You've planned and prepped for college the last semester of senior year by not sleeping around the clock, being mindful of what you eat, being physically fit, and practicing time management. Once the graduation checks have been cashed, the roses dry up, and the balloons have deflated, the time has come to focus on what it takes to get to college.
How to Prepare
To help you get prepared, make a college checklist of several different categories that will help you decide what you really need, and what will go untouched if you bring it to school. It's also important to lay down some dorm room essential guidelines with your roommate, as well.
Now, you need to save money.
Good planning can save you a lot of money without breaking your bank account. Try buying items over the course of several months or a whole year. This way you can watch for sales and get the best deal on the items you'll need when you get to college. Simply create a staging area in your home and organize your items for the big move. A closet or the corner of your bedroom will do fine for this staging area. You may not need to buy everything yourself since some people might give you things from your list as graduation presents.
As an extra tip: A great way to share what you need is to create an online wishlist and check things off as you get them. This list can be updated regularly and shared with friends and family that are planning to get you a graduation gift.
The Best Ways to Get Your Stuff to College
While you're looking through sale ads, it's important to think about how you'll transport these items. If you're attending a school in your home town, then you can probably move everything with a truck or trailer. However, if your college is across the country or around the globe, it's often easier to bring cash and buy what you need when you arrive. The point here is to be careful you don't over pack.
After you've moved to college and lived in your new home for a week or two, you'll have a better understanding of what you still need. At that time, you can make another trip so you can purchase the last few essential items that you'll need.
With an eye to packing light, it's a good idea not to take items you're not going to use. As you're preparing for the big move, think critically about each item you're packing. If you haven't used it in a year or more, you might want to take this opportunity to sell or donate items before you move. This will help you declutter your closet and make packing easier. Remember that storage space in college housing is very limited. Also, it's likely that you'll want to buy some new things when you arrive. Getting rid of the things you're not using now will make room for the new things you'll want later.
How to Say Goodbye
When you're leaving for college, it can be difficult to say goodbye to friends and family. Often, saying goodbye to mom is the most difficult. Ensure you're connecting with friends and family on social media networks. Sharing status updates on Facebook and Twitter can help fill the gap in daily communication. Additionally, scheduling regular times to video chat can provide face-to-face communication when your college is some distance from home. Plan to set up and test these systems before you move away, so everyone is comfortable with the technology. There's no easy way to say goodbye, but it's nice to know you'll see each other soon, even if it's just video chat.
Joseph Barnes is a freelance writer and high school art teacher who lives in New Mexico.