When the time comes to leave home to move into a college, this can be both an exciting and frightening time for the student who has made the fateful decision to further their education. No longer experiencing the luxuries of home, you are now on your own. Although there is sure to be at least one parental figure in your life that will see to it you have your basic needs met, this is your first leap into a state of independence. Again, this is both an exciting and frightening time as you no doubt embrace the experience of freedom but at the same time wonder just how challenging will it be to keep life’s challenges at bay. When it comes to college life, it is very important to keep a sane balance between your studies, your finances, and your personal life. As scary as this may sound, if you plan ahead and make a thorough checklist before moving to college and completing it, then you have nothing to worry about.
About College Move-in Checklists
Just like a shopping list, a college move-in checklist allows the student to go over all that’s needed in order to make the most out of the experience that lies ahead. In fact, moving to a college dorm really isn’t much different than moving into your first apartment. The best way to approach making up a good college move-in checklist would be to take a good look at the home you’re about to leave. What does it have that already meets your basic needs? In your own bedroom, think about what makes it such a great room for you. From there, what study tools have you been using all along so you could enroll in college?
The Ultimate College Move-in Checklist
The college dorm you move into needs to be as comfortable for you as possible. As for the bed located in the dorm room you’re about to move into, what size is it? Once you’re in the know, then you need the right linen in order to set this bed up. Ideally, you want two full sets of linen that has a fitted sheet, a flat sheet, and at least one pillowcase. A good, comfy quilt or duvet of the right size will also be needed. Although you can get away with just one, it wouldn’t hurt to have two. This comes in handy when the nights are colder, and you need an extra blanket just to keep warm. It is also advised to look into investing in a mattress pad for added comfort.
Should you fancy the idea of doing your homework in bed, consider getting yourself a study pillow. These are immensely helpful in preventing physical discomfort, as well as fatigue. Make sure the lamp by your bed is suitable enough to let you study from the luxury of your own bed but isn’t so bright that it keeps your roommate up. On the same note, consider having for yourself a set of earplugs and an eye mask should you be the one in need of some shut-eye while your roommate stays up to study.
Speaking of studying, don’t forget to bring your computer with you. Ideally, a laptop is the best to take with you as this can go everywhere you go. Just make sure; however, you have a laptop lock so that you have some peace of mind when you need to leave it behind in your room for some reason. Also, make sure you have chargers for it and your cell phone so that both devices don’t konk out on you while you’re using either of them. Along with your laptop, be sure to have a USB flash drive or a hard drive that offers enough memory storage so you can safely file your assignments and resources. In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to get two and have them both kept as up-to-date as possible. Keeping a backup just in case is always a good idea.
Because college life is usually a busy one, keeping yourself organized with a day planner is highly advised. You can schedule and track your daily activities beyond simply using the calendar app on your cell phone or computer. There’s nothing wrong with going old-school in this regard. Also, it’s not schooling without a collection of binders, folders, notebooks, notecards, and writing utensils such as pens, pencils, and highlighters. You will definitely need these as you collect notes and handouts from some of the classes you will be attending. As for the writing tools, make sure you have backups. The last thing you need is to be jotting something down, only for the pen to give out on you unexpectedly. Because of these items, investing in a sturdy backpack or shoulder bag to carry this around will be one of the best investments you can make as you move off to college. It’s a way better alternative than carrying a stack of books in your arms that will weigh you down.
Although the college campus is known for having accessible printers on-site, it kinda sucks to wait around for one as other students are supposed to be there for the same reason you are. Having your own printer loaded with paper and ink allows you to avoid waiting around for an available printer. It also wouldn’t hurt to have one or two dry eraser boards, one for your desk to jot notes on, and one hanging off your door outside your room so somebody can leave you a message when you’re not there. Also, on your desk, a stackable desk tray will be a better alternative to keeping your papers organized than simply having them sprawled out. It also wouldn’t hurt to invest in a pair of scissors and some tape, as you will likely need these items from time to time.
In addition to making sure all your school-related needs are met as a student when going off to college, you also need to take into consideration what you need for yourself as a person. Make sure you invest in at least two bath towels, two hand towels, and two facecloths. Having at least two sets of these items ensures you always have a clean one to work with while the other sits in the laundry hamper, yet another item you should invest in for your college dorm. Yes, it wouldn’t hurt to have one of those, too. Also, make sure to have yourself a decent bathrobe and a pair of flip flops. Not every student attending college may be as clean and tidy as you, especially in the shower room that constantly has the floor walked on by wet feet.
Whenever going to the shower room, sporting your own caddy to accommodate your hygiene needs is highly advised so you can keep everything organized and make your trip between it and your room as easy as possible. Remember, you’re responsible for your own basic needs between body care, dental care, and haircare. Make sure you bring with you, and never run out of, body wash, body lotion, shampoo, conditioner, a toothbrush, floss, and toothpaste. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a set of nail clippers, a nail file, cotton swabs, and tweezers. Basically, whatever is typically in the bathroom back at home you normally use should be part of your personal hygiene collection as well. This includes the hairbrush, a hairdryer, etc.
As important as it is to keep yourself clean, the same is said for your room. Make sure you have disinfectant wipes to keep the surfaces clean and free of germs. It wouldn’t hurt to have a rechargeable hand vacuum, as well as a small garbage can and small garbage bags. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the necessity to keep both yourself and your room clean has never been as obvious as it is now. Ensuring you keep your personal space clean not only decreases your odds of getting sick but also does your roommate a bit of a favor, regardless if that person shares your same concept of clean or not. Furthermore, if you’re on medication for health-related issues, make sure you have enough with you, so you don’t run out. It’s also a good idea to invest in a personal first aid kit so you don’t need to run off to the campus health center for something you can easily treat yourself. There are also over-the-counter drug store items to consider to contend with issues such as aches, pains, and upset stomachs. If you’re into vitamins, these come in handy to keep up with nutritional needs to help keep the body healthy from the inside out.
When it comes to wardrobe management, make sure you have plenty of hangers, a drying rack, and a shoe rack. It also wouldn’t hurt to get at least one door hook so you can either hang your jacket and/or robe as opposed to just tossing it onto a chair or, worse, the floor. And, if you happen to have clothing that wrinkles easily, investing in a hand steamer will help get those out without the need to invest in an iron and board. Furthermore, not every college campus has free laundry facilities. The need to have enough spare change to feed the washing machine and dryer couldn’t possibly be stressed enough. Having stacks of spare quarters will definitely come in handy. Should you luck out and not need them for laundry, they will still come in handy for something else. Oh, and speaking of laundry, make sure you have your own detergent and dryer sheets. There are also dryer balls if you don’t care for the sheets.
Now that you’re about to move to college, there are a few items that may be considered a need or luxury, pending on your view of which is which. Having a miniature fridge to keep yourself stocked with snacks, beverages, and water bottles (or a refillable water bottle) will definitely keep your sustenance needs nice and close instead of venturing off to either find a vending machine or whatever to quickly satisfy your needs. Also, if you need the caffeine to keep yourself focused on your schoolwork, having a mini coffee maker in your room may be considered a godsend. It also wouldn’t hurt to have a shelving unit to store snacks and non-perishables and perhaps a spot to hold your personal collection of bowls, drinkware, plates, and utensils.
What’s cool about moving out on your own, even if it’s into a college dorm? The opportunity to decorate your personal space to your liking can include something as simple as photos from home. At the same time, having your own desk or floor lamp as a means to give your personal space a bit more lighting if you need it makes good practical sense. Be sure to have some spare LED lightbulbs, so you have a backup, just in case.
Some college dorm facilities have air conditioning, and some don’t. To avoid discomfort during occasions where the room may feel too warm to your liking, having a fan to keep you cool would be a good idea. Either a desk fan or a standing fan would do the trick here. Even with air conditioning, you may have a roommate that prefers to be warm and cozy while you prefer your personal space to be cooler. This particular investment ensures you are able to adjust your own environment how you see fit. A comfortable student is likely to become a more productive student, which is supposed to be the primary goal of going to college.
For students really wanting to express their own style, bringing a set of curtains, a curtain rod, an area rug, and wall art is as good of a way to do it as any. The homier you make your personal space either, the less homesick you’ll become or the more independent you’ll feel, pending on how you choose to view the experience.
Other extras to consider would be a television set, under the bed storage, extension cords, surge protectors, and perhaps even a small safe. The idea is to maximize your comfort and security levels while you live in your home away from home. You may also need to have a sewing kit around, just in case you need to tighten a button from your jacket that needs attention. Investing in an umbrella would also be wise, so you don’t wind up drenched as you rush between buildings as you attend class. Also, if you’re a fan of music, you can either invest in a pair of earbuds or a portable speaker.
How to Make College Move-in Fun
One of the easiest methods to make the move to college from home a less stressful experience is to work with your parent(s) to ensure nothing is missed before going. Between the two of you, develop a checklist as if it’s a shopping list. Some of the items on that list are likely what you have already, so they will be easy enough to check off. Whatever it is you don’t have, and you know you need, this is where you and either your parent or friend can shop together for. This can be a fun trip as you spend quality time together before you make the big move.
Should you be going to the exact same college at the exact same time as your closest friend, perhaps arrangements can be made where the two of you share the same dorm room as well. This is not unheard of, as there are college campuses that may be able to accommodate it. Should this be the case, now you and your friend are in on this big college move together. You can work off each other’s interests and needs, perhaps even making a game out of it as you two race to see who can complete their move-in checklist first.
For college students that have a healthy budget to work with, just the idea of getting as much new stuff as possible to best suit personal needs and interests is exciting enough. If cost is no object and you’re going broke, covering everything listed in the checklist boils down to a subject of taste and individual preferences. Mind you, be smart about it. What do you really need that’s practical as opposed to a luxury item that may become more of a nuisance? The one thing you don’t want to do is clutter up your dorm room so badly that you (and possibly your roommate) become stressed about it.
As for college students on a tighter budget that may not be able to afford some of the items mentioned in the checklist, put the basic needs before the luxuries; even on a budget, this can be a fun experience as you can literally make a game out of this experience by puzzling about what needs you already have covered compared to what you still need to get. Over time, you may be able to install luxury items, if that is your wish, should the opportunity come about where it can be afforded.
Regardless of your budget, the best decision you can possibly make before the move-in day would be to learn more about what exactly you’re moving to. If you’re able to view a dorm room after you’ve been accepted to college, great. If not, at least learn what the amenities are. Usually, when students shop for colleges, part of that search includes what all the available amenities in addition to the classes offered are. The more you know about the environment you’re moving to, the better off you will be to prepare your checklist before your move-in.
College Move-in Day Mistakes
As organized as you’d like to be when it comes to moving to college, one of the worst mistakes you can possibly make is to pile up a list of expectations when the big day comes. College campuses usually have schedules in place, and they do this for a reason. Make a point to find out what they are and how to follow that as close to the letter as possible. However, be prepared for variables should they come about, as that has also been known to happen. One such variable is encountering fellow students that are doing the same as you, moving away from home as they move into college. Like you, they’re probably just as nervous. Nothing eases tension and social awkwardness better than simply communicating with some of these students as you encounter them. Although COVID-19 has rules about social distancing, people are social creatures by nature, and this isn’t always something the policies set due to the pandemic takes into consideration. It’s actually healthier to be social with your fellow students, including on moving day, than it is to avoid them.
The most important person you will encounter as a college student living on campus will be your roommate. Upon moving day, the sooner the two of you break the ice and learn more about each other’s likes and dislikes, the easier it will be for the two of you to get along. Even if your personalities are vastly different, the two of you have an opportunity to use this to your benefit. This also applies to your living habits as well as no two households are exactly alike, especially if there are key differences in political, religious, and social attitudes. Should students who have vastly different opinions and lifestyle choices be stuck together in the same dorm room, the two of you need to find a way to overcome these differences as quickly as possible. Doing this on move-in day reduces the odds of two strangers becoming bitter enemies as they both carry on with their college lives.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is overpacking. Make sure whatever items you’ve packed into a bag or box is perfectly secure. Can you carry it? Odds are the night before moving day; you may have lost some sleep due to the butterflies in the stomach that had a field day with you. The last thing you want is to encounter a situation where your stuff falls out because you put too much of something into a bag or box than it could handle. If you need an extra bag or box to bring with you, so you don’t encounter an issue like this, then so be it. This also applies to your luggage, so make sure everything you brought with you from the checklist doesn’t experience transport issues simply because you tried to cram too much of something into it.
The less panicky you make this big day, the better. Being prepared in advance always helps. When vacationers are about to venture off, those who have the best experiences are the ones who plan ahead. Moving to college is just like going on vacation, albeit more like a working one. In truth, stressing out over anything is not worth it as this brings on a series of problems you don’t need. While some may think this is easier said than done, it literally boils down to attitude. People with the right attitude will know to simply breathe as they plan everything out and be prepared to expect the unexpected.
The Final Breakdown
When the time comes to move in as you head off to college, creating and following a checklist that best suits you and your needs is vital. Usually, the college campus you’re about to go to will have such a checklist for you to access, either by download or as a physical copy to take with you. If they don’t have one, they’re easy enough to find on the internet’s search engines.
If you’re concerned about anxiety issues that could dampen your move-in experience, simply talk about it to the people closest to you. Just letting it all out as you express yourself does wonder for the mind, body, and soul of a person. It’s a better alternative than keeping it all pent up inside and allowing that stress to eat away at you. You want to be as optimally prepared and rested as possible before you go, which is why the checklists are so important. This allows you to physically access what you need so you can chip away at it until the list is done.
In truth, carrying expectations with you as you make your big move is the worst mistake you can make. This doesn’t just apply to college, either. Expectation issues are often met with disappointment and are usually not handled well by people who come face to face with this reality. It is one of the biggest reasons why there are social breakdowns for a person, as well as between people. Keep this in mind when moving day comes, as you will encounter students who have expectation issues in place, as well as students who have learned to practice better judgment.
The best way to make the most out of your move-in experience is to simply breathe, prepare as needed, and remind yourself that there is a reason why you have chosen this as part of your life’s journey. Focus on the positives, not the negatives, and you will be just fine.