Dorm move-in can be so overwhelming and a little scary, especially if you don’t know what to expect. This is a big moment in a new student’s life, so it’s completely normal to feel a little stressed. Not to worry, we’re here to help you out! Here are some tips every new student should know for dorm move in day.
1. Don’t pack heavy
Believe it or not, you do not need to bring all 26 of your stuffed animals to your new dorm. It can be hard to decide what is too much to bring, as most new students have never lived outside of their childhood home before. Although you’ve grown up surrounded by certain items in your own home bedroom, you don’t need to bring them all to your tiny dorm room. Trust me, you will think your dorm needs more stuff that will make it room homier. But, the truth is, you’ll never end up using them and they’ll just be taking up unnecessary space.
Think about the trip there for dorm move-in. You don’t want to have to drive multiple cars full of stuff or take a thousand trips up and down stairs or elevators just to move everything in. Bring the essentials and know that your other personal items will be at home waiting for you.
2. Start early or wait it out
Dorm move-in is a very busy day on campus. Thousands of kids will be trying to move in at the same time. It’s a good idea to start early and beat the crowd. This way, you also have the whole day to unpack, get something to eat, and spend a little time with your family and friends who helped you.
However, many other students could be thinking the same thing about an early start. I’ve seen some students wait until late afternoon or even evening time to move in and, at this point, the crowds the have died down and parents have left. Avoiding the crowds can definitely help alleviate the move-in stress.
3. Don’t bring a big crowd
I know it can be hard if you have a big family or a large group of friends who want to help you move in, especially if this is your freshman year and moving away to school is such a monumental moment. However, can you imagine if everyone did that? The elevators, stairs, hallways, and even your dorm room would be extremely crowded. Instead, try only taking one or two helpers with you, and have the rest of the group stay by the car or send them to get food or snacks.
You can always meet up with them afterward to go out to dinner and say proper goodbyes. Trust me, resident assistants and other students will thank you for keeping the crowds down.
4. Designate jobs to your helpers
It can be extremely helpful to designate jobs to everyone in your group who has come to help you move in. For example, when I moved into my dorm, my boyfriend and dad were in charge of unloading the car and carrying things to my room. My mom was unpacking all my clothes, my sister was down by the car making sure everything was organized, and I was busy decorating and organizing my room. This will not only help make the work go by quicker, but also allow everyone to feel like they are being supportive and not in the way of everything.
5. Do what you can with what you got
Some colleges will have carts and vehicles to help carry large and heavy loads to and from your dorm. However, with the busyness of the day, you might not get one of these carts right away. Don’t feel stressed, just work with what you have. Start by taking the small or light things by hand to your dorm. It’s better to slowly chip away at the unloading than to stand around waiting for a cart.
Also, if you have a cart, keep in mind other people are probably waiting for it. Be sure to take turns and go as quickly as you can so other people can use them as well.
6. Be kind to everyone
Move-in day can be kind of stressful. There’s a lot going on and everything is so new. Remember that all the other students, faculty, and even parents are feeling the same way. Be kind to everyone you meet, not just your roommate. You’ll be seeing a lot of these people on a daily basis even if you’re not living with them, and you don’t want to give people the wrong impression of you when move-in day is long passed. So, be sure to not let the stress affect how you treat others around you. Just take a deep breath, be patient, and stay positive.
7. Write down all damages
Most colleges will have you write down and note all the damages and the condition of your dorm room as you move-in. Be sure you pay attention to every detail and don’t be afraid to write down every imperfection you notice. Some students will gloss over this part because they just want to speed up the move-in process. This is a mistake because the school can charge you for it when you move out, even if you weren’t responsible for it! I’d have one of your parents or someone who has a good eye do this part.
8. Don’t forget about your roommate
During dorm move-in, things can get lost in the chaos. You don’t want to miss the opportunity to say hello to your roommate if you are moving in at the same time. Don’t get off on the wrong foot by ignoring them and only focusing on your room. It takes a few seconds to pop over and introduce yourself and offer your help.
This would also be a good time for your parents or friends to become acquainted with them. Yes, it can be a little annoying, but you know your parents just want to meet the person their child is going to be living with, so treat your parents to a quick introduction to your new roomie.
9. Thank everyone who helped you
Dorm move-in day isn’t possible without the help and support of your friends, family, and even the school staff. When you finally finish or, better yet, during your unloading and unpacking, express your gratitude to these helpers. Give your thanks to your family who did all the heavy lifting, to your friends for providing moral support, and the dorm staff for helping you adjust to dorm life and deal with all the stress and craziness of the day.
If you didn’t get any help moving in, thank yourself. It’s a struggle to move in physically and emotionally. Whether you believe it or not, you did an amazing thing. After you get everything unpacked, treat yourself to a nice meal or something!
10. It’s okay to be sad
Although it may not hit you right away, some of you are officially living away from home for the first time. Everything is new and overwhelming, and you’re going to have to learn how to be on your own. It’s okay to be sad during dorm move-in. It’s a big moment! If you feel like taking a quick break to cry, to give your family a hug or take a deep breath, do it. Also, remember that everything is going to be okay! You are a strong, independent, new student. You got this!