Tips for Moving into Dorms

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It’s coming up on that time of year again for all of you fortunate enough to still be in school. Time to pack up all of your earthly belongings, pile them into your car in some manner that completely obstructs your rear view, and make the trek back to school, the land of plentiful alcohol, late night food options, handsome men, and best girlfriends. Most schools I am familiar with require students to live in dorms for at least one year, and every year I was shocked by the same silly mistakes happening over and over. Therefore, I thought I would spread my old person alumna wisdom for those of you facing a big move in these coming weeks.

Recruit Help: As the token girl who drives a pickup in my group of friends, I cringe writing this, but it’s important. Acceptable people to ask for moving help are: immediate family, pledge sisters/other best friends, your boyfriend. Unacceptable people include: Guys you are “talking to,” girls you don’t speak to on at least a weekly basis, and anyone else who you’re not sleeping with, super super close, living with, or paying. They will probably do it, hate you for it, and avoid speaking to you in the future. Don’t be that girl. One of the virtues of college towns is the abundance of guys who can carry heavy things for a relatively small amount of money. Try asking around. If you’re paying them, they can’t bitch about it.

It’s not a one shot deal: This is a misconception I see most often with first years, who pack the entirety of their wardrobe for their move into school in the middle of August. If you live relatively close to school, you will probably be home before Thanksgiving, and if you don’t, there are a multitude of shipping options available. Just pack clothes you’ll need for the first month, and box up your winter wardrobe. You’ll thank me when you aren’t carting boxes of sweaters up an unairconditioned stairwell in a couple weeks when you won’t need them for at least a month.

You are not moving to Outer Siberia: This is an easy trap to fall into, since summer time generally means an abundance of free time to fret over packing up for school. Remember, though, that the vast majority of college campuses are located within easy driving distance of Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, CVS, Home Depot, etc. Try to just bring the things you can’t buy when you get there for the trip, and make up shopping lists rather than buying everything ahead of time. It breaks up carrying everything inside and/or upstairs and keeps space open in your car for clothes, bedding, and all those other necessities.

Talk to your roomie beforehand: If you are sharing a bedroom with another girl, make sure you talk to her beforehand, even if she’s a randomly assigned bridge troll who you really can’t imagine planning anything with. Try to divide up the communal items, (I know, brilliant and groundbreaking advice) but don’t be afraid to step in and bring more than half. Generally you take home what you bring with you, and if it’s something you will need later on anyway, it’s usually worth it to share with your roommate for a year rather than having to deal with her (inevitably bad) taste in appliances, electronics, and decorative items. You’ll set yourself up to be the controlling bitch from the get go, but if you see it headed that direction anyway, might as well.

Pack the fans and snacks last: This is another one that is all over the place, but worth repeating. Again, I can’t speak from the experience of any other school, but in my college town, student housing was very rarely air conditioned. If you have your window unit and fans on the bottom, that means you’re stuck doing the majority of the work without their benefit or flinging everything all over the parking lot in an effort to get to them. I’m going to suggest a cooler with beer, diet coke, snacks, whatever in this grouping. You’ll need the fluids, caffeine, and probably a little buzz to get through this with your sanity intact.

Your RA is going to be watching: I promise you that over the course of your time in university housing, you will break at least half the rules of conduct that you agreed to. Boys will sleep over, alcohol will be consumed, and quiet hours will be completely ignored. However, you don’t want to make a bad first impression, and most RAs/standards chairs will be floating around when everyone is moving in. Camouflage everything well, hold out for a couple days, or risk being “that girl who tried to move in with an ENTIRE CASE of beer” for the rest of the year.

Have something planned for the evening: Nothing is more frustrating than having to kick out well meaning family members who have generously helped you out all day. Family will obviously hang around to delay leaving you for however many weeks, but once everything is in place, you will want some quiet time to arrange things, hang out with your new roomie, or go get plastered. Having plans scheduled gives you a convenient reason to tell them that you hate to see them go, but just HAVE to attend whatever function. Invent one if you have to, I promise it’s a life saver.

Pack a few complete outfits in their own box: Y’all might be a lot more motivated than I am, but every year I packed all my clothes according to how I would want them in my closet, neglected to unpack them until a few days after I moved in, and had to rummage through the boxes and mess everything up in order to have something to wear in the meantime. A bag or box with some outfits and essentials will save you from having to fold and sort everything over again. If you have fall recruitment, this is extra important.

Bring presents: This might sound ridiculous, but bringing along a few batches of cookies, bottles of nice wine, silly gift items, and your stationary for thank you notes will prove to be really helpful. You’ll need a lot of these your first few days in your new place or the house, whether it’s to thank the people who helped you move or as a bribe token of appreciation to people who will influence your living situation in the upcoming year. You won’t have time to bake or hunt down gift items your first few days, so it’s best to plan on having some around just in case.

There is really no reason to buy a footlocker: If you already have one and plan on lofting your bed, then you can stick it at the end of the bed and use it as combination bottom step and storage area, but beyond that I have no idea why anyone brings the damn things to school. They take up a ton of space, they’re heavy, and you can just as easily use any number of devices which you don’t have to treat as furniture for the next year.

Disposable Silverware/Plates: I hated the bitches who left their plates in the dorm sinks as though that were an acceptable location for dish washing. If you have an actual kitchen and aren’t in the house where all of that is provided, then absolutely bring some real plates. Otherwise, just bring disposables. I’m admittedly not a terribly environmentally conscious person, but I think the minimal problem with that is outweighed by not having to wash dishes in a communal bathroom.

Most of all, don’t let all the stress of move-in week overwhelm you and keep you from the best time of the year to meet new people. As much as we love our sisters, it’s important to not be that girl who only knows girls in her own sorority. Go grab a glass of wine at happy hour with the girl from down the hall who seems like fun, play music and arrange everything how you like, and enjoy syllabus week for what is is: an entire week at school where you don’t actually have to do anything while technically still being in class

Follow me on Twitter @Sratire

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