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Boston, Massachusetts, USA - September 2, 2010 - Students and their families move into to dormitories in the West Village at Northeastern University. PHOTO: Mary Knox Merrill

Ah, move in day. One of the most exciting yet stressful days of your college career. On one hand you are managing your parents from saying or doing anything too embarrassing while simultaneously trying to make your room as much as a home as possible with limited space. It can and most likely will be a stressful process, but nothing you can’t handle. In order to make this day as seamless as possible, here are a couple tips you could possibly use.

The Process

  • Give yourself plenty of time in general so you don’t feel rushed, that’s the last thing you need as you transition into your new home. Some people check into a hotel the night before if financially possible, or just simply arrive an hour or two earlier than their move in time since those aren’t very strict.
  • Bring some tools or command strips to hang stuff up, but make sure to check your lease agreement so you don’t damage something and then have to pay for it. In my humble opinion: tape, command strips and push pins are the best options.
  • Wear casual clothing and comfortable shoes you don’t care about. You’re going to be lifting a lot of stuff and moving around a lot, so the last thing you want to do is ruin one of your favorite outfits. BTW, no one’s judging how you look, everybody is nervous just like you.
  • Plan to go to the store one more time before your parents leave. I guarantee you’re going to need paper towels, extension cords, or a better trash can. It’s just nice to have everything in order before you’re “on your own.”

Once the Parents/Guardians Leave

  • Get on good terms with your roommate(s). There is nothing wrong with having a sit-down conversation about rules and expectations. If everyone is on the same page at the very beginning, there will be less opportunities for accidental irritation.
  • Prop open your door so people feel allowed to come in and say hi. Everyone is looking for someone to hang out with on the first day, so try to assemble a little group that wants to go exploring which may mean going to some move-in day events.
  • It’s really easy to give into the feeling of just wanting to sit in your bed and watch Netflix since things are overwhelmingly new, fight that feeling and introduce yourself to people on your hall even if you really don’t want to. You will be surprised.
  • Meditate or listen to music to calm your nerves. I use the Calm app for my daily morning meditations, but they also have great 2-5 min exercises to calm anxiety and stress.

Most importantly, and I acknowledge this is cliche, have fun and try to relax. No feeling is permanent, and you’ll find your rhythm soon enough. Enjoy it, you only get to do undergrad once.