It’s almost August! That means that it’s just about time to pack up and head to college. No matter what year you are, there’s a lot of prep to be done before you head back to school, and if you’re a freshman, there’s a lot of planning you have to make room for.
If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed about where to start as you prep for your first year of school, don’t worry—you’re definitely not alone. Going away to college for the first time can feel like a massive, exciting undertaking, and as long as you stay organized and take one thing at a time, you’ll get through the move and preparation without a problem.
If you’re wondering where to get started, look no further. We’ve pulled together some ideas that will make some of the planning a bit easier, and get you headed in the right direction.
1. Collaborate with your roommate(s)
Whether or not you’re staying in a dorm or in an apartment, you’ll want to connect with your roommates and see what household goods and furniture everyone already has and what needs to be bought. Does someone already have a microwave they can bring? Great! Does your other roommate have a big comfy couch they want to contribute to the room? Excellent.
Figuring out what items will be shared and what each person should bring for themselves is also a smart conversation to have. Will you all be sharing one printer and contributing to purchasing the paper and ink, or will you each have a separate printer that you use? How will you divide the shelves in the refrigerator and the racks in the closet? You won’t be able to make some of these decisions until you move in and can see what the room looks like, but the more you can chat about specifics beforehand, the easier it will be to get settled after the fact.
Chatting with your roommate(s) beforehand is a good way to jumpstart your friendship and get to know each other as well. Maybe someone will share about their snoring habit ahead of time, and you’ll be able to prep with earplugs ahead of time instead of losing sleep that first night in your dorm room!
2. Keep track of paperwork
Colleges and universities do a pretty good job of informing students and their parents about what to expect and all that’s involved in checking into school and attending orientation; however, some organization is still required on your part. Make sure you’re paying attention to all the dates and deadlines listed in your packets and folders. Do you need to submit paperwork to have a car on campus by a certain date? Is your move-in day and time penciled into your planner and highlighted? Have you read the rules and regulations about what you’re allowed to bring to your dorm room and what needs to stay home?
Sure, you could rely on your parents to help you keep track of these dates and deadlines, but managing things like this is a big part of growing up. Keep everything in one central location—like a folder or file holder, and make sure to enter deadlines and dates into your calendar as soon as you find out about them.
3. Map out your schedule and tour the campus
Managing a new class schedule can feel complicated at first, and finding your classroom at 6:45am on the first day of class can be a stressful experience. To mitigate strain and tension that first day, make sure to map out your schedule and locate your classroom before the first day of school. Chances are good that you’ll move onto campus a few days before class is scheduled to begin, so you should have some time to tour the grounds and see where everything is located.
4. Steps toward independence
You’ve more than likely been relying on your parents the past eighteen years of your life, so now’s the time to learn the things you haven’t done yet. Not entirely sure how to do your laundry correctly? Ask your parents. Confused about bills and checking accounts? Time to check in with mom or dad and ask about that. Not sure how to use the city bus or make wise grocery shopping decisions? These are all things you’ll want to find out about before you head off to college.