Many of our students are heading off to the USA to start their freshman year. So we thought it is important to provide them with some tips on what to pack, what to expect when moving into a dorm, will there be enough storage space and a whole bunch of other important aspects that you should know before embarking on your journey.
It can be quite daunting when packing for college, where you pack your entire life into two suitcases. When it comes to your dorm life, keep in mind that you’re moving into a small room with very little storage space and you will most likely be sharing with another person, so it is important to take only the things that are necessary.
Tips when Packing:
- Clothes: If you are going as an athlete, you will receive lots of university team gear. Do not over pack on the athletic ware as you will receive lots when you arrive. Take only the necessities.
- Bed linen: There are fantastic stores such as Walmart and Target that sell linen, and the prices are extremely affordable. Therefore, do not waste space by packing towels and linen, rather get it when you arrive.
- Toiletries: Just like linen, you can get all your toiletries in the USA. Take only the essentials and get everything else when you arrive.
- Seasons: Think about where you will be situated, If you are going to a warm area of the country, there is no need to take heaps of winter gear. The same goes for a colder climate, do not pack excessive summer clothes for a cold environment. Remember the seasons are the opposite when travelling to the States from South Africa.
You are not allowed to cook in the dorms as all freshman eat in the food halls, but sometimes freshman get small bar fridges and microwaves in their rooms. If a small fridge and microwave is something you would want, contact your college and see if one will be provided, if not, speak to your roommate before arriving and see if they would like to split the price and share. Sometimes your roommate will already have these things. These items are not necessary, but it is nice to be able to store fresh milk, juice and snacks in your room.
Once you are in the States, settled and your freshman year ends, there comes the problem that you will not want to take all your belongings back home with you, only to return it after the summer break. You have two options here, 1) You can rent a storage unit for three-months 2) Ask your friends who are staying through the summer if you can store your belongings at their place. This saves money and there are always people hanging around for the summer.
Make sure that you do not pay full prices for textbooks. You can find them online or at a local second-hand book store for much cheaper and make sure you sell them back after the semester ends. If you want to save money, you can rent textbooks for the semester, just make sure that you look after them.
Other Cool Tips:
Be sure to listen during orientation, speak to your student advisor about setting up a bank account, use your student discount wherever you can, join groups and clubs during the first few weeks, grab all the free stuff that is handed out on campus and purchase some wheels to get around. By wheels, I mean a skateboard or a bike, as this will save you time. Most bike stores let you sell the bike back to them when you leave, so you can get some cash back, which is always a plus for students.
Remember that all freshmen are in the same boat. You are all new, nervous and excited. Make the most of every opportunity, meet as many new people as you can and allow yourself to enjoy the experience.
Have a safe journey and all the best!