Curing Homesickness While Away at College

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Homesickness at College

Let’s be honest — your first night away from home and in your dorm or apartment may not be as exciting as you dreamt it to be. Instead of making friends, you may find yourself a bit sad or even downright depressed. Don’t worry. It’s totally normal to want to call home or video chat with your mom (or favorite pet). Homesickness comes with the territory of being a student away from home. The good news is that curing homesickness while away at college can be done in just a few steps.

Set Up a Schedule

Before your parents say goodbye, schedule a time to call or check in with them. This could be an hour after they pull away or a week from now. Pick a time that makes you feel comfortable and write it down in your calendar or planner. When homesickness gets to be too much, you will always know you have a bit of home to look forward to. If it helps, you can even make it a regular date.

Find a Connection

A new college town may not seem as great or familiar as home. However, instead of dwelling on losing your favorite coffee shop, restaurant you frequented with friends, or clothing store, make it a mission to find a replacement. Visit all the coffee places in your new town, take a friend and go shopping, or ask upperclassman for recommendations for a favorite late night diner. This will get you out of your dorm and out exploring. And instead of comparing, you may just find yourself with a list of places that’s just as good (if not better).

Unpack ASAP

Living with boxes and storage bins is no way to make a dorm a home. As soon as you’ve got a free moment, unpack right away. Get it done quickly and then either trash or store what you don’t need. These items are meant to be for the transition, not for the now. If you’re using plastic storage bins, dress them up spray paint, decals, or cloth coverings. Trunks can be made into seating areas. And suitcases can be stashed under the bed with winter clothes inside for extra functionality.

Decorate the New Place

And then, get to decorating. Did you love the mirror in your bedroom back home? Recreate it. Need a quiet place to get away from a noisy roommate? DIY a canopy seating area. Looking for some inspiration? Purchase a motivational poster your mom would have approved of. And don’t forget pictures! They’re an important part of making homesickness feel less powerful.

Be Open and Honest

Homesickness is completely normal, even if you’re an adult. We all miss things and people that are familiar to you. That’s why you’ll probably find a person to commiserate with a roommate, a new friend, or even your RA or residence director. If you feel like extra support is needed, ask for a coffee date to discuss your feelings and be sure to listen to them talk about what they miss too. Just hearing it from someone else can reassure you that it’s okay to long for the things we love back home.

6 Awesome Ways to Spend Your First Night on Campus

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First night on campus

The first night away from home and in your new dorm or apartment can be quite intimidating. Since you won’t know many people and are probably still not completely familiar with your campus, you might be tempted to spend this time holed up alone or on the phone with mom and dad. Don’t worry — this is normal! But instead of sticking to yourself, there are tons of awesome ways to spend your first night on campus. Here are our top 6!

1.   Experience Orientation Events

To ease the transition from home to dorms or apartments, most colleges offer a ton of great (and free!) orientation events geared towards freshmen and transfer students. During the day, these might include classes and meetings, but at night, they are all about meeting others and having a bit of fun. Whether it’s a dance, a trip to the city, or a pizza party, be sure to try it out. You never know who you’ll meet!

2.   Make a (College-Themed) Movie Night

If you’re more comfortable chilling in your room, that’s not a problem either! Grab your roommate and a neighbor or two and advertise for a college-themed movie night. All you need is a subscription to a streaming service or a few DVDs, a couple bags of popcorn, and some soda to make this party a hit. We recommend watching cult classics that everyone will love such as Animal House, Legally Blonde, Old School, Pitch Perfect, or Revenge of the Nerds.

3.   Take to the Streets

Your campus isn’t the only thing that’s new — you’re probably new to the town, too! Why not take this opportunity to enjoy and explore your new home? Take campus transportation (or walk) for a night of shopping local stores. Get tickets to a concert or theater performance. Check out a movie you’ve been dying to see. Or ask your RA, orientation leaders, or an upperclassman for recommendations for late night dining favorites.

4.   Unpack and Decorate

One of the most important things you can do to alleviate homesickness is to make your new place feel like your own place. And with the hustle and bustle of first days, you’ve probably not had much time to unpack all your boxes or hang that awesome new wall poster you bought. If you can, get your roommate involved. Unpacking and decorating can strengthen your bond. In the end, you’ll end up with a room that both of you will be proud to call home.

5.   Dine Around Campus

If you’d rather stay on campus for your first night, you still don’t have to be stuck in your dorm room with nothing to do! Take your fancy new meal card or ID and a hungry stomach to the places you’ll be eating for the next year! Grab a salad from one cafeteria, a sandwich from the next, dessert from a small cafe, and a milkshake from another. You’ll love spending your night going to one dining area to the next, and you’ll be sure to have new favorite food spots for the future.

6.   Take Some Time for Self-Care

There’s a lot of pressure to make new friends or to get yourself out there. But, truth be told, that’s not for everyone. For many, what’s needed before starting a first day of college classes is some time devoted to centering, relaxing, or planning. If you’re not feeling the party or orientation scene, don’t let it get to you. Take your time to unpack, call a friend, get your books and supplies ready, meditate, or work out. You’ll have two long semesters to make new friends or enjoy your new town, so don’t feel pressured to do anything you’re not comfortable doing!

Move-in Series: 2 Months Out (aka How to Get Through the Longest Summer Vacation)

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Move in 2 months out

The days, weeks, and even months leading up to the start of college can be tough. Plagued with an incurable case of senioritis, high school seniors often catch themselves doodling shopping lists and dorm room layout designs in class, daydreaming about what it would be like to pledge Greek, and longing for the days of no morning classes. We’re right there with you!

It’s hard to be patient when there is so much to look forward to. To encourage that enthusiasm, we’ll be sharing a Move-in Series specifically for students like you, that helps you to tackle all the to-do’s before moving away to college. To get you prepped and ready for move-in day, we’re going to take you through five stages. From two months away to move-in day, we’ve got you covered. Here, let’s discuss how to kick off your last summer before freshman year!

Step 1: College Registration

You may have been accepted into college, but you’re still ways away from the start of fall semester. That doesn’t mean you can’t be thinking ahead! First things first, take care of any paperwork for your school, financial aid, and/or scholarships. Get the most boring stuff out of the way first, so it’s out of sight and out of mind. While you’re at it, don’t forget to setup your college email! Check it often so you don’t miss out on any important notifications from your department or residence hall RA. Lastly, sign up for your classes early! Popular professors and time slots fill up fast, so even if you’re schedule is tentative, sign up. Dropping or adding a class is easier to do early on.

Step 2: Get your money right

Before you start shopping for all your college needs, make sure you have your finances in order. If you haven’t done so already, open up a bank account. Take care of any student loan or credit card applications. You might even apply for your first credit card to increase your credit score.

Next, build a budget that takes into account all of your income and expenses. Keep in mind a time frame for your budget. Are you budgeting for the initial dorm expenses, your first semester, or your entire freshmen year? Consider what it’ll cost for a meal plan, books, dorm supplies, clothes, etc. Plan for those big ticket items and set aside some emergency funds. Figure out what you can afford and stick to that budget!

Step 3: Gather inspiration for your dorm room

Browse around OCM and check out all of the possible color combinations for your room. If you want to add a personal touch, plan some Do It Yourself projects. Print out some pictures of family and friends to put on display. Perhaps you could even create a vision board for your room! The point is to get an idea of what you want your room to look like so you may shop smart!

Step 4: The checklist

The question “What do I need for college?” may seem like a daunting one. The easiest way to approach the checklist is by splitting everything up into two categories: things to bring and things to buy. Consider what you will bring from home: toiletries, back pack, alarm clock, photos, keepsakes, etc. Then, keeping your budget in mind, consider what you’ll have to buy: bedding, furniture, storage trunks/containers, school supplies, etc. Whatever you decide to bring with you, make sure everything will fit in your new digs. Dorms are not huge living quarters, and many come furnished. With limited space, it’s important that you pack accordingly. We have our own college packing checklist that you can print out and use to help you plan!

Step 5: Start shopping

With your moving checklist list ready to go (or at least a work in progress), begin shopping for your dorm and school supplies! You might be surprised at how long it takes to gather and pack everything you need, so it helps to get started as early as possible.

Ordering online is hassle-free, but you have to account for time and money spent on shipping. Also, if you were to forget an item or need to return one, having an extra month to do so is beneficial. As far as packing goes, it’s not a priority at this stage. However, you should go over your checklist from time to time, adding items when necessary, and reminding yourself of what you still need to buy and pack.

Step 6: Preparing for life away from home

You may not be a jack of trades, but you should know basics for living on your own. That means learning to do your laundry, cooking a dorm-friendly meal, and basic car maintenance if you plan to bring your car to campus. The best way to practice these skills is by doing it at home!

Ask your family and friends for help when you get stuck, but be sure to try each of these things on your own. After all, you may not have guidance when you go to do it yourself in school! You need to put in the effort now to learn so it will come as second nature in college. If you are forgetful, or just can’t find the time, put together a schedule. Designate days and times for doing laundry, cooking meals, and whatever else you need to practice.

Step 7: Spend time with family & friends

Planning for college can be stressful, but it’s important to make time for family and friends. After all, you are moving away in two months! Don’t know what do or where to go? Plan a trip to the beach, go on a hike, or just hang out. Whatever you do, enjoy the time spent with your family and friends, making and documenting memories you can think back to when you’re miles apart.

 

The Struggle of Packing and Leaving for College

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The Struggle of Packing & Leaving for College
While you may be relaxing and refreshing after a long year of school, summer isn’t just for working on your tan or hitting up the beach. It’s time to think about what you need to bring to college! If you’re a returning student to the dorms, this is probably no sweat, but for the incoming freshman out there, we want to prepare you for the struggle of packing and leaving for college.

The Struggle of Packing and Leaving for College

1. Anticipation

With your move-in date set in your calendar, your dorm room choices submitted, and your school’s recommended packing list sent out, you’re probably bursting at the seams to get going. We don’t blame you! The wait is the worst/best part of the summer before starting college.

2. Roommate Compromise

If you know your roommate, this part is pretty simple. But working with strangers on making sure your room is ready to go is a whole other story. How do you ask someone to fork over some cash for a shared mini-fridge?

3. My Dorm Room is How Big?

Get out the Google search results, the blueprints your college posted, and the room configuration suggestions — it’s time to plan your space. While you may have dreams for a luxe couch for friends to crash on or an awesome canopy bed, you’ll think again when you realize you’re living in a shoebox for the next four years.

4. Minimizing Phase

Don’t panic! You can make this work. You just need to downsize a couple things, go with the bare minimums, and think smart on how you pack. Who needs three swimsuits when you’re moving to Wisconsin anyways?

5. Overpacking Phase

But what if you do need that third swimsuit? What if you need another pair of snow pants? What if you need that old yearbook from eighth grade or the notes your parents left to you reminding you about groceries? What if you need it all!

6. Stuffed Animal Conundrum

Probably one of the hardest decisions we all have to make is if our favorite stuffed friend makes it on the packing list. Do you say goodbye to childhood or do you sneak your favorite teddy bear in that suitcase? (Our advice: take the bear. You’ll feel better if you do.)

7. Packing Chaos/ “Seriously Dad, It Won’t Fit”

Boxes! Bins! Trunks! Storage! How are you going to get it all in that small mini-van? Don’t worry, your dad or other male figure is guaranteed to figure it out… even if it means doing a little stuffing and smashing to make sure it all fits come move-in day.

8. Arrival and Unpacking

You survived! After all that insane packing drama, you managed to make it safely to your dorm room with everything in tact. But now the real adventure begins: unpacking!

Creative Ways to Announce Where You’ll be Going to School in the Fall

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Announcing your fall college choice (1)

You may have heard of gender reveal parties, in which new parents announce if they are having a boy or a girl. But what about college reveal parties? Deciding which college you have accepted an offer from is a huge deal that should be celebrated. These 6 creative ways to announce where you will be going to school in the fall take it to the next level.

6 Creative Ways to Announce Where You Will be Going to School in the Fall

1.   The Superman Reveal

If you’re holding out till graduation to tell your friends and more distant relatives, there is no better time to make your announcement than right after you receive that high school diploma! One of our favorite ways is wearing your college’s shirt underneath your cap and gown. When you have graduated, dramatically open your robe to reveal the name of your new school! It’s a great transition point and a way to say you’re ready to conquer the next school on your list.

2.   Balloon School Spirit Pop

This one is an idea straight from those uber popular gender reveal parties. If you’re between two different schools with distinct school colors, purchase some neutral colored balloons (such as black, white, gold, or silver). Before filling them with helium, have the store stuff them with your college’s colors. When you’re ready to make your big announcement, gather the family and pop the balloons. Seeing that green and white for Michigan or the blue and gold for UCLA may just make their day!

3.   The Vintage Pennants Hang

We love all things vintage and antique, especially when they’re college related. One of our favorite must-haves are vintage college pennants hung up in our room. As you apply to colleges, purchase a pendant at each school and hang them in a row. When it’s time to tell your parents or friends which school you’ve decided on, one-by-one take away each pennants until you’re left with a winner. The alternative if you cannot find pennants for the schools you have applied to is to create your own pennants with letters spelling out your winning school.

4.   The Parent Swag Gift

The first people you should tell about your college choice has to be your parents. However, it doesn’t have to be just a rush to agree on the right school for you. This is a special moment for them too! Take a day or two to purchase a parent swag item such as a shirt that says “X University Mom” and wrap it up nicely so you can get video of their surprise and shock when they unwrap their unexpected new gifts.

5.   The Sorting Hat

Are you a Harry Potter nerd like us? Then you will love incorporating your favorite books and movies into your college decision! Have a crafty friend create a sorting hat and then act as its “voice.” At your graduation party, have the voice hide and recite a creative poem or few lines that talk about your personality or qualities and why the school is best for you.

6.   The Trivia Challenge

Could your parents guess the school you’re going to based on its famous alumni? Could your friends name your college based on its mascot? Doing a round of trivia to give hints and clues leading up to your big announcement can be an absolute blast. They will love sorting it all out while you will love teasing them with super unknown facts about your new home.

 

Five Things We Didn’t Know Freshman Year

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There’s plenty of advice out there on what you absolutely must do as a college freshman: go to class every day, join a whole bunch of clubs, pledge a sorority or a fraternity, etc. But as plenty of freshmen before you have learned, there is a lot you really should not do. To help you avoid our past mistakes, we’ve compiled our five biggest regrets from freshman year in one list.

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1. Let Your Toiletries Get Low (or Gross!)

You’ve stock up on your potato chips, your comfy sheets, your seating choices…but what you’re probably forgetting is to have spare toiletries. We’re talking the essentials: shampoo, body wash, razors, and more. As a freshman, especially if you go to a school in a small town, you’ll learn that you can’t walk across the hall and pick up new supplies or ask your parents to bring you more from the store. You’re going to have to store some extras in your own dorm in case of emergencies. We recommend using an under-the-bed, plastic storage bin to keep it out of sight, but still in mind.

The flip side is letting those toiletries get groddy. Most of your supplies should last you a year, but things like your shower flip flops (an absolute must have) and even your caddy should be on your replace list every 3-6 months. The same goes for your more regularly used items like lower quality towels and sponges. The last thing you want is for some gunk to become germs.

2. Rely On the Cafeteria for All Your Food

As a freshman, you’ll want to save a buck, especially when you get your first tuition bill. Because of this, many decide to stick to the cafeteria 100% of the time. However, depending on your meal plan can have a few unwanted consequences. First is the quality of the food – it’s usually not the healthiest. Secondly, unhealthy options every day can mean packing on the Freshman 15 fast. If possible, store some more healthier options, such as carrots and hummus, in your room for days when tacos don’t fit in your eating plans.

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Finally, you don’t want to just stick to the cafeteria, because you’ll want to explore! Part of the fun of college is getting to know your new town. Take a few friends and make a weekly date night. Each person gets to pick the restaurant, and by the end of the semester, you’ll have a list of favorite haunts and the best meals out there.

3. Stick Around the Dorms All Day

Being in college means having a new kind of freedom: there are (usually) no curfews, meaning you can head out to town whenever you want. There’s a world waiting for you out there, and as an adult, it’s your job to explore it!

Besides the obvious perks of exploring your local town, you’ll want to get out of your dorm because your college has a ton to offer you. Many universities have big budgets on events or immersions for students to participate in. This may include concerts from world class musicians, stand up comedians in a rec center, or campus Olympics. If you stick to what you know, you may miss these really exciting opportunities!

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4. Register for Bland and Boring Classes

Loading yourself down with boring or overly challenging classes can lead you to burn out very quickly. Instead, start at a pace that allows you to adjust to this new phase in your life. Take a few necessary classes, but mix them up with a subject you’ve been dying to explore, such as an art history course or a modern film lecture.

Most college students will change their major from year to year. By focusing too much on your original goals, you may find yourself in senior year and regretting not changing course. By varying up your coursework, especially early on, you’re giving yourself the freedom to let the right path come to you.

5. Get Disorganized

This one is key — one of the biggest mistakes freshman will make is getting lazy. In high school, your teachers or parents probably kept a good eye on your note taking, locker organization, or planner usage. But college is no excuse to let those great habits go.

College is so much fun, but it also can be a lot of work and effort. Stay on top by getting a great organization system. Purchase desk organizers, use a backpack with dividers, or get out that paper scheduler you relied on last year. You’ll thank yourself for it later.

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8 Must Learn Time Management Skills for Freshman Year

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Transitioning from high school to college can be tricky. Where the differences really add up is in your schedule and the new freedom you are allotted. Many, unfortunately, fall in the trap of not having enough personal time management skills to self-navigate. Get yourself started on the right foot by practicing these eight tips and tricks for managing your time wisely.

Urgent

1.   Give Yourself 20

An evening devoted to studying one subject or working on just one project is not anyone’s cup of tea. In fact, concentrating too hard or spending so much time on a single task can lead to boredom, frustration, or even a loss of concentration. If you’re going for quality, try limiting your intense work periods to 20 minutes. During that 20 minutes, turn off any and all distractions (including your phone) and hone in on the task at hand. Once your time is up, give yourself a 5-10 minute break to let your mind recover and prepare for the next round.

2.   Cross it Off

Having a to-do list is a must during freshman year. With so much to keep track of, you’ll want to ensure you stay on top of every homework assignment and every meeting. Plus, with managing your dorm on top of your academic work, you may find yourself bogged down. However, when you can write down your actionable list, you can start to put the pieces together. The best way to write a to-do list is to first write everything you can think of down first with its due date on it. Then, order the due dates from soonest to latest (or rolling). Your new list should start with everything due immediately, then add in the most important or time consuming agenda items followed by those that can be left until the end.

3.   Utilize Technology

When you tote around a laptop or tablet to class, you’ll want your time management helpers in one, easy to access place. Sites like Google and applications like Do It (Tomorrow) give you everything you need at the touch of a finger. Try online calendars, documents you can collaborate on with friends, and weekly planner apps to see what works for your routines.

4.   Keep the Big Picture in Mind

It’s easy to get stuck on the day-to-day, but sometimes having the overall goal in mind can keep you motivated. For example, if you must pass your history class to be accepted into your major program, remind yourself of that frequently. If your goal is to stay in shape during the winter semester, try making an inspiration or vision board that you can hang over your desk or on a wall. Knowing that all of the little things you do will add up and enable you to make the right choices throughout the school year.

5.   Study with Friends

Many college professors encourage students to team up and conquer the subject. Study groups make the extra effort more enjoyable and many report being able to memorize data faster when they are in the company of others.

6.   Make it a Habit

Researchers say that it takes 21 consistent days to make something a habit. That could be working out at the student gym, practicing an instrument, studying for a class, or having homework time. Keep that in mind whenever you are starting a new routine. It will get easier and it will seem just part of your natural habits when you do it long enough.

7.   Find the Perfect Work Space

Where you work makes a huge difference in how much gets accomplished. Find a space that is well lit (preferably with natural light), is quiet, and has comfortable seating. Studying outdoors is a great option, but be sure that you can actually get work done.

8.   Reward Yourself

Successfully navigating your freshman year requires dedication and hard work. By starting a good study and work routine, while seeking out study groups, work spaces, and schedules that work for you; you can rock your first semester of school. Once your exams are up or you have passed that test, don’t be afraid to let your hair down and enjoy a little treat. After all, developing time management skills that work for you is always something to celebrate.

How do you plan to manage your precious time this year? Let us know in the comments!

Ways to Bond with Your New Roommate

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Living with a complete stranger can be a challenge, especially when you first move in. Getting to know them, understanding their likes and dislikes, and forming trust require time and attention on both your parts. If you’re ready to build that bond with your new roommate, here are ideas that will break the ice and get the conversation going.

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1.   Plan Regular Lunch Dates

Nothing connects people better than a meal. Planning to meet up for lunch or heading down to breakfast together can be a great way to chat. Take advantage of your dining hall options on campus.

2.   Make a Roommate Agreement

The Roommate Agreement is a pre-emptive strike against issues that may come. For example, if you two agree on no overnight guests, having the rules in handy will help you when a situation or disagreement arises. Sitting down and talking about what you want out of your roommate can be a powerful tool to discuss your habits and even find some common ground.

3.   DIY Together

Building something together creates a sense of accomplishment. It shows that working in tandem, you can create something special or unique. Try your hand at making motivational wall art posters or little DIYs such as Mason jar drinks.

4.   Combine Your Styles

You probably brought to school your own bedding in your favorite colors, along with your own décor items. While a space can look awesome with two personalities, combining both your styles can help you get creative.

5.   Throw a Party

Hosting a get-together among mutual friends cannot only bring you and your roommate together, but it can also bridge the gaps between your friends and hers. Parties are fun place to let loose, shake off the week, and bring a little fun into your lives.

6.   Start a Routine

Do you love starting the day with a good morning run? How about watching your favorite television show on Sunday evening? Whatever your particular routine, share it with your roommate. Develop a routine that engages both of you to find common interests.

7.   Explore Campus

A new environment like a college campus is just dying to be explored. Why not bring along your roommate while you go hunt down hot spots to hang around? Make it a mission to find the best ice cream shop in town or the comfiest couch at the student lounge. In the end, both of you chose to attend your school for a reason. Using that as a foundation allows other doors to open.

How will you bond with your new roommate this year? Let us know in the comments!

College 101: Debunking the College Packing List

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Packing for college can be hard, stressful and completely overwhelming. So what do most of us do? We find a premade college checklist that says “this is the stuff you NEED”, and I’m here to tell you how it really is. We’re going to debunk that college packing list so you know EXACTLY what you need.

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1. First things first, once you pick your housing, find out the layout. Most school’s ResLife sites have layouts (with dimensions) of all their different room types. Knowing the layout and size of your room is going to make narrowing down what you need so much easier.

2. Furnished or unfurnished? Most freshman dorms, actually most on-campus living arrangements, come fully furnished. Find out things like what size bed you get (usually an extra long twin), what’s the closet situation, what pieces of furniture are provided and what kind of appliances are allowed.

I picked up an Oklahoma State packing list from Bed, Bath & Beyond so I can pick on my own school. Let’s get to debunking.

One thing I’ve noticed on many “must bring” lists is pieces of furniture. Now I don’t know what every college’s dorms look like, but in my experience you barely have enough room for the pieces they provide you with! So forget about the night stand, bulky floor lamp, extra chairs, etc.

But don’t forget about storage. Finding nifty ways to store things like kitchen utensils, school supplies, accessories and extra little bits are key! Under bed storage, floor storage in your closet space and drawer organization are all great things to remember when packing.

So there you go! If you’re feeling a little worrisome about packing up for the big move get online and find yourself a list and get to debunking!!

Have any tips I missed? Let me know!!

xoxo, emily

Check out OCM’s own packing list here!

Important College Safety Tips for Freshman Year

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Your freshman year will be one of the most exciting years of your life. But while your focus may be how to decorate your dorm room or what classes to take, you should also consider how best to live safely. College campuses aren’t immune to safety issues. These tips can help keep you safe and boost your confidence when you’re out and about on campus.

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1.   Know Your Campus

Before you set foot onto campus for the first time, be sure you know your surroundings. It’s especially important to know how to get to key places such as your dorm, classroom buildings, the student lounge, and the cafeteria. Note safety features like emergency phones and lights along our routes.

2.   Utilize Campus Police

If you haven’t already, sign up for text or email alerts about safety issues. Campus police will let you know of any suspicious behavior and inform you of natural disasters. They can also provide safety options such as rides after dark, a place to report crimes, and certain emergency services.

3.   Pair Up

There is power and safety in numbers. Traveling with a group is essential if you are heading somewhere new or going off-campus after dark. If you are at an off-campus activity, designate whom you will be leaving with in advance so you can work out when the best time is to leave or a backup plan in case your partner goes ahead.

4.   Stay Alert

Your phone is a fun distraction, but it can also be a huge safety issue. When walking alone, put your phone away and keep your eyes straight ahead. You’re less likely to be a target if you look like you are traveling with a purpose.

5.   Lock it Down

A dorm room may feel safe and inviting, and you want to keep your door open to visitors. But when you leave, always make sure your door is locked. Add an extra layer of security by getting smaller locks for your laptop, backpack, and other valuable items.

6.   Keep Your Contacts Up to Date

Make sure somebody knows what your plans are. If you’re out on a date, check in with a roommate. If you’re going to an off-campus location, mention it to your friend. Give them details such as a person or two that will be there and the location. If you are nervous about your surroundings, coordinate with your friends to send an all-okay or danger text in case you need backup.

7.   Report It

You are responsible for keeping your school safe for everyone. And that responsibility means reporting suspicious activity. No one wants to be the person to tell, but that person roaming the halls should be checked out if you don’t recognize them. And a lone backpack is not a typical thing to see on campus. Other things to give campus security a heads up on are unsafe conditions such as a slippery sidewalk or a downed light.

8.   Trust Your Gut

Your instinct is what matters most. If something seems wrong, it is often because it is. Don’t hesitate to get yourself out of a situation or to ask a friend or campus security for help. Know your campus, your whereabouts, and your defense tactics. By taking extra precautions, you can stay safe all school year round.

Will you be taking these tips into account this school year? Let us know!