Category Archives: Residence Life

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

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