College is an exciting and eye-opening experience. In addition to new faces and places, this is the first time that many of us have the opportunity to live away from home. While this situation obviously has its perks (no curfew, ice cream for dinner, etc...), it also requires more responsibility without parents around to take care of everything. The first taste of this newfound accountability often begins with the move to school: what to take, what to leave behind, how to be prepared? Although this can be intimidating at first glance, a little preparation can make your college move a breeze.
Before even starting to prepare to move, take a moment to congratulate yourself. You made it into college! Nice work! College can be stressful at times, so be sure to enjoy your final months at home, relax and reflect.
Feel good? Ok, time to get down to business. First of all, get acquainted with your future home. If visiting campus is possible, make sure to take the tour. In addition to familiarizing yourself with the geography, take a moment to visit with current or former students to get an idea of what to expect. Check out the living situation to decide whether you feel most comfortable in a dormitory or at an off-campus apartment. Both offer certain advantages and disadvantages so weigh your options carefully. If you will not be able to make a physical visit to campus, get on your school's website and do a little investigation. Almost every site will have a page or area devoted both on and off-campus housing, but if you are having trouble finding it don't hesitate to contact the housing office a call. They will be able to provide information and may even put you in contact with a current student.
Next on your agenda is to decide how to handle the roommate situation. Most colleges allow friends to request to be roommates if they are staying in the same dorm, so if you have a friend attending the same college this can be a good option. If you don't have any friends joining you or you are feeling adventurous, you will likely enter the "potluck" system. You may be able to choose some generic personality traits, but the housing department will assign you to a shared room at their discretion. If you elect to live off-campus, finding a roommate will be different. Many schools have forums or websites to help match-up students, but you will have to take a bit more initiative. Living alone is also an option, but this tends to be more expensive and less conducive to making friends.
As you begin to pack for the move, take inventory of what you have and what you need to buy. Dorms have restrictions on some items and apartments require many more appliances, so your living choice will have a big effect on this list. Many items are difficult to move and relatively affordable, so just buying some things once you arrive at school is often easiest. Share your packing list with your roommate so that you don't double up unnecessarily and make sure all bases are covered.
Once you have your packing list set it is time to get the logistics in order. If you plan on driving and everything fits in the car, you're set. However, if the load is too large or driving is impractical, hiring college movers may be your best option. Keep in mind that most college moving occurs during the busy summer months, so if you plan on hiring a company it is best to reserve as early as possible. Either way, be sure to remember to label your boxes as you pack up.
With all preparations completed, moving day should be an easy, if somewhat emotional experience. Get some sleep if you plan on driving a long distance and make sure you don't forget your toothbrush. Once you arrive at school, get unpacked and go meet some new friends.