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We're Moving In: Tips to Make Moving Day at College Easier

written by: RobinRaven•edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 12/7/2011

College moving day is one of the most exciting days of a young adult's life, but it also can get overwhelming. Avoid the stress by learning how to make a smooth transition. Follow these tips and tricks for an easier move-in day for both parent and student.

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    We're On the Move

    The move-in day at college can be many things, but you can avoid last minute jitters and freaking out by careful planning. For example, make a packing list at least a week in advance. If you are driving or being driven to your college dorm or apartment, you'll have much more room for your things, so you'll be able to pack a lot more. If that's the case, start packing a couple of weeks in advance. Box up things that you don't plan on using until you get to college; pack up things that you bought just for the college life. However, if you are flying, you'll need to fit everything into two to three suitcases, making sure that all the essentials come with you.

    Get plenty of sleep the night before the move-in date, leaving no work for the morning of the move. Even the car should be packed the night before. Enjoy a meal at home celebrating the accomplishment of starting college, and then get plenty of rest. Moving day is going to take a lot of energy, and you want to be at your best.

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    The Easy Way

    Look over the lay-out of where your dorm room is located to determine where you should park once you arrive at the college, if you are arriving by car. You'll still want to know if you are taking other types of transportation, so that you can let the taxi or car service know where to let you out for minimum walking distance with all that luggage. If the available school and dorm maps don't reveal the ideal place to park for unpacking, feel free to call up the school in advance or ask the Resident Assistant (R.A.) once you arrive.

    Next, you also want to look over the map of the room itself. Do you want the sun to shine on your dorm room bed in the morning? Will it bother you if a roommate has to walk through your side of the room to get out the door? Think of what side of the room would work best for you and why. Leave very early in the morning if the side of the dorm room matters to you, because the first roommate to arrive gets to pick his side of the room. That's generally accepted college knowledge.

    Once you arrive in your dorm room, unpack the biggest things first. Make the bed. Hang the posters. Set out your photographs. The sooner that your dorm room feels like a home, the more at ease you will be in unpacking and adjusting to college life.

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    How to Make a Smooth Transition

    Although it's commonly accepted that the first roommate to arrive gets their choice of the bed arrangements, you may want to extend that choice to your later arriving roommate if you truly have no preference. This act of kindness may be much appreciated by your roommate, and it also is a great way to start the roommate relationship. Don't be shy in choosing your bed, if it matters a lot to you.

    Also, be sure to unpack all of your things on the day that you move-in. Nobody wants to be surrounded by opened boxes and the mess of someone else's things. On the other hand, also offer to help your roommate unpack if they are struggling. Be slow to snap at your roommate if they lag; one of the keys to being a great roommate is balancing being considerate and putting yourself in your roommate's shoes to extend him every courtesy and also standing up for yourself and taking care of your own needs. Be as kind as possible each day thereafter to contribute to a positive college roommate relationship.

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    In Closing

    Overall, moving day will go well if you put in efforts to be both organized and considerate. Although it's a great time to start on greater freedoms and greater responsibilities as a college student, remember that this time may be difficult for parents as well. If they ask to help a lot then let them, and then be sure to express your gratitude. Listen to advice on anything from decorating the room to dealing with peer pressures. One part of being more mature is having more patience with others, especially your parents who have likely been both dreading and dreaming about this college move-in day for a long time.

    End your move-in day by making sure that you've unpacked most of your things, have called your parents or friends from home to let everyone know of your initial adventures in college and that you have had at least a brief talk with your R.A. The R.A. is going to be your ally at the dorm, and they are there for you to turn to with any concerns or problems that you have. The college attempts to make the transition as easy as possible, and your enthusiastic efforts can make it great.

    Finally, you'll want to start focusing on improving your communication skills as you adjust to college life. Learn how to improve your communication abilities on many levels now that you are a college student.