Tips and tricks for life on campus

Beginning college can be stressful, especially for students moving away from home and into their own space for the first time. But, with a bit of preparation, college move-in day can be fairly stress-free, and turning a dorm room into their own space can be fun!

Here are some tips to help incoming students feel more prepared for their college experience – from packing and moving in to creating their new home and dealing with challenges.    

Take some time to prepare for the big move

Packing for college can be a bit overwhelming. For many students, this is the first time moving away from home, and determining what should and shouldn’t be packed can be daunting.  The first tip is to remember that there is no need to bring every article of clothing you own. A great way to know what to pack is to ask your roommates, teammates, or other college-bound friends what they are taking to school and update your list as needed. 

If you can, coordinate with your roommates to decide who will bring shared items, such as a broom and dustpan, kitchen utensils, glasses, plates, pots and pans, etc. This will ensure you and your roommates have everything you need without bringing duplicate items.

When deciding on what items of clothing to bring, pack for the current season and swap out clothes when you visit home. If you are traveling to Davenport from another state, be sure to do some research, so you know what to expect from Michigan’s seasons and plan accordingly. 

Pack like a pro

The first thing you’ll want to do is get yourself organized and then start packing early. A great way to get organized is to pack similar items together and label the box. For example, pack all bathroom items together, including toiletries and decor, and mark the box “bathroom.” Knowing exactly what is in each box and what zone they go in will drastically reduce the time it takes to unpack and get your room in order. 

Another great tip is to keep your clothes on the hangers and cover them in a trash bag. This will allow you to quickly move your clothes from your car to your dorm while ensuring they stay clean and orderly.

Keep in mind that many stores around campus will most likely be running low on school supplies and dorm essentials by the time you arrive, so it might be a good idea to buy most of what you need before move-in day and make a list of items you need to buy when you arrive at school. 

Here are some additional tips from BestCollege to help your move go a bit smoother this fall:

  • Pack two sets of sheets for the correct size bed (the housing department should provide this information).
  • Have oversized items delivered curbside. 
  • Make sure you can fit all your belongings in your dorm room before your parents leave and ask them to take any unnecessary items home. 

Make sure to arrive on time and bring help

If your school provides a move-in time, plan accordingly, and don’t be late! 

You’ll want to move your belongings from your car to your dorm or apartment in as few trips as possible, so try to bring some help. Whether it’s your parents, siblings, grandparents, or a friend, having that support and an extra set of hands will be extremely helpful. 

Make the space feel like home

Once you’re fully moved in, decorate and organize your room. This will help you feel comfortable and ready to start the new school year.

Decorating your dorm room will help make your space feel more homey and less dormy. Incorporating photos of friends, family and pets will make your space a comfortable oasis, especially after a long day of classes. 

Another way you can make your dorm room feel more inviting is to organize as many areas as possible. This might take some time, but it will make your room look nicer and help you fit more into your limited space. Key areas include under-bed storage, desk storage and closet storage. 

Looking for inspiration? Here are a few examples of decorated and well-organized dorm rooms:


Adjusting to campus life

Once you’re all moved in, it’s time to familiarize yourself with campus and your new surroundings. 

According to Joe Bishop, Executive Director of Campus Life, there are many areas of campus to explore and many opportunities to connect with other students. The best way to get to know your suitemates and other students is by joining together to eat, attend campus events and do homework. 

“This is your new home, and there are plenty of things to see and do outside your suite,” Bishop said. “We want you to feel as comfortable outside your suite as you do in it.”

Darrin Oliver, lead counselor at the Campus Wellness Center, agrees. He encourages students to become engaged with classes, roommates, and on-campus events.

“Freshman year is a time of self-discovery, but it will also have ups and downs,” said Oliver.  He wants students to know that it is natural to have times of stress, anxiety and even sadness during freshman year.  

“During these times, reach out for support rather than isolating your feelings and yourself,” Oliver said.  “Your professors, coaches, the Center for Learning and Engagement and the Davenport  Wellness Center are here to support you, so seek help when needed!”      


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