Tips for Students and What to Expect on College Move-In Day

Young woman moving in to dorm, with parents behind her.

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The excitement on a college campus during move-in day is palpable. New students are moving in, parents are trying to figure out how to help, and there are usually just enough student orientation leaders and staff members to create the perfect mixture of confusion and assistance. How can you keep yourself on track?

Know the Schedule and Stick to It

If you're moving into a campus residence hall room, you most likely have been assigned a very specific time for unloading your items. Make sure to stick with this schedule. Not only will things be easier for you during your time to unload, but they will also be easier for you for the rest of the day.

Move-in day is usually crammed full of events, meetings, and to-dos, so sticking to your assigned move-in time is of high importance. Every minute of your move-in day is scheduled for a reason: there is a lot to cover and all of it is important. Go to every event you're assigned to, be there on time, and take notes. Chances are your brain will be overloaded by the time the day is over and those notes will come in handy later.

Expect to Be Separated from Your Parents

At some point during move-in day, you actually will have to be separated from your parents. Often, however, this will happen before they officially leave campus. Your parents may have a special schedule to go to that has separate events from yours. Expect this to happen and, if need be, brace your parents for it.

Try Not to Be Alone

It's no secret that the plan for the day is to keep you from being alone. Why? Well, just imagine what move-in day would be like without all of those scheduled events. Students would be kind of lost, unsure of where to go, and would probably end up just hanging out in their new rooms—not the best way to meet a lot of people and get to know the school. So, even if you think the event after dinner sounds totally lame, go. You may not want to go, but do you want to miss out on what everyone else is doing? Keep in mind that the first few days of orientation are often when a lot of students meet each other, so it's critical to get out of your comfort zone and join the crowd—you don't want to miss out on this vital opportunity to start making new friends.

Get to Know Your Roommate

There may be a lot going on, but spending a little time getting to know your roommate—and setting up some ground rules—is also super important. You don't have to be besties with your roommate, but you should at least get to know each other a little bit on move-in day and during the rest of the orientation.

Get Some Sleep!

Chances are, move-in day—and the rest of orientation—will be one of the busiest times of your college life, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't take care of yourself a little, too. True, you will probably be up super late talking with people, reading all the material you were given, and just enjoying yourself, but remember that it's also important to get at least a little sleep so you can stay positive, healthy, and energetic over the next few days.

Know That It's OK to Feel Sad

You're in college now! Your parents have left, the day is over, and you're finally all settled down in your new bed. Some students feel overwhelmingly happy, some feel overwhelmingly sad and scared, and some students feel all of these things at the same time! Be patient with yourself and know that you are making a humongous life adjustment and that all of your emotions are totally normal. You worked hard to get where you are and, while it may be scary, it can still be fantastic at the same time. Congratulate yourself on a job well done, let yourself be sad when you need to, and get ready to start your new college life—after a good night's sleep, of course.

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Lucier, Kelci Lynn. "Tips for Students and What to Expect on College Move-In Day." ThoughtCo, Jul. 30, 2021, Lucier, Kelci Lynn. (2021, July 30). Tips for Students and What to Expect on College Move-In Day. Retrieved from Lucier, Kelci Lynn. "Tips for Students and What to Expect on College Move-In Day." ThoughtCo. (accessed March 28, 2023).

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