For incoming freshmen, college Move-In Day can be a whirlwind of emotions. Packing all your belongings in the car, saying goodbye to your family while also preparing to meet your roommate and other soon-to-be friends for the first time can be nerve-racking.
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While there’s no question the day will be busy and hectic, here are several tips to prepare you mentally and physically for the move, and ensure your first memories on campus will set the tone for the next four years in a positive way.
1. Know where to go.
“Know where you’ll be living, both the building and room number and pay attention to where students are to pick up their keys and complete paperwork,” said Heidi LeCount, director of residence life at Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C. “First year students at Meredith check in at the first floor parlor of their residence hall, but this is different at all colleges. Be sure to double-check in your orientation packet before you arrive.”
2. Plan what to bring.
“Make a checklist for packing so you don’t forget things or over pack, and remember you are moving from a home to a residence hall,” said Steve Anderson, associate dean of students and director of residence life at the University of Pittsburgh. “If you do forget something, it will be ok. I promise.”
3. Have plenty to eat and drink.
“Eat a good breakfast. In the rush, it can be easy to skip over the meal, but moving in is a big process that takes a lot of energy,” LeCount added. “Also, drink plenty of water. It’s always hot during move-in days. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink water. You’ll already be on the verge of dehydration.
4. Coordinate with your roommate.
“Communication between roommates is crucial to ensure that duplicate items are not brought,” said Beth Hill, senior associate director of residence life at Western New England University in Springfield, Mass. “Also, talk about arriving at the same time so you can decide on a room setup together, prior to moving all the items in.”
5. Go with the flow.
“Orientation schedules are carefully crafted to provide you with a balance of highly engaging sessions and free time to reflect and connect with other new students,” said Michael Diesner, director of residential life at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, Pa. “Take a breather if you need to but stick to the schedule and soak in as much of the experience as possible. You won’t need to remember everything you hear, but you will end orientation with a better feeling of the campus and who you can turn to when you face inevitable hurdles.”
6. Understand you’re not alone.
“Give yourself a chance to really immerse yourself in the new experience, meeting new people and gathering new information,” said Charles Colby, associate vice president of student affairs and enrollment management at Mansfield University in Mansfield, Pa. “Smile often and broadly to relax you and the people with whom you interact and recognize all your new acquaintances are going through the same process.”
7. Stay off your smart phone.
“Your parents and friends from high school will miss you but it is crucial for you to invest in your new community,” Diesner added. “Your phone may provide an easy escape during awkward social moments but keep your chin up and continue to get to know your peers and let them know you. These are the people who will be there for the ups and downs of your college experience.”
8. You’re the most important part of the move-in process.
“At the end of the day, I think it is not about what you bring in terms of stuff but it is about what you bring in terms of who you are,” said Gina-Lyn Crance, vice president for student affairs and dean of students at Albright College in Reading, Pa. “The move in and orientation is a wonderful opportunity to learn new things and set the foundation for a great four year experience. Embracing that opportunity and allowing for all the possibilities will surely lead to success socially, academically and emotionally.”