New freshmen will be moving into my college this week, and I can't help but think back to my own move in day two years ago. I remember sweating as I carried my belongings to my new room, football players I didn't know helping unload our car, and feeling bad about how much stuff I brought compared to my roommate who had packed lighting. But most of all I was nervous because I had no idea what to expect.
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I spent the summer before college literally counting down the days until move in day. I had been waiting for it since we had taken my older brother to college three years earlier. But a few days before I was supposed to leave, I started wondering if I was really going to go through with it. I started thinking maybe it would be easier to just live with my parents, help with the family business and keep living in my childhood bedroom.
The a night before we were planning to leave to take me to college, I asked my brother if I could take my double bed with me. I was joking, but I really did wish I could keep my comfortable and roomy bed. He told me, “if you can manage to fit it in your car, I'll find a way to fit it in your dorm.” Of course, my bed was never going to fit in my Chevy Malibu, no matter how much I wanted to keep it.
Move in day is sad, scary and exciting. You are going to leave your parents and your home, your comfortable bed and the town you know like the back of your hand. But you'll learn to love your roommates and dorm room, and you'll even start to feel at home in that college-issued twin bed (although I suggest you buy a memory foam mattress pad). First, though, you have to get through move in day and new student week, and based on my personal experiences, here are my suggestions for that.
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Let your mom makes your bed. Let your dad help you rearrange your furniture. Try not to pull them away when they try to talk to your roommate or their parents. They are annoying because they care, and they are going to miss you. Regardless of how much you think you aren't going to miss them, you will. At least a little bit, at least sometimes. So this one time, maybe for the last time, let them help.
Go to as many New Student Week events as you can. As an introvert who gets exhausted from being around people for too long, I understand how difficult this can be, but I promise you things will slow down once classes start. New Student Week is made to help you meet people and make friends and start to feel at home on campus. Skipping these events when all your peers go to them, even if you think you're an adult now and can do whatever you want, can make it difficult to find a group of friends to call your own.
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If you want to rush a fraternity or sorority, do it. Even if you are not thinking about joining, rush gives you the opportunity to meet upperclassmen who will be a good resource to you throughout your time in college. This advice is coming to you from an independent who skipped recruitment and regretted it when all her friends knew people she didn't. I am perfectly happy being an independent, but having that early opportunity to meet other students would have been helpful in the long run.
The most important advice I can give you is to keep an open mind about having new experiences. When I went to summer registration before classes started, none of the other students talked to me, and I was terrified I wouldn't make friends in college. However, I went to Welcome Week events and talked to my suite mates, and now I have more friends and know more people than I ever expected. These next few weeks can be so exciting if you are willing to let them be.
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