Struggles of Moving (Back) to College

The chaos that was my first year dorm room in college.
The chaos that was my first year dorm room in college. | Source

Summer flew by quicker than you ever thought possible, and you find yourself facing the reality that is: you're moving. It could be that intimidating, what-do-I-bring, first time move to college, where you're expected to fit the majority of your belongings into a tiny jail-like room, or perhaps a slightly bigger room that you need to share with someone else (most likely a stranger). Or, you could be like me, and you've just moved away from the hustle and bustle of campus life into your first leased apartment, where you have to fend entirely for yourself (Cooking? What's that?), and fret about making that ten minute walk to class on time through whatever horrible weather the world decides to throw at you (Rubber boots, go!)

Either way, moving is stressful. You're drowning in lists of stuff you don't want to forget and trying to make everything fit into boxes and fit those boxes into your parent's average-sized vehicle. You may have even considered renting a U-haul. You want to rip your hair out and have probably argued with those around you more than a handful of times. But remember, you're only there for eight months, you don't need to bring everything. Or maybe you do. I don't know. I know my biggest issue are clothes, I have more clothes than I know what to do with. I'm also a shoe addict, so it makes choosing what to bring with me a very difficult choice. I know first year I made the mistake of thinking I needed to bring everything, and had the tiny room in the picture above. Yikes!

Here are some common struggles that anyone can relate to who has moved to college.

My fourth year apartment, off campus, is a little more accommodating, but the move was still not stress-free.
My fourth year apartment, off campus, is a little more accommodating, but the move was still not stress-free. | Source

The Struggles

  • Lists - Lists everywhere! One you typed up, the other you chicken-scratched on a sticky-note. List of things you need to pack. Scratching off the things you have packed. List of things you need to buy. Did you forget something? Check the list. Forgot to scratch it off, well now you have two of those things. Awesome.
  • Needing something after you've packed it - You knew you were wanting that sweater for move day. Now which box did you put it in? The rampant search for said packed item usually results in you partially unpacking what you've already packed. One step forward, two steps back. Sigh.
  • Being depressed over how fast the summer went by - It was just July, wasn't it? Now it's the first week of September, you're moving and starting school? What happened?
  • Heavy stuff - You managed to fit all of your shoes into one tote! Success! But now, that tote weighs fifty pounds. The mini fridge that was recommended you get also isn't light. Even better? You find out you live on the top floor and there's no elevator (this happened to me. It was not fun). Fantastic.
  • Deciding what to unpack first - So many choices, so little time. And usually, you're so exhausted from the move you don't even feel like unpacking anything. Suggestion? Bed sheets and pillow. Take a nap.
  • Your whole family comes along to help - Sure, the extra hands are great. But when you've got all your stuff crammed into your room and need to unpack, plus your Mom, Dad, sister and brother, awkwardly wondering how they can help and where they can stand or sit? Good luck with that.
  • The weather doesn't cooperate - It's sunny and thirty degrees, and you're worried you're going to die of heatstroke. Or maybe, it's raining cats and dogs and you're rushing to avoid getting yourself and all your belongings soaked.
  • Being cheered on by over-enthusiastic Orientation Day staff - You're just trying to unpack your car and you're being mobbed by screaming, chanting, upper year students in bright colors and face paint who clearly OD'd on caffeine that morning. Shut up and offer to help, maybe.
  • Crowded hallways and congested stairwells - A hundred people are trying to move into the same building as you, the same time as you, and have just as much stuff as you do. Headache much?
  • Your roommate is moving in at the exact same time - Picture above, only one of those families you ran into are going to the exact same room number. Hey, meet your roommate, and their family! And they're probably as stressed out and tired as you are. Have a nice year!
  • Trying to fit all your clothes into a ridiculously small closet - You realize you brought way too many clothes when you see the size of your terribly small closet. Usually this is the case with traditional style residences. If you're lucky you may get a few drawers too.
  • Forgetting something essential - Like a pillow. Or a toothbrush. Something that you either have to organize to have sent to you ASAP or you need to make a mad rush to the nearest congested Walmart to buy, which is conveniently filled with other college students who forgot shit, just like you did.
  • Having class begin the very next day - So you've just said goodbye to your parents and are left with a cluttered room that needs unpacking. Also, you have your first class at 9:15 the next day. Now which box did you pack your notebook and pens in? Have fun!

Helpful Tips

Pace yourself - Don't feel like you have to move in and get settled all at once. Especially if you have class the next day. Unpack the necessities and leave the rest for when you have time. Or, if your move in date is several days, or sometimes months (depending on if you're leasing) before school starts, take advantage of it! Move in gradually. It'll save yourself some stress.

Make lists and check them thrice - You may feel a bit crazy, but it doesn't hurt to double or triple check the lists that you made. It keeps you on track and eases your chances of you forgetting anything important.

Mark your boxes - Make a note of what stuff is in what box. It'll make it easier when you're unpacking or if you need something you packed before it's moving time.

Get to know your roommate(s) beforehand - Try to make contact with who'll you'll be living with for the next eight months, if you don't know them already. Nothing creepy about that.


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