give these people tons of advance notice, especially if it’s on a weekday. And be sure they understand how far away your campus is and that moving in will probably be an all-day process.

 

Step Six: Review the Logistics

You’ve got your transportation decided and your crew confirmed, and all your basics are packed. Now, do it all over again. We’re not joking! This is when you can check and re-check everything from the move-in times and maps to what you’ve put in your trunk. Make sure everyone’s on the same page, and you’re ready to go.

 

Step Seven: Plan for a Shop

Whether you’re limited because you’re flying or you are forgetful, plan for a shopping day or night. You can grab the little things like kitchen gear, cleaning supplies, storage units, etc. at local stores. Or, you can have fun ordering everything online and having it all delivered to your dorm once you’ve moved in. Planning to buy later will help you keep moving day stress to a minimum.

 

Step Eight: Say Thanks

Move-in day is an emotional one — and not just for students. Make sure you express your thanks to those who help you, as well as those who got you where you are. Send thank you cards, give them a call, and take a picture and send them a postcard. A little love can go a long way.

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.

Move-in Series: 2 Weeks Away from College Move-in Day

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Move into College

Welcome back to the move-in series! We’re now just two weeks away from move-in day and the finish line is in sight. For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with the series, allow me to explain: this is part three of a four part series that gives step by step instructions for high school grads preparing for move-in day at college. We share plenty of helpful tips and tricks to help high school grads transition from their bedroom to their dorm room. Here’s seven helpful steps to follow when you’re two weeks away from move-in day.

Step 1: The Checklist

Whether you printed out one of our college ready lists, or made one of your own, it’s time to pull it out and look it over. Once again, go through your checklist and make sure you have everything you need. Order those last minute items with expedited shipping or make a run to the store. Don’t forget about food! Be sure to add food to your list. If you plan on making a run to the grocery store before move-in day, avoid buying perishable foods. Hold off on buying food like fresh fruit until you find a place to store it in your dorm.

Step 2: Pack, Pack, Pack

By now you should have most of your belongings packed and ready to go. Anything that you are not currently using should be packed, with the exception of items such as clothing, toiletries, and the like. Be careful of fragile items like picture frames and electronics. If you don’t have any bubble wrap lying around (and most of us don’t), use a few spare towels to wrap up fragile items. Stay organized while you pack by labeling your boxes and bags.  Keep all of your packed belongings in a designated spot at home as to avoid misplacing anything.

Step 3: Move-in day plan

How will you get to college? Are you moving in alone? How will you fit everything into the car? These are the kinds of questions that you should consider. If you’re taking a car, plan on loading it up the night before. Perhaps it would just be easier to ship everything or rent a truck. Once there, you need to figure out how you will move everything in. Ask your family members, friends, and roommate for help. If you’re moving in alone, consider hiring movers. Don’t hurt yourself trying to lug everything up to your dorm! Stay on track by creating a schedule for move-in day. It doesn’t have to be super detailed, but have general sense of when you want to leave, how long you want to spend unpacking, etc. Consider setting aside some time to go out to eat with your family. Think of it as a last meal and a final goodbye. Also, you want to leave plenty of time for yourself to explore the campus and attend events.

Step 4: Freshen up

New school, new home, why not a new hairdo? Get a haircut to look fresh for your first week as an undergrad; consider a whole new ‘do as you redefine your persona away from home. While you’re at it, spice up your wardrobe with a trip to the mall. Pick out a new outfit or two and arrive in style on move-in day!

Step 5: College Prep

Print out your schedule and book list. Start browsing around for textbooks and see if you can find a fair price. Buying used is a great way to save money and you can always sell the books back! Be advised that not all professors teach by the book…literally. If the book is only “recommended” or “suggested” you may not need it. Before you buy that $300 textbook, send your professor an email and ask if the book is required.  On the flip side, do not walk into class empty handed if the book is required for the course. Getting ahold of an in-demand textbook during the semester is a struggle. For a full guide to textbook shopping, check out the post Textbooks 101 for College Classes on our blog.

Step 6: Create a college bucket list

Make a list of all the things you want to accomplish and achieve at college. Perhaps you want to go on an overnight hike. Maybe you want to get straight A’s your first semester. Once you’ve come up with about ten goals, pin the list up on the wall. At the end of each semester, cross out what you’ve accomplished and add new goals. Hold yourself responsible for completing what you set out to do. Want to have even more fun? Share the list with your friends and ask them to go along with you on your adventures.

Step 7: Research student services

Check out all the student services offered at your school. Need help building your résumé? Not sure what career you want to pursue? Luckily for you, student services are available to help you with these things and more! Looking for an internship? Check with student services to see what contacts they have. You may be far from home, but help is right around the corner!

Move-in Series: 1 Month Out (aka Grind-time)

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Move in series 2

We’re back again with our Move-in Series. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, we are providing a step by step guide for high school grads preparing to move into the residence halls. Now that we’re a month away from move-in day, it’s time to knuckle down and take care of business. Follow the eight steps below to make the most of your time at home!

Step 1: Shopping Online

You still have plenty of time to order online and have things shipped before move-in day. Remember to stick to your budget, and pick out a dorm-room style that really speaks to you. Tip: don’t leave this till the last minute! You don’t want to end up settling for a last minute in-store purchase of something essential like your bedding or rug. Also, make sure you know how long items will take to ship in order to keep everything organized.

Be sure to check out OCM for the best deals and giveaways. Enter to win OCM’s Room Goals Instant Win Giveaway and stay tuned for future giveaways! Our blog and social media pages will keep you in the loop with all of the new products as well as college life advice.

Step 2: Professional Tasks

If you’re working a summer job, it’s almost time to put in your two weeks’ notice. Don’t wait until the last couple of days to quit your job. Leave on a good note so that you have a reference to put on your résumé – because perhaps you want to come back next summer and work again. Either way, make the right choice and give at least two weeks’ notice.

The next task is to build or update your résumé. A strong résumé should reflect your academic and professional achievements. You are bound to make connections in college both personally and professionally. So keep that résumé up to date; you won’t regret it! Take a look at our blog for more résumé help and advice.

Step 3: Network

Want to avoid that awkward silence when you first meet your roommate? Reach out to your roommate via text or social media. Before you get lost in conversation about who knows what, be sure to ask them about their plans for move-in day. Matter of fact, there are 11 essential questions that you need to ask. You’ll be spending a lot of time together over the course of the next year or two, so get friendly!

Talk to them about the serious stuff too. Let them know if you have any sort of medical condition in advance – that way, if something were to go wrong, they will know how to help.

Also, don’t be scared to reach out to your fellow classmates! You’re not the only one going off to college for the first time. You’re all in this together so make the most of it. It’s always comforting to see friendly faces in a new environment.

Step 4:  College Life

Do you want to be a part of Greek life? Are you interested in joining a club? Looking for inexpensive places to eat on campus? Start researching places to go and things to do before you arrive. Familiarize yourself with the school’s social media pages. That way, you can stay up to date with all the events going on around campus!

Make a list of things you want to get done freshman year. This is your time to explore, meet new people, and experience all that college life has to offer. Be adventurous and go outside of your comfort zone! Most importantly, don’t let this year pass you by. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to rock climbing — so do some research, pick a date, and take a new friend!

Step 5: Practice Makes Perfect

Let’s be honest, no one likes doing laundry. But you’re going to have to do it in college so you better practice while you’re at home. Continue to hone these skills that you will need to live on your own.

And with one month left, it’s time to take a hard look in the mirror. Take a minute and do a self-evaluation. Are you a messy person? How well do you get along with others? Keep in mind you will be sharing a room with someone new. Don’t be that messy roommate who forgets to do the dishes or take out the trash. Identify your bad habits, and work on breaking them while you still have time!

Step 6: Make a Quick Buck

As you sort through your belongings, put aside items that you no longer need. Sell these items online to make some quick cash. However, make sure you don’t sell off items that you plan on using after college, such as furniture. Consider selling old electronics, clothes, sports gear, and other items you might not need.

Now’s also a good for a short-term, part-time job like dog walking or babysitting. Check local listings and put up flyers around town. You may be surprised at just how profitable this type of work can be.

Step 7: Family & Friends

Don’t forget to spend time with those closest to you! Ask your family to go out for dinner. Plan a road trip with your friends. Whatever you do, make sure you spend some quality time with your family and friends! You might not be seeing them as much once you leave for school, so now’s the perfect time to spend time with them before the big move.

Step 8: College Registration & Other Deadlines

Have you kept up with all the due dates and deadlines for college registration? Keep in mind that scholarships and financial aid may take time to process and require you to manually log-in and accept any rewards. Don’t miss out on potential financial aid or a work study grant because you missed the acceptance deadline! Set reminders and check your college email daily. Take care of any paper work and send it in – you won’t want to be stuck doing this the first week of school.

Keep updating your class schedule as move-in day draws closer. Not sure what classes you should register for? Reach out to an academic adviser for assistance or reference your degree requirements. Figure out what times and professors work best for you. There are plenty of websites that rate professors so check those out before committing to a three-hour night class with one professor. Make sure you plan around your athletics and/or club activities. You might also want to consider scheduling a rest day to break up the week. It will help cut down on stress and can act as a great time to study or catch up with friends.

Tips to Make Dorm Move-in Day a Breeze!

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Move-in day for college students can be one of the most stressful times of the year. With so much to coordinate and plenty of help needed, navigating the moving process requires patience and organization. Here are essential tips to ensure you have a seamless move-in day.

1.   Read Up on the Rules

Before you plan or pack anything, read up on your school’s move-in day requirements. You may be told a specific time and date in which you can move. This helps keep the day organized and manageable. Showing up early or late can get you turned away and delay your plans. In addition, some colleges have rules about how many people can accompany you, how much time you have in a loading zone, and require specific check-in procedures. Knowing what you can and cannot do can save you loads of headaches as the day approaches.

2.   Assemble a Team

Move-in is only as good as the people doing the move. Your crew should consist of at least one strong person, someone organized, and a leader. That team must be able to work together well to get through such a stressful day. Let those you may not get along with stay at home (such as siblings!). Give each person a rundown of the day, assign a specific task, and be sure they understand how it is to be done. Become the leader and take the reins!

3.   Bring Along Moving Supplies

Having extra moving supplies may be a lifesaver at the end of the day. For example, many schools will provide you with carts or dollies, but those are taken fast. Rent, borrow, or purchase your own so you are not left waiting for the next available one. You should also bring empty boxes and packing tape in case you change your mind about items in the room. Other great move-in supplies to have on hand include bungee cords, first aid kits, and furniture casters.

4.   Label Your Boxes

Once you’re in your dorm, you’ll want to get unpacked as quickly as possible, especially if your team needs to leave. To speed up the process, prep your gear by organizing it in terms of its use or the area of the room. For example, pack all of your bath towels with the rest of your bath supplies or have a single box for your comforter and pillows. If you have a storage system such as a trunk or dresser, pack what will go in there (such as winter boots or coats) in advance. Labeling your boxes will help streamline where everything goes.

5.   Create Lists

A thorough to-do list is a must have, especially with the days leading up to the move. Make sure it includes necessary shopping trips, visits with your team, and day-of things to take care of. Have a separate list of everything you have packed so you can keep track of your items and nothing gets lost in the shuffle. Be sure to check out our college dorm checklist to ensure you have all your essentials packed! Finally, make an itinerary for your move-in day team. If there are family or welcome events that they will attend with you, let them know in advance so they are prepared.

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How excited are you for move-in day? What do you plan on doing in advance to keep things organized and efficient? Good luck!

Tips, Tricks, & Advice: Surviving the First Few Days of Freshman Year

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It goes without saying that your first few days of college are going to be some of the most nerve-wracking, overwhelming, and unbelievably exciting days of your life. It’s a whole new environment, a whole new group of people, and a whole new chapter of your life that you’re about to embark upon. That definitely comes with a lot of pressure! At least that was my experience as a naïve, innocent, (don’t forget 20 pounds lighter) 18-year-old girl.

I vividly remember driving through St. Michael’s College (Colchester, VT) on move-in day back in the fall of 2013. (Yes, it’s been two years already. Yikes.) We parked the car, hauled way too many bins up four flights of stairs, and spent the next couple of hours pushing, pulling, bed-making and bulletin-board-hanging. And before I knew it, I was off on my own…college had officially begun!

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My dad and me in my freshman year dorm room, all moved in!

There’s a solid chance that even amidst all the flyers, pamphlets, and letters that you’ll get in the mail the summer before your freshman year, you won’t find the truly candid, honest, important advice that I wish I’d been given prior to those first few days back in 2013.

So without further ado, here are a few key bits of advice that I believe to be essential for those first few pages of your college-life-chapter!

1.) The Unwritten Rule of Roommates

Me and my freshman year roommate, Megan, in our dorm at St. Michael’s! Megan ended up transferring to a different school before our sophomore year, but her new school is close by, and we still keep in touch regularly!

Me and my freshman year roommate, Megan, in our dorm at St. Michael’s! Megan ended up transferring to a different school before our sophomore year, but her new school is close by, and we still keep in touch regularly!

It’s move-in day. You don’t know anyone yet; you don’t know what you’re doing, where you’re going, and most importantly, whom you’ll be going with. Inevitably, there’s already an implied relationship between you and your roommate. It’s more than likely that they’ll be your go-to buddy over the next couple of days when it comes to making a trip to the dining hall, heading across campus for an orientation event, or breaking into a game of Frisbee that’s been started out on the lawn (for the sake of mingling, of course).

That being said, it’s important to branch out beyond your roommate as school progresses, regardless of whether or not they become a close friend (which, by the way, they don’t have to). Of course, that’s not to say you can’t still be close with your roommate, but don’t let them be the only one you’re close to! There’s a whole school of potential friends out there, and it wouldn’t be fair to them or to you to let them pass you by!

2.) Mingle & Participate!

Back at my St. Michael’s orientation weekend, I was shocked that anybody would want to skip out on orientation events. But, of course, there’s always that person that’s too cool for it all. That being said, I can’t stress it enough…don’t be that person!!

There’s nothing more important through those first few days than mingling and participating. So get into it, join in, and have fun! You won’t regret it; plus, you never know…a good friend, a best friend, or even a significant other could be waiting out there to meet you for the first time!

Orientation events are a great way to get out, meet people, and bond with them. And if those bonds become stronger through furthered relationships, what’s the harm in that?!

3.) Get Out and About!

Once you’ve hung around on campus for a couple of days and gotten to know how all of that goes, it’s time to start branching out!

Maybe your school is located in a great college town. (Burlington, Vermont anyone?) Maybe there’s a cool nature trail near campus. Maybe (and by maybe, I mean always) there are undiscovered gems close by waiting to be blessed by your discovery! Whether or not your campus has plenty of great spots to hang out, it’s always a good idea to break out of there and explore. After all, you’ll be living there for the next four years, so that first week of school is as good a time as any to start navigating your new second home!

Additionally, getting a group of people together to go off campus is a great way to move from acquaintances to friends, especially in those first few days when whoever you happen to be sitting next to at an orientation event is an automatic buddy.

Happy explorin’!

The Lake Champlain waterfront in downtown Burlington is a favorite spot of mine. This was one of the first places my boyfriend Jared and I hung out when we started dating early in our freshman year!

The Lake Champlain waterfront in downtown Burlington is a favorite spot of mine. This was one of the first places my boyfriend Jared and I hung out when we started dating early in our freshman year!

 

I hope any and all of you soon-to-be freshmen found my advice helpful, and even more importantly, I hope you can put it to good use once you get to school in the fall! If nothing else, you should be so excited to be embarking on this new journey. I know I was!

I hope you all enjoyed my first post, and be sure to keep up with my oncoming posts every other Tuesday!

Additionally, feel free to follow me on Instagram @claire_cavanaugh, on Twitter @CavanaughClaire, and on my school blog that I write for St. Michael’s College: claireinvermont.blogspot.com

Until next time! 🙂

What to Buy Ahead of Time for Freshman Year of College

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Once you have your school acceptance letter, you probably are thinking, “Where do I go from here?” With your freshman year right around the corner, it’s time to go shopping! Your post-high school summer vacation is the perfect excuse to stock up on dorm room wants and school needs that will make your transition from high school to college a breeze.

1.   Large Furniture

If you have the space to keep it until you’re ready to transport it to your new dorm, large furniture is great to buy early. In fact, you can get great deals on these pieces from university students in the process of moving out. Every May, tons of students look to unload their dorm furniture and supplies using Facebook sales groups, Craigslist postings, and fliers around campus. Willing freshman and their families can save huge bucks by investing in dorm-tested pieces now rather than later.

2.   Storage Options

Most dorm rooms do not offer much in the way of storage. You’ll probably face the common challenge of figuring out just where to keep your stuff—everything from winter clothing to used textbooks. That’s where options such as trunks, under the bed storage, closet organizers, and storage tubs come in handy. You can use these bins and containers to cut down on boxes when you move. Later, you can save even more by using them as functional, necessary pieces like tables or seating.
Underbed Storage

3.   School Supplies

Come August, you will be bombarded with those familiar commercials for school supplies. Don’t fall prey to the them. The best time to buy notebooks, backpacks, pens, and paper is actually right after most schools let out. When schools dismiss in the late spring and early summer, every item for your desk goes on mega-clearance as suppliers look to get rid of last year’s styles and bring in new products.

4.   Linens and Bedding

There is a common myth that you should wait until getting the keys to your dorm room to purchase linens and bedding. But you most likely will run into the same issue as you would school supplies: too many people buying at one time. Just like the clearance on school supplies, you can find great deals on extra-long bedding, durable towels, and matching throws without having to push through a crowd or settle on whatever happens to be left over. You will instead get first pick at what is available. Alternatively you can avoid all the hassle of waiting on a line to buy bedding, and just purchase a dorm twin XL bedding set to get all your essentials at once!
Value Pak

5.   Décor Accessories

Are you big on thrift and vintage finds? Is your summer full of DIY project ideas for your freshman year dorm? Start shopping around now to find the best in decor accessories and project necessities. Garage sales are an excellent opportunity to spend less on pieces such as lamps and shades or picture frames to adorn your new digs. If you plan on turning these into projects with touches like a fresh coat of spray paint or adding a DIY inspirational phrase poster, get this done now so you’re not stuck when you are in the limited confines of a tiny dorm.

6.   School Spirit Wear

Show off that school pride! Sporting a t-shirt with the mascot of your university or the name of your school will certainly get you amped up for your freshman year, and it will be a great talking point to all those wanting to know just which school you chose. When it is time to start your first day of classes, you’ll have already broken in your favorite shirt or hoodie.

Knowing what to buy for your freshman year of college can be confusing. With so many options and so little time, you may be overwhelmed by your shopping list if you wait too long. However, by knowing what to buy ahead of time for freshman year, you can be prepared for your first day on campus by buying what you need well in advance of your first class. Have you started purchasing anything for your first year of college? Let us know!

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