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October 31, 2005

DIY: Moving to a New Place? - How to Move from Home to College

Today's "How to" article courtesy of English-blog contributor Kelsey L.:

Packing for College

Packing is a process most of us probably do not enjoy. It can become very stressful, especially if it is a big move. One example of this type of move that many of us make is the move from home to a college dorm room or apartment. Packing for this move is something that should be started long before the departure date. A lot of the time, necessities that we do not think of due to the limited time and pressure to be packed in time for departure are left behind. Many incoming freshmen would most likely be grateful to have directions on what to pack and when to start packing. One of the best sources this information could come from would be someone who has experienced moving into dormitories or an apartment before. The process described below will hopefully be of much help to anyone who is lost when it comes to packing for his or her first semester at college . . .

. . . One of the most important things involved in packing to move into a dorm or apartment is communication. For obvious reasons, such a limited space and the fact that it is not essential to have multiples of the same items because things will be shared, consultation with your future roommate or roommates is necessary. Before the process of packing even begins, contact between roommates should occur. The contact should be made at least a few months in advance so that if large items, such as televisions, microwaves, refrigerators, furniture or other things need to be purchased, there is adequate time to buy them. Once what everyone is bringing has been established, the process can begin.

Packing can be time consuming and tedious. For this reason, many times, people procrastinate too long and then become overwhelmed and forget things. Once everyone knows what he or she is bringing, the second step in packing for college is list making. Allowing adequate time to thoroughly think-over what is needed and making lists weeks, and even months, in advance can be extremely beneficial. No one should ever begin packing for college without composing at least some form of a list.
There are many things that someone who is new to college life many not think of packing, however, these things can be essential. Asking an older friend or sibling who has already experienced his or her first semester at college what will be needed can be very valuable. Also, some websites have helpful checklists for people moving into dorms and apartments. Organization and preparation are two of the major keys to successful packing.

Once lists of what will be needed are complete, products, which have to be purchased, such as linens, toiletries, nonperishable foods, cleaning supplies, school supplies and other items, should be bought. This should take place about a month before the departure date so that all products are still in stock at the stores. Because so many people are leaving for college at once, and they all need similar supplies, the stores sell-out of these products much more quickly than they would any other time of the year. After the trip to the store has been made, the cleaning items, toiletries, and anything else that was purchased, should be placed somewhere out of the way until closer to the leaving date.

Some things will have to be put off until closer to the departure. For example, the purchasing of perishable foods, packing clothing that is still being worn, and the packing of other things that are still being used. A packer’s worst nightmare is realizing that they need to unpack to find something that was packed too early. Some items, in fact, cannot be packed until the day of departure. Cell phone chargers, toothbrushes, certain toiletries, computers, and several other things will be used up until the last day. Planning ahead as far as to when everything needs to be packed, and which things can be packed before other things is vital. This will save a lot of time in the long run.

About two or three weeks in advance, the actual packing should begin. In order to not be rushed while packing, the process should be started well ahead of time. Not a lot needs to be done each day. The idea is to do a little packing at a time as to not become overwhelmed. The things that were previously purchased can start to be organized. It can be helpful to classify them into groups such as: food, laundry items, toiletries, bedding, and other similar groups. Then, making a checklist, or inventory, to make sure that everything that was purchased actually makes it to school can be useful. This list can be used right before departure to make sure everything is there, and also, while composing the list, things that are missing and still need to be purchased will be noticed. In the beginning of the packing process, clothing that is out of season can also be packed, as it will probably not be needed for a few months. The further in advance packing is started, the better. The further ahead of time packing is started, the less stressful the final week before departure will be.

In the final week or so before leaving, clothing that is in season should start to be packed, perishable foods should be purchased, and any last minute runs to the store should be made. As stated before, some things will not be able to be packed until the day of departure. A list of these items should be made, so that none of them are left behind. These items are generally of great importance and are used very often, therefore, leaving them behind could be very inconvenient and cause much more unnecessary stress. After all, freshmen are already under a lot of stress, the stress of starting college, leaving home, saying goodbye to friends and family, and anything else that may be happening.

Though packing is not something that is often thought of as a fun activity, it can be made much less stressful by adhering to a few simple suggestions. Some people do not plan well and no matter how far ahead of time they start packing, they forget vital things due to disorganization. Other people are just disordered, which is the death of them when trying to pack for college. Both of these problems are easily preventable. If a few extra minutes are put into the packing process, the end result will be much more successful. Most people will have to pack at some point in their lives, and for many people, one of the first large moves will be college, so after reading this, hopefully new college freshmen will be at least slightly less lost, at least when it comes to packing for college.

~Kelsey L.

Comments for Kelsey's article "Packing for College?" Please leave them below:

Posted by lhobbs at October 31, 2005 02:36 PM

Readers' Comments:

Kelsey's "How to Move From Home to College" was a well written article on the tidious event of making the big move to college. It is intended to reach the audience of high school seniors that are about to become freshmen. It covers everything from early planning to the big day itself.

I fully agree with her that communication is the most important part of packing. You must communicate to your roomates about who has what, and what is still needed. It is not stated, but I think equal division of purchased items should be set so one person doesn't have to spend a fortune.

I don't find the suggestion of finding someone who is an experienced packer neccessary. Sure help is always a plus, but not always needed. I feel if you have a good list of everything, you can pack just fine.

I do agree with her that planning is a major help. Waiting to get food, soap, and other bathroom utilities is a good suggestion. The packing of clothes should be done at least a couple days before the move. There is nothing worse then realizing you have no warm clothes for the winter and have to beg your parents to bring them.

"How to Move From Home to College" is a helpful article for upcoming freshmen. It was good suggestions about planning and communication. I am fortunate enough to be from the town my college is in. If I forget items, its not a big deal. Kelsey's article will help out of towners avoid the dreaded realization that they forgot things, and parents should thank her for saving them the trip.

Brendan L

Posted by: Brendan L at April 10, 2006 12:43 PM

Leaving my Life to become a Memory

The hardest adjustment to make when going away to college is accepting the fact that you won’t see your family and friends anymore. Having the opportunity of seeing and speaking to friends and family your entire life is a gift that many of us take for granted. When I moved away from home, there was a steady point of withdraw I suffered. It was even harder for me to accept that their lives continued without me in it. When I go home to visit I realize all the important aspects of their lives that I wasn’t apart of. From leaving your friends and family, not being apart of their new lives, and starting an entirely new life myself; I have conquered one of the hardest adjustments in life.

I had three days left until I moved out, and I had not even begun to pack. The idea of leaving my friends and family was becoming emotionally overwhelming. In my mind there was no way I could say goodbye to the people I saw everyday. It was hard to get motivated, but I knew there was no way I could stay home and not go to college. Although I regretted my decision to go to school far away, there was no turning back; I had to pack all my belongings up.

I found it very hard to actually say good bye to my friends before leaving. It is something that I never thought I would have to do. Tell someone you see everyday that the next time we meet will probably be months from now. One of the hardest goodbyes was to my best friend throughout all of high school. We were inseparable: we had the same job, went to the same school, and hung out with the same friends. I made it easy on myself and her to just keep it short and sweet. We hugged, exchanged goodbye presents, and promised each other we would keep in touch. I returned to my home where I very begrudgingly packed my bags. In between tears and panic attacks, I told my mom I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it on my own. She told me to toughen up, and that it would be easier than I thought. It only made the feeling worse because, I didn’t want to have to make new friends. I liked the ones I had, and no one could replace them.
It was finally the day to leave home, and I still had to say goodbye to my family. I found it especially hard to say goodbye to my younger brother. I knew how hard it was to live with our parents, and I felt bad that he was going to have to bear the brunt of it.

As happy as I was to get away from my parents, I knew I would miss them. They were always there for me, whenever I needed them. My parents have a way of always knowing when I’m feeling down. They would try to help me with my situations by pinpointing exactly what was bothering me. One scenario I had was when I was entirely way too stressed out from school; I was feeling like I would never catch up with my school work. My parents saw that something was wrong, and tried to help me. Together we came up with a plan of how to get all my work accomplished. It was going to be hard for me to move so far away from their guidance. I knew they were right when they said I would be fine moving, so I had to believe them.

After moving into my new dorm room and watching my parents drive away, I realized how alone I was. I tried to walk around campus, but I was afraid I would get lost. I felt like I was going to live through my college years like a loner. I was unsure about talking to people; afraid they would take me the wrong way and think I was annoying and strange. My roommate took me to a welcome back party held at the Hub. The whole time I was there, I hardly opened my mouth. I decided it would be better for me to go back to my room and go to bed. The next day I got up the courage to call my friend from orientation. Lucky for me, she remembered me and we decided to meet for lunch. Within the next couple of weeks, we were able to meet people together and go out and have fun. Before long I had developed very close relationships with a couple of girls. We all were able to have fun with each other while feeling comfortable. It is surprising how my life seemed to blossom as soon as I came to school. I went through so much change within a couple of weeks, its even hard for me now to picture my old life.

Of course there are those moments when I feel home sick. I normally spend half a day on the phone catching up with all my friends at home. It was hard for me to go home and visit my old life, because of all the changes that had happened. I saw that my brother was doing just fine living with my parents, and my friends were finding new friends just like I had. I felt like my position at home was no longer there, and now that I had returned there was nowhere for me to fit. All the changes that had taken place in their lives, I had not been apart of. A bunch of small occurrences can add up into a huge difference. For instance, the best friend I had a hard time saying goodbye to would be moving into an apartment. I was happy for her of course, but I wanted to be the one she was moving with. We always talked about getting an apartment together, and it upset me to see her moving without me. Everything was different, even I had changed, and as much as I wanted to hang onto my old life, it just didn’t exist anymore.

“Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken." (Frank Herbert) Moving away to college has crucially impacted my life. I have spent this time realizing who I am, without the pressure of my friends and family. It was difficult saying goodbye to everyone and starting from scratch somewhere new. Now that I have said goodbye, started a new life, and adjusted to the changes at home, I know that I can get by without living at home. It was hard at first, but my life has only changed for the better.

~Samantha V.

Posted by: Samantha V. at April 20, 2006 10:37 PM

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