Surviving the Move to College

Fall 2014 | Permalink | Category: Career

Surviving the Move 
By: Marsha Hardy Boswell RN, BSN, MSED
Housing! Packing! Registration! Books! It is enough to make you wonder if you are going to survive the move, much less college. Moving away from home and settling into a new environment takes a lot of preparation. You will be completley independent for the first time in your life. This can be intimidating, scary, and exciting at the same time. After moving over 200 miles away when I was 18 and moving to college, and moving two daughters to college, I have learned several things on the journey, and have put them together to help make your first college experience a great one. 
  • Take a health insurance card. If you do not have one, get your parents to call and order one for you. Keep this in your wallet or purse in the event of emergency. Most campuses have a student medical clinic. However, if you need medical attention in the middle of the night or weekend, then care will not be available without an insurance card. 
  • For the same reason, include any other insurance cards such as dental, eye, and perscription cards. 
  • Find a local pharmacy where you can get any perscriptions filled with your insurance. Some pharmacies do not take certain types of insurance, so you need to be prepared, or otherwise you will pay full price for the medications. Many medications are expensive, and are significantly lowered by insurance. 
  • Take a snap top container with a few common OTC (over the counter) medications that you may need if the pharmacy is closed. Common items include something for aches/fever, sinus/cold, and an upset stomach. You may also want to take a separate "first aid" kit in the form of a large zip lock bag to include muscle rub, bandages, ace wrap, heat/cold packs, antibiotic ointmont, guaze, bandage tape, and hydrogen peroxide. Be sure to check the expiration dates on the medication bottles. You will not need large boxes, just enough to get you through a mid-night crisis. 
  • Write down your emergency contact information, and keep the information in your wallet or purse. In the event of an emergency where you are unable to tell someone who to call, it is good to have that information available. 
  • If you are on any medications or have any allergies, put these items on a list as well. Again, in the event that you are unable to tell someone this information, medical personnel need to know what you are taking and your allergies in order to treat your more effectively. 
  • Avoid packing everything you know. Space is generally limited in a dorm or an apartment that is shared with others. Consider the weather for the semester and take what you need, switching your wardrobe as the weather changes. 
  • School clothing needs to be comfortable. It is easier to layer and take off clothes depending on classroom temperature. Most students wear tennis shoes or flip-flops in the summer and tennis shoes in the winter. 
  • A sturdy backpack is a must since you will need to carry books and possibly travel between building between your different classes. 
  • You may want to consider bringing an extra cell phone charger in the event that yours is misplaced or broken. 
  • Do not forget cleaning supplies (your mother will not be there with you). Basic items include clothes washing detergent, dish detergent, tub/shower cleaner, and trash bags. Since there is limited space, I recommend a multipurpose anti-bacterial cleaner that can be used on glass, wood, ceramic tile, etc. A swifter mop is easier to use than a traditional mop and bucket. 
  • If you are moving into a dorm room and need more storage space, you can buy a flat large plastic container that can fit under your bed. Also be sure to check the dorm rules as to what type of appliances you are allowed to have in the room. Usually you are allowed a small fridge, microwave, and a coffee pot. Some dorm rooms supply these appliances, so you will need to know what is your room, and what you will need. 
  • Do not forget sheets, pillows, blankets, and a favorite item from home to help decorate your new room. 

In addition to all of these items to bring, also be sure to stay busy after you move. Staying busy helps to prevent "homesickness." Visit the various buildings, learn the streets, and get involved in a campus organization or intramural sport. You may choose to pledge a fraternity or sorority as a way to meet people and be part of a group. Whatever hobby, sport, or leisure activity you are interested in, there is someone who likes the same things, so go out and meet them. 

College is a wonderful time of your life. Not just because you are furthering your education and working towards a career: you will meet and form bonds with people that will last the rest of your life. Go prepared, learn as much as you can, and have a wonderful time. P.S. Do not forget to s