Today is the day! You are finally leaving the comfort of your own home to live in the land that is undergraduate college! Here in the dorms, you will see and do all kinds of new and strange things (that may or may not disappoint your parents) as well as learn additional life skills not taught in school.
All those legendary (or dreadful) stories you heard from your older friends may become a part of your dorm experience during your first year of undergraduate, but how can you be sure you are fully equipped for the chaos?
Below are a few tips that I believe are necessary to prepare for when moving in.
Steps to prepare for on Move-in day
1. Know what to bring and make a checklist
This step is obvious but will end up being the most time consuming and frustrating.
A) First, know what to bring
There is a difference between an item that you want to bring and an item that you need to bring. Knowing the difference between the two is the key to figuring out what is essential to pack. What I did was think hour by hour of what a typical day at home is like and noted down every action. For every action or event that I do throughout the day, there is an item that corresponds with that action or event.
An example would be:
- Action: Wake up in the morning on your bed
- Bring items: Pillow, blanket, and bedsheets
- Action: Use the bathroom
- Bring items: Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, toilet paper, etc…
Another method you can use is entering every room or opening every cabinet in your home and ask yourself, “What is this room/cabinet used for and what inside this room/cabinet is useful?”
B) Second, make a checklist.
This basic bookkeeping method will ensure that you do not forget any items.
I recommend categorizing the checklist with headings such as: “Bathroom Essentials”, “Electronics”, “School Supplies,” “Kitchenware,” and so on. That way once you start packing, your items can be placed into its individual category.
For the people who do not know where to even start, here was what I remember of my list. (Please remember that I am a male, so the list may be longer if you are a female)
- shower slippers
- long-sleeve shirts
- short-sleeve shirts
- business attire
- Laundry basket
- Laundry soap
*NOTE* Prepare for the seasonal changes. If you are fortunate enough to live close to home, you can bring the appropriate seasonal clothing and exchange them for the next season when you visit home during holidays or long breaks.
- phone charger
- laptop charger
- desk lamp
- mini fridge
*NOTE* Some items may be provided in the dorm room such as a microwave and mini fridge
- college-ruled paper
- printing paper
- simple calculator
(I was that one guy in class who always had everything)
- bowls (In case you are feeling extra fancy with your instant ramen)
- coffee mug
- refillable water bottle
- Brita water filter
*NOTE* It may not even be necessary to bring these if you have the dorm food option, but it will never hurt to bring it just in case
First Aid Kit
- rubbing alcohol
2. Pack two to three days before Move-in day
This may not apply to everyone. At least for me, because I had a checklist and was certain that I had all the essentials written down, I was able to pack last minute. I only prefer to pack a few days before, rather than a few weeks before, because I used most of the items listed on a daily basis. There would be no reason for me to constantly unpack if I still used them consistently.
3. Check the weather of Move-in day
You prepared your clothing for the next few weeks, but did you prepare for the day of? Is it going to be extremely hot on move-in day like it was mine? Good thing you checked the weather beforehand and wore shorts.
Try not to dress too fashionable today because you will be busy walking back and forth unpacking the car, and you will want to dress comfortably when doing this.
4. Double check your list
Be like Santa Claus. Double check your list to make sure you have everything included. To test your preparation, run down the day with only the items on your list. If you can survive an average day with just those items, congratulations!
5. Do not be stressed
You did everything you could to prepare for this day. You followed the advice given by your older acquaintances, your family, and even me on this website. You got this!
But even if later, you forgot to bring something or realized you did not bring enough of something else; do not stress about it. No one of your dormmates down the hall had this day perfectly planned either. Who knows, maybe you will meet a really cool friend because you mustered up the courage to ask them if they had any extra laundry dryer sheets (happened to me).
This day of all days should be a memorable and rather emotional day for both you and your family. Preparation for this day is critical but not detrimental to your success in undergraduate. You will look back on this day as your first step towards self-independence and as you progress throughout the semester; you will learn to adapt to the changes (and drama) of college.
Stay and finish strong.