Moving out of your parents’ home is an exciting milestone. You are, perhaps for the first time, the only one responsible for you. And while this is a big step, moving into an on-campus dormitory-with or without a roommate-is a good way to start. But just like moving anywhere else, it can take a little preparation. Here are a few good tips to get you ready for your new living space.
Check Your Dorm Rules
Most dorms have all sorts of rules. You may be living in a “girls’ or boys’ only” dorm or a co-ed dorm that have regulations about visitors of the opposite gender (or visitors in general). You may not be allowed to have certain appliances in your actual room, finding that they must be kept in a separate kitchen, or that there are rules concerning how you may decorate or even plug your electronics up. Be sure to speak with your Resident Assistant about learning these rules and clarifying any that may seem unclear to you.
Dorms aren’t known for their space. And, if you are choosing to share a dorm, you’re giving up even more of it. You may be moving out, but not completely. Don’t hesitate at all to leave most of your old room intact at your parents’ house, or-if coming to a college out of your home state or country-look into renting a storage space for those larger items that you simply must have with you but don’t have the room for. Just like in a survival scenario, pack only what you need.
Get to Know Your Roommate
If you are choosing to share, you are going to find yourself in close quarters with a person that may be a virtual stranger to you. Rather than going a whole semester or year in awkwardness, why not try to strike up a conversation with your roomie, asking questions that will allow you to live easier together? Of course, try not to get too personal, as you are just meeting this person. Some dorms will even have you fill out an agreement between you and your roomie, just in case any disputes arise. In the end, if you simply cannot get along with the other person in your living space, speak to your Resident Assistant about your options.
Shop for Food that You Know You Can Make
This has many meanings. As stated above, you may not have access to certain appliances all the time. Or this may be your first time cooking for yourself. Microwave foods are seldom the healthiest ways to eat, but they may be your best bet. Also, you will probably be allowed only a mini-refrigerator, so you also want to buy foods that you know you can fit inside. If you want a bit more variety, but are pretty sure you’ll be stuck using mostly your microwave, consider this cookbook, or even this one, to aid you.
Buy Storage Containers Made for Small Spaces
A closet, a dresser, a desk, and under the bed will likely be the only places you’ll be given as storage options. You might have some built in shelving, but that is still very limiting. Buying ottomans that have storage space can be a decorative way to pack away items you need, but again have no space for or a long, flat plastic storage box that wheels away under the bed might also be the best investment you make in this situation.
Remember to Pack Personal Items, Too
More than just clothes, toiletries, and food, remember to pack things that remind you of home and of good times. Pictures in decorative frames, little nick-knacks, and posters and wall-hangings are all good examples of things that can make you feel like you are truly at home while you are away.