Rising junior Cameron Childers remembers his move to Case Western Reserve University after a 24-hour drive from Texas as being both stressful and fun.
Now, as president of the Residence Hall Association, Childers wants to help ease the strain of the day for students and families. He and more than 700 other university staff members and volunteers will be on hand to provide assistance as the Class of 2021 arrives Aug. 20. (Upperclass students can begin their move-in process Wednesday, Aug. 23, albeit without the 700 volunteers.)
“We try to make it a festive environment and stress-free for the students, parents and families,” said Associate Director of University Housing Loretta Sexton. “I think they should come in anticipating it’s going to be a lot of fun and a welcoming environment and help ease their transition to college.”
Childers hopes the assistance will allow students to focus on the excitement and opportunity ahead rather than the stress of the day.
“You get to see where you’ll be living on your own as a real adult,” said Childers. “You’ll come to make great friends and love every second of living here and all of that is before you as you unpack your new room.”
We asked Childers, Sexton and members of the campus community for their best packing and move-in advice. So whether it’s your first time or your fourth, here are tips to make your day go smoothly.
1. Just pack the essentials. While it can be temping to pack everything in your room at home, pack only what you think you will need. Get a list of what you should bring.
“The biggest mistake I see is packing up your entire room from home and then adding on all the things you’ve bought,” said Childers. “Orientation week is full of free T-shirts! Plus, your room is probably smaller than the one you have at home and you don’t have need for all the clutter.”
If you end up bringing too much, there may not be enough space in your room for everything and your parents may end up taking some of it back home.
“I think it all just comes down to being realistic with what you will actually use in college,” said Erin Buttars, a rising senior and president of the Panhellenic Council. “It’s a new chapter in your life, chances are your tastes will change.”
To help determine how much space you’ll have, Childers suggested, plan out what you want your room to look like with online floor plans.
2. Pack as many items as possible in small, manageable boxes and bins.
“You’ll have to make more trips, but you’ll actually be able to lift everything and won’t tire as easily,” one campus community member said in response to our call for advice.
Buttars suggests using plastic crates for packing, as they can later be used for storage.
Loose items and bags are difficult to transport, Sexton advised.
3. Mark all items with the student’s name, building and room number.
“We have so many volunteers that help students carry their stuff to their rooms, we want to make sure it gets to the right location,” Sexton said.
And while labeling boxes, Childers suggests, meticulously mark what’s in each box “so you don’t freak out trying to find something.”
4. One key item to bring is a rug, according to Childers.
“You wouldn’t know it during move-in, but come winter, the floors get cold and it’s a bad way to wake up when your bare feet hit ice-cold tile,” he said.
5. Make sure to confer with your roommate. You won’t need two of everything, so connect with your roommate before move-in to plan out who will bring what, especially large items.
6. Plan ahead for the day’s weather. This goes for both preparing your items for potential inclement weather and in the way you dress.
Should it rain the day of move-in, you’ll want to make sure that important items have been properly rain-proofed.
If it’s hot, make sure to wear comfortable, cool clothing.
7. Stay hydrated throughout the day. The Residence Hall Association will be on hand to pass out free water bottles and talk with new students about what the organization does on campus.
8. Don’t try to loft your own bed, Childers warned. In a cramped room, this can be a difficult process. Instead, Childers suggested new students submit a maintenance request via their myHousing page to get maintenance staff to loft your bed.
9. Don’t try to unpack and organize everything right away. Throughout orientation week and the first few weeks of the year, you will have plenty of time to unpack. Instead of trying to do it all at once, take the time to get to know other students.
“All of your things will get put away eventually, but you’ll never have another first week at CWRU—one totally devoted to exploring campus and getting to know new friends,” a member of the university community said.
10. Let your family help. It’s common for parents and families to want to help their students unpack and set up their room. Though they may organize things in a way you don’t like, let them. You can always rearrange later.
“This is their last big chance to look at you in a child-like fashion where you need help doing everything,” one member of the university community said. “Let them have this one last chance to do that.”
For more information and tips for packing and move-in for new students, visit students.case.edu/housing/housing/opening/new.html.