Moving In College Kinda Sucks… Here’s How To Make It Better
When you’re in college, you move around a lot. Whether you live on campus your first year, or you live in an apartment, or even a few apartments as the years go on, moving is all a part of the process. I’ve done it all. In my four years living in a college town, I’ve lived on campus, off-campus, with friends, with my boyfriend, with random roommates and so much more. I’ve done it all and I have all of the tips ready to go for you, whether it’s a packing list or how to integrate with your brand new roommates.
When it comes to packing, I know it seems like you’ll need every single pair of pants you own, all of your technology, all of your decoration, basically all of your everything… but the truth is, you probably won’t have room for it. If you’re living on campus in a dorm, you definitely won’t have room for all of your belongings. If you’re lucky and can leave some stuff at home with your parents, do! If you can’t, then be picky and donate a bunch of your stuff. Dorms are the size of a closet most of the time, and you often have to share your space with another person. You won’t have room for everything, in fact, bring less than you think you will need. Target runs are fun.
On top of that, check your school’s policies. Sometimes, you can’t bring certain items like toasters, candles, halogen lamps, hot plates, space heaters, certain pets, incense, and other things. Make sure you’re not bringing any school contraband with you.
I’ve had my fair share of great and horrible roommates. I’ve also been assigned random roommates before and have chosen to live with people I knew. If I’m being honest, the random roommates I’ve been assigned to have been AWESOME. I was introduced to some people I never would have met before. I’ve also had a major falling out with a best friend because we were roommates, so I’ve had my ups and downs. When it comes to roommates there is one thing I recommend.
As absolutely cheesy as it sounds, WRITE UP A ROOMMATE AGREEMENT. Whether you don’t know your new roommate or you’ve known them for seven years (like me and my best friend), you need to have set policies down on paper. I know. I sound like a dorm RA, but it’s true. I was a mentor on campus for three years (aka a built-in friend who helped new transfer students learn the ropes) and the #1 issue for students was always their roommate.
When you take the time to discuss your set rules and policies, you build a connection with your roommate and you make it impossible for them to step all over you. When do you normally like to go to sleep? Do you listen to music loud? Do you wake up early? Are you clean or does your space tend to be a little messy? Are you OK with guests over? Are you OK with people sleeping over? These are important things to discuss, and I promise you they WILL come up later. Your roommate will start dating someone and they’ll practically start living with you and not paying for anything, or they will leave their dishes in the sink for three weeks straight. These are things you WILL have to face and you can face them earlier and easier if you have a roommate agreement.
If you’re wondering where you should live, I have some thoughts for you. When it comes to bang for your buck, living on campus is an absolute scam. You will be paying thousands of dollars to share a tiny space with probably someone you’ve never even met. Most of the time, you don’t even have your own bathroom and will need to saunter down the hall with your toiletries to a disgusting smelly communal bathroom that has hair stuck in the drain. You’ll want to be wearing flip-flops in the shower too so you don’t catch something. And while it isn’t worth your money in terms of your actual living conditions, it is worth it if you’re looking to have the classic “college experience.”
Looking back at your time in college, most people remember their first randomized roommate, their dorm hall that was loud and crazy, the parties you got invited to, the on-campus events, the gross food at the dining hall. This experience (as funky as it might be) is what you’re paying for. The awkwardness, the late nights, the study sessions, the vending machine runs. While this is all fun and games, I recommend only living on campus for one year and then moving off campus! One year is enough, I promise.
If you don’t care as much about the “classic college experience” and you’re just there to get your degree, live off campus! But, I will warn you that living off-campus can also be a major scam. In a booming college town, all of the apartment complexes around campus will be money hungry and will pray on college students. When I moved into the apartment I live in now, it was a normal apartment complex. I chose to live with my best friend and boyfriend and it was a normal lease that we’d split up on our own terms. A year later, they decided to change their business plan. Now, the apartment leases off by room, meaning that the overall price will be more expensive and they can throw random people in your living space (much like a dorm). Be on the lookout for these types of complexes because they are everywhere and they are overpriced and they often don’t care about their residents at all. All they want is your money.
This might mean that you have to live further away from campus than you would like to. The further you go, the better and more normal apartments you will find. These ones will lease normally, but that means you will have to supply your own roommates or live alone.
I hope these college moving and college packing tips have helped you! Have any other tips? Let us know in the comment section below!