If you’ve been feeling similar to how I felt last summer, you’ve been anxiously awaiting the arrival of your housing email for months. Good news: that day is finally, finally here! You’ll be moving into the dorms in a month and a half — 46 days — and we are so, so, SO excited for you to be on campus as the Hope College Class of 2018.
As you may begin to coordinate items and decorations for your room, it’s important to keep in mind that the space you’ll be living in lends a lifestyle that very few of us are used to — especially if you have not spent much time in a college dormitory — and because of this, there are some large items (such as a fridge, couch, or TV) you should consider sharing with your roommate if you choose to have them. My roommate brought a couch and I brought a fridge last year, and it worked out great to share the two items based on the amount of space and setup of our room.
Depending on your dorm, you may decide it isn’t necessary to bring a couch or TV (I will admit, it’s almost critical to have a small fridge in your room). Examples: Dykstra is set up in clusters and has a nice community space in the middle of each cluster; therefore, you will not need a couch. Kollen has an air-conditioned lounge with a nice TV, providing a space for you to watch TV in that location instead.
While there are items that you are able to share within your community, there are also items that you’ll want for yourself.
Here’s are three items I couldn’t live without my freshman year:
1. Bunk Bed Shelf. It’s a shelf that attaches to the side of your loft so that you will be able to keep small items near you while you sleep. I used my phone as my alarm clock, and this shelf provided me with a way to charge it throughout the night & also keep it near me as I sleep (and hit the snooze button a few times without having to get out of bed!) It was also the perfect spot for my glasses (because I’m super blind without them) and my Jesus Calling devotional, too.
2. Eye Mask for Sleeping. There will be nights where your roommate (or you) will be up late studying. Wearing this mask blocks out light to enable you to have a good night’s rest or daytime nap regardless of bright lights in the room.
3. Extension Cords and Power Strips. LOTS OF THEM.
There are also good ways to pack and bad ways to pack (I found this out the hard way as the oldest child). Here are three ways to pack up your belongings to make unpacking easier:
1. Keep as many clothes on hangers as possible pre-move in. You can definitely pack them in suitcases, but keep each item on a hanger as often as possible. Another way to consider packing is to place them in garbage bags (in a similar way to how dry cleaning places put your clothes in plastic). This way, you’ll be able make the transfer of clothes into your closet simple and quick, as well as ensure that you have enough hangers for all of your clothes.
2. Organize your items into different boxes based on their typical placement in a house. Identifying items such as “desk,” “food,” “clothing,” etc. to keep everything organized during move-in. If possible, numbering your boxes is helpful as well – during the commotion of move-in, you’ll be able to make sure you have every box you arrived with to campus.
3. Bring as much as you can, and decide what you really need as you unpack. Coming from Iowa, I over-packed my suitcases and boxes on purpose. Then, as I unpacked little by little during Orientation, I was able to send my parents home with things that I decided I didn’t need. Rule of thumb: Don’t be afraid to bring more the first time moving in. You’ll find out what you need vs. don’t need very quickly.
If you have any questions or would like more insight of the “ins-and-outs” of living the dorm life, follow me on Twitter @hopesophie17, send me a Facebook message, or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Can’t wait to see you on campus!