College Housing: A Freshman Tutorial

Making the move from your parent’s house to the college dorm room is a huge step. There are many things to take into consideration before packing up all your earthly belongings and heading off to school. Without proper planning this experience can be a nightmare. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare for your big move.

– Who is your roommate? The school’s Housing department should supply you with this information sometime over the summer. They should send you your roommate’s contact information and let you know what dorm you will be living in. They also usually give you a room number. This would be a good time to get in touch with your future roommate. If they did not supply you with a phone number, but they do give you a snail mail address, send them a letter with your phone number and e-mail address so you two can get in contact.

– What are the dimensions of your dorm room? Once you know what building you
are living in, be sure to find out how big your room will be. How much space will you have? Are your beds bunkable? What is the layout of the room? Do you have a closet provided? Is there a kitchenette in your building? Where are the laundry facilities? How much stuff will you actually have room for? Will you have your own bathroom, will you share it with the suite next door, or will you share a community bathroom with the whole floor? These are all things you need to keep in mind before you make your big move. If this information is not supplied for you, contact the Housing Office.

– Who is bringing what? Once you have touched base with your roommate, it is a good idea to hammer out who is bringing what items. You do not want to show up on move in day and discover you have two TVs, no fridge, two microwaves and no other furniture. Make a list of all the items you will need. Remember to think of all the day to day items you take for granted. During my first week of my freshman year, my roommate and discovered we did not have a can opener or a saucepan. First go through the list and check off things you already have. You probably received a bunch of dorm room supplies at your graduation party, plus there may be a few things you already have. Your sister may have kept her cub fridge from when she was in college. Your parents may have an extra TV they do not want anymore. If both of you have an item, do you really need two? If not, who is going to bring the item? Once you have gone through the list to determine what you have, then go through the list and see what still needs to be purchased. Divide the remaining items up. If you cannot think of a list, be sure to contact your college’s house office. They should have a preliminary list they can send you.

– Know the housing rules that are in place. In the first week of class, they will go over the basic rules with you. However, it is better to know some of them before you even move in. Many of these rules are outlines in your Housing Agreement. You should still have a copy of that. If the rules are not list, or you cannot find your agreement, you can always contact the college for another list. Most residence halls do not allow candles to be burned. They also do no want residence to have toasters or any other open heat source. They mayt have rules against space heaters. Most colleges have strict policies on pets. You may think you are bringing your pet parakeet with you. Your roommate may even be totally cool with it. However, if only tropical fish are allowed Tweety is staying at home. Know the rules and regulations before you start packing.

Once again, if all else fails, contact the Housing Office. They are there to offer support and guidance to all of their residents. They have a great deal of material they can send to you. If they do no personally know the answer, they can find someone who can. Look on your college’s web site for the housing department. There should be contact information listed there. If you look around the department’s website, you may find the answers to some of your questions with out having to ask anyone.

Moving into your dorm freshman year should be an exciting experience. It shouldn’t be stressful and overwhelming. Avoid some these common pitfalls, and you should make the transition smoothly.

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