dorm living

Summer Before College: What To Do Now

June 19, 2014 in Academics, Campus Life, Colleges, Top 10 Lists


College Is Just Around The Corner

College Is Just Around The Corner

So you’re all done with high school and you’ve reached the summer before your freshman year of college. Congratulation! You’ve picked a college and now you’re feeling restless, excited, and probably a bit lost. What do you do now? Well, first of all, know that this is not the time to sit around and do absolutely nothing. Keep in mind that a lot needs to be done before you take the plunge into college life. Here are the top ten things that you need to do to prepare for your first year:

1. Summer Reading. You may not want to hear it, but quite a few colleges around the country have mandatory summer reading for freshman. Look up whether your school is one of them. In some cases, your school, itself, might not have mandatory summer reading, but a program you’re in might.

2. Contact Your Roommate. Find out who’s bringing what. Reach out to chat and get to know each other. As soon as you get your roommate assignment, shoot them an email, text, or message on Facebook. This is your chance to work some things out with them before you actually meet them. And, besides, you’re probably dying to know as much about them as possible.

3. Shop For Your Dorm. Dorm shopping can be an exciting yet time-consuming endeavor. Start as early as possible to make things easier on yourself. Determine what you’ll need as soon as you get to college and figure out what you can hold off on until you get there. Some stores allow you to order things at one outlet and pick it up at another outlet. If you’re moving things across the country or not everything will fit in your car, definitely take advantage of this.

4. Pack. Not many people actually enjoy packing. Start packing a few weeks before Move-In day to save yourself the frustration that comes with last minute packing. And definitely pack light! Generally speaking, dorm rooms aren’t that big. If everything you have won’t fit in your car, you definitely need to re-evaluate.

5. Attend Orientation. Orientation is hit or miss in some ways. Some people walk out of Orientation thinking that, aside from picking classes, they wasted their time. But Orientation is important because you get to see campus again (or for the first time if you haven’t visited) and you meet a bunch of people. Also, Orientation is mandatory at many colleges.

6. Handle All Paperwork. Make sure your school has all of your necessary documentation. Make sure you’ve made all payments on time. These are a few major things that, if not taken care of on time, can cause major problems down the road. In some cases, you can lose your spot in the classes you’re registered for if you don’t take care of all of your paperwork.

7. Look Up Classes. Speaking of picking classes, it might be a good idea to go to your school’s website and read about the classes you’re going to take. At some schools, students are seeded into classes. Even if you can’t pick your own classes yet, it’s still a good idea to look them up and think about your strategy for textbook shopping.

8. Work On Your Resume. It’s never too early to work on this. And, even if you don’t have a lot of work experience or any at all, it doesn’t hurt to get started drafting one. Start with a very basic outline at the very least. It’ll save you some time in the long run.

9. Learn The Basics. Learn how to do your own laundry if you don’t know how to do it already. If you have a kitchen and have decided against getting a meal plan, learn how to cook the basics. Learn how to manage your finances. All of these things will help you tremendously throughout your first year of college.

10. Relax! Above all else, relax and enjoy your summer. Oh, and get as much sleep as possible!

Tales from the Dorm: That Time I Lived in the Money Pit

September 21, 2013 in Alive Campus, Campus Life, Reviews

I am not opposed to dorm living by any means. In fact, I highly encourage it. Being in the middle of the excitement by living in the dorms is one of the coolest things about college life. That being said, I do have a series of…stories…from sophomore year.

Sophomore year, two of my friends and I decided we wanted to live in a triple together. Unfortunately for us, we didn’t know that there was a special, separate form that needed to be filled out for those interested in group housing. So we couldn’t get a normal triple on our campus. Long story short, over the summer we applied for a triple in a satellite housing option. We eventually received notice that we would be living in a suite-style triple in a building on a neighboring school’s campus that used to be a hotel . How exciting! How lavish! An old, elegant hotel!

A hotel from the 1700s maybe. Move-in day was just the beginning of our, erm, adventures in Peabody Hall. There was an hour wait for those move-in laundry basket things, so my family and I opted to just carry everything up the stairs. To the fifth floor. Now the staircases were not like normal staircases. They were teeny tiny narrow staircases that led to teeny tiny narrow hallways.

The room itself was fairly spacious, and it had carpeting which was kind of cool. But there were also three of us living in the room. But on the first day, we dubbed the room “Peabody State Penitentiary.” Everything was gray and drab and plain. The beds we were given were incredibly close to the ground, and basically had no real frame. They weren’t normal dorm beds that could be lifted for extra storage space. The three of us all eventually bought bed risers and I honestly can’t remember where we kept all our stuff before the risers. The chest of drawers were bulky and tall, so they took up a ton of space, but the drawers themselves were also the tiniest drawers I’d ever seen. We called them our “baby drawers.” They were where we kept our bibs and our onesies, of course.

Now this dorm building was very close to our own campus. Distance wasn’t the issue. The issue was crossing Brookline. Brookline Avenue gets a lot of traffic, especially during school and work hours. If you timed it right, you could dash across right away, and you’d maybe need to dodge the cars from one side of traffic and you’d be good. Other times, you had to wait, and wait, and wait, until there was a break in traffic. I jaywalked a lot. Don’t repeat that.

After we were mostly settled and moved in we started to hang up Christmas lights in our effort to liven up the drab interior of the room. I had moved my baby bed along one of the windows and I was stringing some of our lights above the window. It was hot out so we had the windows open. As I was hanging up one section of the lights, my foot lightly tapped the window screen. When I say lightly, I mean it. I’m not David Beckham here. That light little kick sent the screen cascading down from the fifth floor into the fenced-off dumpster area below. It couldn’t have been firmly in place to begin with, but I guess my foot lightly touching it was the extra push it needed. So we lived the academic year without a screen in that window. The window shades frequently fell down as well.

Oh what happy times in the money pit

Oh what happy times in the money pit

When winter came around, the three of us weren’t too enthusiastic about having to cross Brookline in the slush and snow. But at least we had a nice, warm room, right? So, no one told us there was a temperature control knobby thing alongside one of the walls. Here we were, totally oblivious–”Why is our room so cold?” The three of us were wearing multiple sweatshirts, we were swaddling ourselves in blankets, one of my roomies wore her Uggs to bed! We finally asked our RA if there was something wrong with our room. He nonchalantly told us of the magic temperature knob. It took us a little while to locate it–it was hidden behind my baby drawers. Another fun winter anecdote; one day I woke up to find snow on the windowsill–INSIDE the room. The windows were closed. Closed as far as they could go, apparently.

I could seriously write a book about all of our experiences from that year. The three of us are living together again this year, in a sprawling triple, right on campus. If the three of us made it through that year, I think it’s safe to say we are compatible roommates.