So it’s official, you’re going to be a Le Moyne College Dolphin! You’ve submitted your deposit, summer is already flying by, and as you meet new people, buy dorm room supplies, and give your dog lots of extra hugs, you’re probably feeling a lot of mixed emotions. Excited? Of course! Nervous… absolutely.
First off, let me start by saying that your range of emotions is totally normal. You’re likely leaving home for the first time (including your family, best friends, and comfy bed) and that can be a lot to handle! But, as a new ‘phin, you’ve already set yourself up for success by choosing a warm, welcoming place like Le Moyne. So, as you plan, pack, and prep, here are some suggestions from someone who has recently been in your shoes:
Take a deep breath! - Cheesy, I know, but sometimes you have to take a step back and relax. Getting ready to move into college can be extremely stressful, so remember to make time for yourself, enjoy your friends and family, and look forward to the bigger picture. You’re about to embark on a really exciting journey, so don’t let it be too intimidating! You’ll settle in more quickly than you’d think.
Don’t be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone - In a short time, you’ll be in a brand new place, with brand new people who know nothing about you, maybe other than the “10 facts about me” that you posted in the Facebook group. Take this as an opportunity to just be yourself and try new things. Want to change up your style? Who’s stopping you?! When you feel comfortable in your own skin, you’ll have a much easier time finding “your people.”
Remember, you’re not alone - It’s easy to feel lonely in a sea full of unfamiliar faces. Just remember, however, that everyone else is probably feeling the same way! Every freshman will sometimes be homesick, confused, and a little discouraged, but you can seek comfort in each other and talk it through. In fact, everyone on campus has been in the same position at one point or another, so there are plenty of friendly faces who can help you adjust and feel as comfortable as possible.
Don’t overpack - Before you leave for school, try to go through old clothes to clear up some unneeded space. That shirt that you haven’t worn in four years but might come in handy for something? Trust me, you’ll never wear it. Try to prioritize because dorm space is limited, but DO remember to pack these must-have things:
1. Shower shoes - because communal showers can be interesting, so better safe than sorry.
2. Good winter boots - Syracuse winters are uncharacteristically brutal. Some popular favorites like Sorel winter boots, LL Bean Boots, and Timberland work boots are durable and may even last a lifetime if cared for properly, which makes the price a little easier to swallow. Plus, there are plenty of cheaper, equally usable alternatives, especially on Amazon! (Hint: Uggs won’t cut it. Look for actual insulation!
3. Umbrella and rain jacket - More Syracuse weather, enough said. You’ll be thankful if you keep that umbrella in your backpack (like, at all times, because you never know.)
4. Extra fans for your room - Just like winters can be frigid, there are plenty of hot and humid days as well. You’ll thank yourself if you bring more than one fan to keep the air circulating! (Plus, when the heat is on in the winter, these will be super useful all over again.)
5. A good pair of headphones - Sometimes you need to shut out the world, whether for a serious study session or just to get some relaxing alone time. Also useful for watching Netflix on your laptop while your roommate is already sleeping. Score.
6. Fireproof curtains - Thanks to some RA friends of mine, I’ve learned that the concrete safety rule is “fireproof” curtains. Visit your local Target or Bed Bath and Beyond and ask a sales associate for help, or do some clever keyword searching on Amazon! Trust me, blocking the sun in the mornings is a major must.
7. Small tool box and sewing kit - You honestly never know what will fall apart, rip, or flat out break in half. Sometimes you forget that it’s your job to fix this thing now (I know I did.) So do yourself a favor, because when your favorite shirt rips, you’ll be glad you thought ahead.
8. A range of clothing options - Like we mentioned before, Syracuse weather is quite literally unpredictable (kudos to the local meteorologists for even trying.) So, if you think that you won’t need that sweater in early September, you’ll probably be wrong, and if you think you can bring your winter coat home during spring break, keep dreaming.
9. Room diffusers or plug in air fresheners - Since candles are another residence hall no-no, these things will help to keep things smelling fresh and clean, because being stuck in a room with multiple people can sometimes cause some strange, unexpected smells (TMI?)
10. Lysol wipes and a portable vacuum - Making things smell clean is just as important as actually cleaning! You’ll be surprised how quickly dust builds up, and these little guys will make the process super easy!
11. Things to make it feel like home - Whether you have a favorite stuffed animal, a nice, comfy blanket, or lots of pictures of friends and family, making your room feel warm, cozy and familiar will help during the best and worst of times. You’ll thank yourself later.
Once you get settled, you’ll learn that you brought a lot of unnecessary things (this is what breaks are for!) But, you’ll also learn that you forgot some things too, even if you thought you had it all covered. Don’t worry, though, because before you know it, you’ll not only be settled in, but you’ll be a seasoned pro. So have fun as you learn the ropes of dolphin life, and don’t forget to have some fun in the process!