Moving In & Welcome Weekend

Hey all,

Sorry I didn’t upload for… WOW, has it really been over a month?!  My bad…

This last month I’ve been CRAZY busy.  I actually got a freelance web design job and was doing that along with working two jobs and trying to pack for school.

Here are the biggest university-related things that have happened…

Packing was a biggie.  Move-in day was September 2nd for Transfer students.  I planned on having my dad drive his pick-up so we could fit everything in one vehicle, which we did.  Now, my dad is pretty up there (He’s 74!) but I thought just having the two of us would be fine since there would be a move-in crew helping.  Oh, except they forgot to mention that there would not be a move-in crew when it was my turn since apparently there were only 2 transfers moving in to my building.  And by the way, my building doesn’t have an elevator.  Awesome.  So needless to say (but I’ll say it anyway), I was completely sore and worn out for the rest of the weekend.

On the upside, despite the tiny-ness of my room since it’s a single, I fit everything in it and even got to return some shelving I bought since my room came with bookshelves!  I did have to buy a few more items that weekend though such as hand soap, toilet paper, dish soap, and paper towels.  It seems that most of the dorm bathrooms do not have soap dispensers or paper towels, and the toilet paper is probably the cheapest kind the school could possibly get.

So, once I was all moved in, it was time to go home, grab my car, and drive back to campus.  It was only then that I realized resident parking kind of sucks at my university.  First, you pay $500 for this “luxury” and then discover, as in my case, that the parking lot is seven blocks away.  And when I parked my car in my designated spot on Sunday, the shuttles weren’t running yet.  And yes, there are shuttles going from the main campus to the parking lots, but it only goes to mine once every half hour.  My friend’s roommate, for instance, went grocery shopping, parked in her lot, and of course had just missed the shuttle, which meant waiting at least 20 minutes for the next one.  And she had ice cream!  Poor, ice cream.  It turns out that I didn’t have enough financial aid left over to cover the parking fee, so I turned in my decal the following thursday just before heading home for the weekend (I don’t have class on Fridays).  To be honest, I don’t think I would’ve used it much, but it would’ve made getting home easier.

That whole first weekend I was on campus though, was a kind of welcoming weekend.  It’s important to know for this topic that the freshmen moved in on Thursday and transfer students moved in on Friday.  That’s it.  We were the only ones on campus until Sunday.  There were only two other people on my dorm floor, too – a freshman and my RA.  So, I didn’t actually know anyone.  This meant a lot of meals sitting alone, but that was certainly not the worst part.  The worst part of the weekend and the beginning of the semester in general was that I’m a transfer student.

During that first weekend, there were many events like workshops and trivia and karaoke and a talent show, and I was excited about all of them!  But the only workshop that wasn’t about laundry or managing money was closed due to the person being sick.  At trivia, I won $20 for answering a riddle (and I hadn’t even heard this riddle before, so I was very proud of myself!), so that was a fun event.  But the talent show was horrid.  They made it all about freshmen pride and completely ignored transfers.  And the freshmen already had like cliques and stuff from their week-long orientation over the summer, so of course the winners were freshmen and then both second and third place went to orientation leaders.  poo.  Karaoke was fun though.  And I’m pretty sure I was the only one who had actually gone to karaoke before (lol).  So, I hope they do that again 🙂

The first week went smoothly enough, with the only downfalls being a lack of money and the New Student Convocation.  This official ceremony was meant for ALL new students, but unfortunately ended up being focused on freshmen.  I think transfers were only mentioned a total of 3 times in an hour-long ceremony, and even then, it was pretty much as an after-thought.  There was nothing specific that pertains to transfers.  OH, and then they were like, you get a free t-shirt!  And I was happy cause I want to show my school pride, but then I found out that they were 2015 shirts.  >.<

Now, let me just point out that most students do not actually complete their degrees in 4 years.  It’s just a fact nowadays.  So the administration is making this huge deal about class pride, and the year of graduation isn’t even going to apply to them.  Why not instead just give them shirts that say “Freshmen, ’11” or something??  That would make more sense…

One last thing that irked me was that the freshmen got mentors.  Transfer students didn’t.  They expect me to know what all of the other upperclassmen already know, but each school is different.  I know the basics, but I could definitely use a more experienced transfer student as a guide.  I’m considering advocating for a transfer student support group or mentoring program, because we are really being left out in the cold.  And that’s with me being a resident!  I’ve spoken to commuting transfers, and they’re even more clueless.  I’m lucky in that I will ask questions, but I think a lot of students that are alone in a completely new environment may not have the courage to speak up and demand information.

Okay, I’ll probably post another update in the next day or two, I just don’t want to post a longer-than-normal entry.  🙂


Residence Life Packet

A slight delay

My wrist braceI did get my Dorm assignment on Wednesday, August 3rd… But I’ve been working extra this week while also setting up a web design job, trying to get into Pottermore, and setting up interviews for on-campus work-study job possibilities… Because of all of these things, I was not able to post in the last couple days about my packet.

Then today – pain.  My right hand/wrist (and I’m right-handed) is painful and stiff right now, so I can’t type a full post as it’s in a brace.

I hope to be able to post in the next couple of days, but If not then I’ll post about a few different topics when it feels better to make up for the time loss…

A little back story

I figure that you most be wondering why I’m just now starting to live on campus at the age of 24, so I thought a little back story was needed.

I graduated from high school in 2005.  I did take time off after high school ended to figure out what I really wanted to do, despite getting accepted to college.  I explored working full-time and the possibility of joining the armed forces.  After my dad had a heart attack (and survived) and my nephew was born, however, I decided that I did not want to be away from my family.

I started at my Community College (CC) and took a full course load of general studies classes while not having a declared major.  I loved it!  I decided I wanted to study English so that I could be an editor, so I transferred to a nearby State College.  Stupidly, I decided to go to school full-time while working the graveyard shift full-time and living in a noisy apartment building.  After a few semesters, I changed my major to Psychology after deciding English wasn’t for me.  I switched to studying part-time while still working full-time but this time as a waitress (non-graveyard shift).

In April of 2008, my brother died.  He died less than a week before finals, and I wasn’t able to finish the semester.  I later got the grade changed to a late withdrawal rather than a failing grade (due to a zero on the final).  In the months following his death, I took time to discover what I really wanted.  Life is too short to spend id doing something I don’t absolutely love.  I also didn’t think it was a wise use of my time to spend the next 10 years in school part-time just to end up with a Masters (and in psychology, you really need a doctorate).  I went back to a favorite pastime – Web and graphics design.

I transferred back to my CC to study Graphic Design, and I am so thankful that I made that change.  I started going to school full-time and really making school my top priority while only working part-time.  I even moved in with my fiance (whom I met at State College) and he offered to support me while I finish school.  After a year on the program’s wait list and two years in the program, I have my Associates degree in Applied Arts (Computer Graphic Design for Print and Internet Publishing).

I did start exploring my transfer options about a year and a half before graduating.  I joined my CC’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (an international honor society for 2-year schools) and researched schools I was interested in.  A year before graduation, I started going on campus tours and finding out about scholarships.  I ended up starting applications to 3 private schools and 2 state schools.  I only finished my application to one state school and one private school and then ruled out the others due to high tuition cost or disinterest in the campus.

Because of my involvement and officer position in Phi Theta Kappa, I was offered a $10,000 scholarship to the private school, but ultimately chose State University because of all the schools I visited, their Art faculty impressed me the most.  A lot of the private schools had condescending or rude professors at my portfolio reviews (required for Art program applicants).  I’m glad I chose State because I also heard that the private schools I had been considering have non-existent disability services offices.  As someone with test anxiety and general anxiety, that was a major item in the “Cons” column.

So now, at age 24, I am eligible for all the financial aid the Federal government has to offer which allows me to live in campus housing.  Living on campus saves time with transportation; I would’ve had an hour drive or more with rush hour traffic, and my art classes start at 8:30am (did I mention I’m not a morning person?).  It also supplies the best access to campus offerings such as the library and medical services.

This blog will allow me to share my existing knowledge about the inner workings of college administration as well as my discoveries about dorm life.  🙂

My next post will cover my dorm packet, which I am scheduled to receive this week!  🙂

Things to bring to your dorm

If you will be rooming with someone, it is a good idea to hold off on buying any of the shared items such as electronics until after you talk to your roomie.

Required things

Bedding – Call your Residence Life office to find out if the mattresses are Twin or Twin XL. Bedding includes sheets and pillowcases, comforter or quilt or duvet, a mattress pad, and a mattress topper.  I chose the memory foam type of topper, but there are others available.

Alarm Clock – So you can actually wake up on time for class. 🙂

Curtains – I’m waiting until I get to the dorms so that I can measure the window and also so that I can see if there is a curtain rod already or not.

Trash bin – unless you want to just let you trash sit on your floor… lol.

Lighting – Options include desk lamp, bedside lamp, floor lamp, etc.  Many dorms don’t have an overhead light, so it’s important to bring lighting in order to see.

Laundry stuff – Not required if you are planning to go home every weekend to do your laundry for free.  For most of us, though, laundry supplies are a necessity.  Items can include laundry bag/basket, detergent, fabric softener, dryer sheets, and a drying rack (mine is collapsible).

Hygiene products – If you don’t want your roommate requesting a room change based on your BO, these are definitely a necessity.  You should know what is needed for you to be clean (if not, let me know… we need to talk), but make sure to get a shower caddy (aka bath basket) to carry it all to the shower and then back to your dorm.

School supplies – This should be a “duh” category.  I’d wait on buying notebooks til you know what the professors suggest (i.e. lots of handouts means a folder or binder would be best).  Also, bring what you need based on your major.  For instance, I’m an Art Studio major and I will be taking drawing and graphic design classes in the Fall, so I’m bringing sketchbooks and drawing mediums as well as design reference books.  Don’t bring extra books you won’t need though.  For instance, I’m not bringing my web design books or painting supplies.

USB drives/Portable Hard drives – You’ll need somewhere to store your files.

Clothing – Unless you want to be naked, this is a top priority.  I’d base it off of your typical day on campus.  If you think you’ll be going to the gym a lot, make sure to bring lots of work out clothes.  Will you have a job on campus?  Then make sure to have appropriate clothing.  Will you be doing messy lab experiments or will you be covered in paint?  Best to bring scrub clothes.  Also, labeling is good when you plan on using the public washing machines.  My school’s Residence Life handbook has a suggested Clothing Guideline, so check with yours, too.  Also, make sure to pack weather-appropriate stuff such as rain gear and snow gear.

Fridge & microwave – Most schools won’t let you bring any other appliances into the dorms (no toasters, blenders, coffee makers), or they’ll restrict them to common areas.  A lot of the schools I’ve interacted with do offer rental fridge/microwave combinations.  In fact, for a few of the schools I visited this is either the only way you can have a microwave, or the restrictions are so tight that it’s hard to be able to purchase one that meets all the requirement.  This is especially common in more “green” schools, like my State University.

ALSO: if you will be getting a job on campus, be sure to bring the typical documentation you would need as a new hire (i.e. birth certificate, license/picture id, social security card)

Practical, but not necessary

Storage – It’s up to you as to what you think you’ll need.  I’m bringing collapsible cubic compartments so that they are adaptable to however I can fit them in my dorm whether it’s under the bed or on top of my wardrobe.  And I also got some cloth drawers to fit in the cubic shelves to keep everything from looking too cluttered.  If you plan on putting shelves under your bed, bed risers might be useful.

Food needs – This includes plates, bowls, cups, silverware, and Tupperware.  Now, if you’ll be in a suite, these get moved into the necessary area.  In a regular dorm room, I suggest having these since many students keep snack foods and drinks stocked in their fridges, and you kind of need stuff to eat on/with.  And with plates and stuff comes the need for dish soap and sponges and maybe a drying rack… so keep that in mind.

Medicines – I like to keep a collection of pain relievers, allergy medicine, and cold medicine on hand.  You won’t be able to depend on your mom to remind you to take your medicine, and many professors will deduct from your grade if you miss too many classes, so it’s best not to get sick.  Pre-emptive measures must be taken!

First Aid Kit – If you’re not a klutz, I guess it’s not necessary.  However, it is a good idea to at least bring the typical collection of band-aids, neosporin, hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol, etc.  Just make sure all the stuff in your first aid kit is not on the “Banned Items” list.

Headphones with microphone – for when you want to Skype with your family members.  It makes the transition to being away from home that much easier.

Fun Stuff

Decor – posters, photos, sentimental stuffed animals, throw pillows, etc.  An area rug will be very helpful since all the dorms that I’ve toured have had a cold, cold tile or cement floor.  Also, things that remind you of home could be good, especially if you think you’ll be homesick.

Mounting tape and adhesive hooks – Many dorms don’t allow over-the-door hooks or push pins/regular tape on the walls.  Mounting tape is your best bet for posters, and if you need a hook for stuff like jackets and towels, check with your residence Life office first to make sure they are allowed.

Electronics – Tv, DVD/Blu-Ray player, movies, gaming equipment, etc.  After all, we all need a break from school work now and then.

Camera – Trust me, you will want to document this experience.  🙂

Exercise stuff – I’m talking about yoga mats and hula hoops and jogging gear, not weights.  Your athletic center will have the heavy-duty stuff.  If they have a pool, make sure you pack a bathing suit.

Books – if you actually have time to do something other than schoolwork and feel like getting away from the computer for a while, why not read a book?  If you plan on reading leisure books, though, don’t bring your whole library.  Just bring a few select titles.  You could always go home for more.

Helpful Articles/Guides

Things to split with your roommate

Whatever you do, don’t forget the can opener!

Necessities and Prohibited dorm items

Transitioning to dorm life

Ten things to bring that you may not think of

Things to leave at home

Before the First Semester

A lot of incoming college students don’t realize how much there is to be done before they arrive. Of course, there are many more things a resident will have to do than a commuter, but everyone has their responsibilities. 

Financial Aid is a biggie. Most schools have a deadline of April 1st or earlier. Once you get your Financial Aid award letter, you’ll want to accept or decline it as soon as possible; until you do, your financial aid is not definite. In my case, I was awarded Federal Work Study.  Different schools have different policies on how to go about getting a placement.  At my old Community College, There was a paper application you had to fill out listing your skills, work experience, etc.  At the State University, though, once you are awarded Federal Work Study you gain access to the job listings on their online employment database.  Then you just submit a resume to each position that you are interested in.  I like the State way better.  🙂

There are some other forms I had to fill out as well. The medical history form was necessary in order to receive medical aid on campus.  Since I will be a resident, it was especially important.  Another important section of paperwork that I had to take care of was for Disability Services.  I have a history of general anxiety and panic attacks, and in order to receive aid on campus one needs documentation.  They gave me a great piece of information listing the facts needed, which helped me in my efforts to collect letters about my history and treatment from both my Primary Care Physician and the campus counselor at my Community College.  I applied for a medical single due to a long list of events in which things were stolen from me (even from a roommate) and the increased panic that would result from not knowing/trusting my roommate or the people they let into our room.  I will receive in-class help for my anxiety, and I am waiting to hear about my dorm assignment, but the Disability Services lady seemed optimistic that I would indeed get a single room.

State’s dorm assignments for incoming students this year are being sent out this coming week starting August 1st.  Once I get the packet I will be able to supply more information concerning what I consider the beginning of my dorm experience.  I did, however, want to point out a few things that I have already encountered.  I have already contacted the Residence Life office to make sure that the mattresses are indeed Twin XL so that I can buy the necessary bedding. 

I have also sent in my rental request for a MicroFridge unit.  My University is very green (solar panels and everything) and a MicroFridge rental unit guarantees that the resident can have a microwave and fridge. Their requirements are very strict – they require Energy Star approval and the microwave/fridge unit can only take up one plug total.  Since a unit like that would be very expensive, and since I’ll only be on campus for two years, it makes more sense financially.

Check out my next blog entry, which will feature a suggested list of items to bring with you to campus (along with some commentary by me) and sources that I found useful in compiling my list.  🙂

Change of topic

Instead of being focused on design things that I find, I’ll use this blog as a record of my adventures in the coming year.  Specifically, I’ll be writing about my preparations and experience living in a dorm room for the first time as a borderline non-traditional student.

I’ll be posting a bio post soon about my college experience thus far.  Check out the About page for a quick summation.

Hello world!

I’ll use this blog as a record of my adventures in the coming year.  Specifically, I’ll be writing about my preparations and experience living in a dorm room for the first time as a borderline non-traditional student.

I’ll be posting a bio post soon about my college experience thus far.  Check out the About page for a quick summation.

What’s with the minimalist re-designs?

Seriously… first The Gap redesigned their logo, and now Comedy Central and the USA political parties have changed theirs as well!  For some reason the current fad for these logo re-designs is a minimalistic style.

This article talks about the new Comedy Central logo and this article talks about the new logos for US political parties.

I don’t like the new designs for Comedy Central or the Democratic party, and am curious as to how long these new logos will last before their changed back.


May the Typography be with you!

Okay, this is fantastic and really put a smile on my face. The third one though is the best in my opinion! 🙂

Star Wars Characters – typography version!

These posters really make me want to experiment with what creations I can come up with solely made out of typography.  🙂