Time flies. Summer has gone by quick and now it is time to start getting ready to go off to college. It wasn’t that long ago that you were a lowly freshman in high school; learning the ropes, trying to find your classes and your locker, and figuring out how you fit in to this brand new situation. Now you’ve graduated, high school is behind you, and you are about to start out once again as a freshman in a new and strange place. For some, this is an exciting prospect. For others, it may be terrifying! For most of us, it’s a little of both. Many questions are likely running through your head. What should you expect? What will your dorm be like? Will your roommate be nice and easy to get along with? What should you bring?
First you should expect that, like your freshman year in high school, it will probably take you a few weeks to familiarize yourself with the area and get accustomed to your new life as a college student. Try to relax and give yourself a break and allow yourself to be a freshman. You will get lost. You and the other freshmen will be easily recognizable on campus because you will likely have maps in your hands and a somewhat perplexed expression on your face as you begin to learn to navigate the place.
When you first get to college and get yourself settled in, take some time to explore the campus and your dorm. There will be rules for your dorm, make sure you read them and understand them. Remember your RA (Resident Assistant) is there to help you. The RA applied to that position because he or she wants to help you get settled in and happy in your new environment. Your RA is a resource that you should use! Wander around. Allow yourself to get lost and discover new places.
Most likely you will have a roommate. Many students headed to college worry that they will not get along with their roommate or that there will be potential issues or conflicts. This does not seem to be the case very often – most college roommates get along great and become good friends. Honest and open communication can prevent most conflicts before they even happen. Also, remember that this roommate is likely just for one year and if things aren’t going well, you’ll probably have the chance to make a change before the beginning of next year.
As far as what to bring with you, there are several suggested lists on the internet. Be sure to check your dorm’s rules before bringing things like microwaves, toaster ovens, coffee makers and the like, as some have fire regulations that prohibit such items. Bring mostly comfortable clothes and shoes to wear to class and a few more formal outfits for special events or interviews. Don’t forget to bring pillows, sheets, towels washcloths. You will want a shower tote and slippers to wear to and from the shower. Bring things like photos to help remind you of home. We all have tons of electronics we bring with us (laptops, cell phones, tablets, etc) – don’t forget the chargers for these! Obviously bring some school supplies (paper, pencil, notebooks) for your first few days. It may be advisable to wait to see what you will need for your classes and buy supplies then, rather than buy a bunch of supplies to bring with you that you may not need.
The most important thing you can bring with you is your humor, your patience and your sense of adventure. Yes, your first few weeks at college will likely be stressful, they will also be exciting and fun. Don’t forget to enjoy yourself!