two roommates getting to know each other

Preparing for Your Transition Into College

Like most incoming freshmen, I’ve been thinking about move-in day all summer—usually with excitement, but also with a fair amount of anxiety. My summer has been all about preparing for this day. From dorm shopping to brushing up on important “adulting” skills, I’d thought about pretty much every aspect of my transition into college, but as move-in day grew closer, I needed to put all those thoughts into action. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all this final preparation, but I’ve found a couple of ways to eliminate the stress of packing and prepare for a smooth transition once move-in day rolls around.

Pack in shifts.

Trust me when I say that postponing all your packing until the night before you leave is an easy recipe for instant stress. I’ve found that packing a few things each day has been a good strategy. I organized all my bedding one day, packed up some pictures and posters to hang up the next day, and started narrowing down which clothes I would bring the following day. Doing a little bit of packing each day and then enjoying some downtime has helped me immensely with avoiding the stress of packing up everything in a rush and worrying about forgetting something.

Make lists of everything you need.

You probably have a pretty good idea of what essential things you’re bringing to your dorm, but there are so many little things to keep track of that it can be easy to forget something. I made lists of everything I already had that I wanted to bring and things I still needed to buy. These included big items like bedding and clothes hangers, but also all the little things like band-aids, cold medicine, paper towels, and so on. Making lists as you think of things that you need to remember will help make your packing process smoother and more organized. It will also help ensure that you don’t forget anything.

Start getting into your school sleep schedule.

After a jam-packed senior year of high school, I really enjoyed the opportunity to sleep in over the summer (often to the early hours of the afternoon). However, I got so accustomed to staying up late and sleeping in even later that my sleep schedule was not at all conducive to what my college schedule would be. At least a week before move-in, start setting your alarm to the time you’ll have to wake up for classes so that you’ll start off on the right foot. This will help make your transition into college so much easier because you won’t be completely exhausted when you wake up early on that first day of class.

Brush up on those “adult” skills.

Let’s face it: When it comes to “adulting,” a lot of us are in unfamiliar territory. From doing laundry to making actual phone calls, there are many intimidating adult things that you might not have experience in. Personally, I asked my parents to give me laundry lessons the week before I left. This helped me realize that not all adult tasks are as intimidating as they first appear.

Spend time with family and friends.

While preparing for move-in day is important, it will also sneak up on you incredibly fast, so make sure you carve out plenty of time to make memories with friends and family. Do all the things you want to do and make as many memories as you can. That way, when move-in day rolls around, you’ll have had a great summer with great friends behind you and will be ready to take on your college adventure.



Class of 2023
I'm a Civil and Environmental Engineering major in the Grainger College of Engineering, and I hope to one day work to lessen society's impact on the environment. I am a major nerd, have a passion for all things outdoors, and love exploring all the different opportunities that the University of Illinois has to offer!

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