You’ve heard it before and you will hear it again — college is a lot different than high school. As a recently graduated high school senior, though, that saying probably doesn’t mean much because, well, you haven’t been to college yet! One of the biggest differences between high school and college is your living situation. Chances are that when you’re moving to college, you will be living away from home for the first time in your life.
Packing up and moving to college can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are a few tips to help you get ready for your big transition.
1. As you’re moving to college, make a checklist of everything you need to pack.
This may seem obvious — but trust us when we say that if you don’t do this, you will forget something. The last thing you want to do is arrive at your new dorm without your pajamas or your speakers. Making a checklist can also be a helpful gauge for how much stuff you are planning on bringing. If you find that your list is slowly becoming pages long, you may want to reconsider some of what you are bringing.
2. Get to know your roommate in advance.
Don’t just message back and forth on social media! Schedule a time to hang out, or at least FaceTime, before move-in day. This will make your actual introduction less awkward and give you the chance to get a better sense of your roomie’s personality. Another bonus is that meeting up will also help you both plan out who is bringing what, so you don’t end up with two mini-fridges in your already-cramped dorm room.
3. Figure out a budgeting system that works for you.
Whether it’s keeping a list of everything you buy in a journal, or managing your spending habits on an app, it’s essential to keep track of how much you spend each month so you don’t call home for more money halfway through your first semester! You may even consider downloading the apps for whatever bank(s) you might be a part of, so you can know with the click of a button how happy your checking account is…or isn’t! Seeing the numbers in real time can be a very good reality check.
Finally, discuss your finances with your parents before you arrive on campus. Although this may be a hard conversation to have, it will help make the transition easier and more peaceful. Establishing who’s paying for what can allow you to make the most accurate budget for your semester.
4. Master some of your mom’s recipes before moving to college.
Even if your college has the world’s best cafeteria, there are going to be times when you want some good homemade food. Ask your mom to help teach you some of her recipes so that you can cook up some delicious casserole when you’ve had enough of your dining hall’s french fries and chicken tenders. This will also give you the opportunity to bond with mom before you leave the nest!
5. Postpone the visit to the store until you arrive.
Your roommate might bring a fan, a wireless router or even the latest game console, but word to the wise — don’t over-buy! Odds are your dorm room won’t have the luxury of lots of storage space, and honestly you won’t know exactly what you need until you get there. You will have plenty of time to buy all the snacks, extra pillows and picture frames you want later. Save space in your car and then reassess what else you need once you’ve moved in all of your stuff.
6. Remember to relax!
Don’t give into the stress! Yes, moving to college is a big transition, but since when did an undue amount of stress help anyone? Start your moving process early so that you can make this experience a peaceful and enjoyable one. Your first semester of college is going to be an awesome experience! Taking a little bit of time to plan ahead and be prepared will make it that much better.