Think It Over: things I wish I knew before moving into a dorm/apartment

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By Annika Tomlin, College Times

Getting ready to move into your first apartment or dorm is daunting. You’re bound to forget something. Here is a list of things to know and personal anecdotes about what other people would have liked to know in the same situation.

Regardless if you are moving into an apartment or dorm, you will need to budget. It costs a significant amount to live alone and, for that matter, in a dorm. Figure out what is within your budget for your college years. The last thing you need is to be several thousand dollars in debt just from living in the dorms.

Moving into a new place will take some getting used to. Everyone feels homesick at some point. Over time it lessens. Just make sure there are reminders of home around you. That helps a bunch.

Read the lease or dorm room contract. There are things you can and can’t do in any living space. Most of the time the leasing or residence offices will offer a list of all things that are acceptable. In that document, it will also go over what is covered by a maintenance company.

Packing last minute is never a good option when moving into an entirely new place. You can pack at the last minute for a vacation, but preparing to move someplace for several months to several years is not a second thought kind of thing. Plan ahead and pack early. Don’t forget to label boxes. This will help when moving day comes so that it goes by smoothly.

Below are suggestions from folks who have moved out of their family’s home for college.

Kenzi Vetter, Murray, Kentucky:

“Make sure that you check your bathroom has an outlet so you can do your hair in your bathroom. I will always and forever check bathrooms now.”

Lynette Carrington, Phoenix:

“Always get quality bath towels and a comfy bathrobe. They are nice comforting reminders of home. Also, it’s a great idea to always have a fully stocked first-aid kit on hand in case of any minor at-home accidents or injuries.”

Greg McDowell, Germany Barracks Dorms:

“Make sure you know/ask ahead as to whether or not certain areas are communal or private.”

Miya Maltos, Peoria:

“You need to improve and practice your on-the- phone communication skills because you will be making a lot of phone calls.”

Dylan McCann, Portland, Oregon:

“I wish I knew how to stock my fridge with 5-minute meals. I also wish I knew how to discuss hard topics with roommates whose habits are different from your own: cleaning up, splitting bills, etc.”

Phoebe Wells, Tempe:

“Be very careful when you fill out your move-in forms about what kind of damage is in the room. Make sure you record all the small things because they will try to overcharge you for damages that you thought were ‘not a big deal’ upon moving in, like a scratch on the floor and charge you for it.”

Mary Clair, Brockport, New York:

“Buy a toolbox. It’s a life saver when assembling almost anything.”

Gwen Shamley, Texas A&M University, Galveston:

“1. If you’re living off campus, especially your first semester of college, see if the college has a students’ group on Facebook and ask which apartments to steer clear of and which people really enjoyed living in and why. My college had one and it was a life saver. 2. If you’re a commuter, see if the gym allows you to rent a locker. It gives you somewhere to put your things on campus other than your car. 3. Always buy a surge protector for expensive electronics. Because nasty weather causes a lot of power outages on the island, some people learned the hard way that a power surge can ruin your tech.”

Leanne Costa, Phoenix:

“If you’re living off campus, check that either your apartment complex has nighttime security or that there is a 24/7 maintenance in case you lose your key, cannot get inside, etc. Especially if you are living out of state and away from family/friends.”

Kelsey Moissonnier, Simpson College, Indianola, Iowa:

“I lived in an on-campus apartment with strangers, and I wish I knew how to communicate with others more effectively and how to share a space with someone else that is completely different than you.”

Destini Mohn, Peoria:

“I wish I knew to look at the reviews before committing to an apartment.” CT

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