Moving into your first college dorm room is a rite of passage for a lot of kids, but it can also be nerve-wracking, and not just for parents either. On top of trying to pack your entire life into a room that you’ve never even seen before, you’ll also be sharing the space with people that you probably haven’t met either.
You’ll survive. But just in case you’re a little nervous, here are a few ideas to help make move-in day a great experience.
1. Communicate With Your Roommates Ahead of Time
Most colleges allow potential roommates to contact each other before move-in day; in fact, most schools encourage that. The last thing you want to do is bring the same type of furniture that your roommate is going to bring, but it’s also a good idea to talk to them to feel more comfortable about the year. If you know you absolutely won’t be able to coexist with them, request a change with the school before you arrive.
2. Think Twice About Big Furniture
Planning on bringing a couch or a bike to school? You may have grand ambitions to bike every day from class to class, but if your school isn’t particularly large, you can probably get away with walking or taking on-campus transport. The average dorm room in America is only 114 square feet, and you probably don’t want a chunk of that taken up by a bike or piece of furniture that you never use.
3. Buy Essentials Ahead of Time
While you may not know what you will need exactly for your dorm room, it’s best to buy a few things ahead of time, such as a lamp, alarm clock, small mini-fridge, etc. (here’s a great move-in checklist). Having those things on hand not only allows you to set up your space the way you want it right off the bat, but can also save you from the inevitable crowd of people that will pile into your local store on move-in day. Buy things ahead of time and skip the lines.
4. Don’t Overpack
For many students, college move-in day is their first taste of freedom. It’s also the first time they’ll be responsible for designing their space, and though they may have the perfect idea of what they want to bring, there’s a good chance their dorm won’t hold it all. Use tools like this one to design your dorm room ahead of time to make sure that you don’t bring more than will fit in your new home.
5. Be Careful About Who You Ask to Help
Yes, your mom most likely will want to be there. Yes, she will probably cry (dad too). But those two are imperative to helping you get your life kick-started; any more people and it becomes an overcrowded mess of people trying to move in. Thank people when they offer to help, but keep your move-in day crew relatively small or consider hiring a local moving company. Also, let mom stock your refrigerator before they leave. It’ll help make her feel happy, and you’ll be thankful for it in a couple of days.