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As I begin prepping for my senior year of college, I remember back to the summer before my freshman year began, and how hectic it was trying to make sure I was as ready as possible for my move away from home.
This is the fourth and final time that I will have to prep for college, and now that I feel like I finally have the hang of it I want to share some tips with you in hopes that it makes your transition into college a little bit easier.
The sooner you start writing down things that you use daily/weekly, and things that you anticipate needing away at school, the better prepared you’ll be.
You can organize this whatever way works best for you, however, I like to keep one list of things that I already own that I will need to bring with me, and another list of things that I use frequently and will need to buy before I start packing. Some examples might be a television or computer (something you already own), or shampoo/conditioner or your favorite snacks (something you will need to buy).
Side note: although it can be a little pricey to buy all new items, the less half-full/half-empty bottles of product that you bring to school with you the better.
About two weeks before move-in day try to revise these lists- chances are you either won’t bring enough of something or you’ll bring waaaaay too much of something (I brought almost my entire wardrobe my freshman year).
INVEST IN PLASTIC TOTES
Plastic totes are a lot easier to pack things in, transport, and store than cardboard boxes or duffle bags, and they will probably last the entire duration of your college career so you won’t have to buy new ones.
Plus, if you get the clear ones you’ll be able to see what’s inside which makes for easier organization!
PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU WEAR
You probably won’t be given as much space as you’re used to having, especially for your clothes! You’ll most likely be given a small closet, a dresser, or a wardrobe to store your clothing in.
Pay attention to the things that you wear more often during your summer vacation and try to pack only the things that you wear the most often.
Depending on how far away from home your college is, you might be able to come home and exchange some of your clothes when you figure out exactly how much space you have (and as the seasons change).
PRACTICE DOING YOUR OWN LAUNDRY
If you’re moving far away from home you might have to start doing your own laundry, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing!
If you don’t already, start doing your own laundry at home so you know what products to use and how to use them, and what items can be washed together and what items require a little extra care.
MAP OUT ROUTES TO YOUR CLASSES
There should be a detailed map of your campus online somewhere and you’re definitely going to want to get your hands on it (and maybe make more than one copy)!
Once you’ve scheduled your classes use the map to plan out routes to and from each class. Try using one map for Monday/Wednesday/Friday and one for Tuesday/Thursday.
Then, once you’re on campus take a few minutes out of your day before classes start to walk the routes and time them, that way you’ll know how long it takes you to walk from one class to the next and avoid being late.
If on the first day of classes you’re still not sure where you’re going, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The only thing more embarrassing than admitting you’re lost or walking around with one of your maps, is being late to class… but chances are your professors will be a little more lenient during the first few classes.
CONTACT PAST/CURRENT STUDENTS
If you have any sort of questions about meal plans, housing, clubs, sports, etc. there’s no one better to ask than someone who knows first hand!
There’s probably someone in your hometown/surrounding areas that goes or has gone to your college, or maybe they know someone that does. Don’t be shy!
Do some digging on Facebook/Instagram and reach out to people… you could even end up making new friends.
I was lucky enough that someone from my hometown had been an RA in my freshman dorm building and she was able to tell me what my room would be like and answer other questions I had.
BUY/RENT YOUR TEXTBOOKS ONLINE
A lot of people like to wait until they get on campus to go to the bookstore and rent or buy all of the textbooks that they are going to need for their classes, and this can get pretty expensive. Sometimes the bookstore can run out of the textbook that you need before you can get it and you’ll have to wait for them to order another shipment.
On the other hand, some people like to wait until classes actually start to ask the professor about what textbooks they are going to need and where they can buy them during syllabus, AKA sylly, week (don’t get excited… it typically does NOT last all week). Waiting until sylly week to order your textbooks sometimes means that you’ll be waiting for them to be delivered while homework that requires the book is being assigned.
To avoid this, I prefer to rent or buy my textbooks online and send them to my school mailbox about a week before classes start.
It’s probably not the same for every school but you might be able to access a list of required textbooks on your bookstore’s website. From there you can compare how much they cost with sites like Amazon, Chegg, or Book Renter and decide if you want to rent them or buy them. It will end up saving you a ton of money.
RESEARCH THE LOCAL PHARMACIES
If you have a prescription for something that you are going to need refills for while you are at school, check to see if the same pharmacy you use is in the area.
If it is then you won’t have a problem with having your script transferred. If it isn’t you might have to wait for approval to transfer your script from your doctor/insurance/current pharmacy, etc.
Either way, it’s best to do this before school starts so that it’s one less thing that you have to worry about once you get there, and you’re not waiting on any important medications!
Image via Arianna Torres