7 Things I Wish I’d Known on My First College Move-In Day

Image: Getty Images

Image: Getty Images

We’re smack dab in the middle of summer, but as July comes to a close and August quickly approaches, it’ll soon be time for college kids to head back to campus. Now, I’m a few years removed from my college days (not too many!), but there are some valuable lessons I learned outside of the classroom that still serve me well today. College was my first time living away from my parents, and every year when I moved into a new dorm, I was in a sense preparing myself for the real world. I learned how to move into a new place by experiencing 4 hectic move-in days, each a year apart. I learned a few things from each experience, and although I won’t be headed to campus this fall, hopefully they’ll serve some undergrad (or post-grad) right. Below: 7 move-in tips I wish I’d known when I was in college. 

Arrive either really early or really late in the day

For the most part, everyone moves in at the same time–the first day back on campus is always super busy with pretty much the entire student body trying to get their rooms set up. Avoid all the commotion by arriving either super early in the day (to get a head start) or much later after most people are already moved in. This way, you won’t have to deal with all the foot traffic.

Take pictures and inventory of everything in your room

Depending on the school you attend and how much they charge, colleges can make a killing off room damage fees. This is why it’s so important to document everything in every corner of your living space. Is there a weird black smudge on your wall? Take a photo. Is the drawer in one of your desks already falling apart? Get out that camera phone and snap it! One year, my alma mater tried to charge me something around $300-$500 dollars for a “missing dresser” that wasn’t even in my room in the first place. I disputed it (and won!), but it would have been a much shorter process if I’d just had pictures of everything on file. Think of it as a measure you take to protect yourself (and your bank account) from your school trying to make an extra buck at the end of the year.

Unload any and all cooling devices first

You’re bound to work up a sweat moving all your stuff into your new dorm. Unpack and set up any fans, or immediately install your AC before doing anything else. Your sweat glands will thank you. 

Have an emergency cash stash

You never know what will go wrong on move-in day, so it’s always important to have a few extra bucks lying around, just in case. I remember one year, my friends and I locked all our stuff in storage, and each of us kept the combination to our unit’s lock on our cell phones. That summer, all three of us had to replace our phones and the combination was lost. I had to call a guy to cut the lock on our unit, and that cost a lot more money than it should have. From then on, I kept a bit of money on the side to use just in case something like that happened again. It’s just a good way to be prepared for any future hiccups. 

Don’t try to be cute

Move-in day is a good opportunity to flirt with your hot dorm mates (more on that later), but it’s also not a beauty pageant. Wear clothes you can actually do some lifting in, and keep it simple: T-shirt, shorts, sneakers. No need to throw on those cute gladiator sandals for bustier blouse. Save that stuff for frat parties. You’ll look uncomfortable trying to lift heavy boxes in such inappropriate attire–and you’ll also look like you’re trying too hard. 

This is the perfect opportunity to flirt

Move-in day was always an excuse for me to chat up guys–even the ones I would normally be too shy to talk to. I would always ask my male neighbors to help me with my boxes, and they always obliged. More likely than not, if you’ve got a really heavy box, it doesn’t take much to get someone to assist with it. Men (and women!)  love to feel useful, so why not give them an opportunity to feel good about themselves? Let that muscle go to work for you. Think of it as an efficient use of time and resources…with a nice view. 

Unpack clothes first

Moving in can be messy. That’s why I always unpacked my clothes before anything else, putting them safely away in drawers and closets. That way, I didn’t have to worry about washing them if they got dusty or dirty through the process of setting up my room.