Image from Flickr.

Image from Flickr.

So you have finally made the decision to move away to college. While you may think the biggest decision has been made, there are still plenty of things you need to consider before the moving date. Preparing to go away to University is a very stressful and exciting time, so it’s important to know what you need to do beforehand to make sure everything gets done. Here is a list of things to do before you move away to college so you can make sure you are prepared for life on your own!

1. Figure out where you’re going to live.

Deciding whether you will live in an on-campus residence or off-campus will greatly impact your college experience. You need to consider what works best for your budget and the type of lifestyle you will be living. Off-campus housing tends to be cheaper and allows for greater independence. But, it also tends to be farther away from campus and can sometimes make you feel like less a part of your college community. On-campus residences, on the other hand, are typically a lot more expensive and mean you will be living in close proximity to many other students. While this can be great for meeting new people and creating a sense of community, living in a situation where there is always something going on can be overwhelming and negatively impact your academics.

2. Make a list of what you will need to bring or buy.

It’s important to know exactly what you will need to bring or purchase when you move away to University. You are going to have to think about everyday items you probably have never thought of needing before; kitchen appliances, storage solutions, bedding etc. Start making a detailed list a couple months before you move to make sure you don’t forget anything and so you know exactly how and where you’re going to get it.

3. Get your paperwork in order.

Once you move to University your family will be, most likely, more than just a phone call away. It’s important that you have your

paperwork in order and know when to use it in case any unexpected circumstances arise. Make sure you have access to any important health and insurance documents, your passport, and certain forms of identification like your birth certificate and social insurance number.

4. Become informed about your campus and the surrounding area.

Your college will have many great resources that you should take advantage of once you move. Familiarize yourself with these resources and any other ones in the surrounding area. This can help make your transition to college life easier and help answer many of the questions you will have once you start living on your own. It will also help you become better aware of your surroundings in order to better navigate once classes and extracurricular activities start up.

5. Budget. Budget. Budget.

This is one of the most crucial things you will have to do as an independent college student. Knowing your budget before you move is essential to ensuring you have the financial resources to support your lifestyle. Total what the expected costs of your tuition, rent, food and other expenses will be for the school year. This will help you to see how much you have to spend on rent (which will affect your choice of residence) and if you can afford everything on your ‘to-buy list’ for your new place.

6. Ask for advice from others who have gone through similar experiences.

Talking to other people who have moved away to college or had similar experiences will help prepare you for this exciting change. They may be able to provide some helpful insight or advice that can help you during this stressful time. Knowing that other people have faced the same challenges that moving away to University brings will be reassuring as you try to settle into your new surroundings.

7. Go to the doctor’s and get a check-up.

It’s important that you make sure you are in good health before moving away to University. Make sure you are up-to-date with all your vaccinations and refill any prescriptions you may have because, chances are, you won’t have time to do this once classes begin. See your dentists to make sure your teeth are in good health and that you’re taking all necessary precautions to keep them that way. In addition, don’t be afraid to ask any questions to your doctor, especially to do with contraception and STDs. It’s better to ask now than to regret it later on.

8. Learn how to do basic things around the house.

This sounds juvenile, but it’s important to familiarize yourself with doing routine things around the house. Learn how to properly do laundry, cook yourself several healthy meals, and the basic rules to do with keeping a house clean. You may not be used to having to do these things by yourself, so it’s good to ask questions and make sure you know the basics before you put too much detergent in the washing machine.

9. Enjoy the time you have.

One of the most important things you can do is enjoy the time you have before you move because things are about to change. While most of the change that comes with moving to University are positive, it’s still difficult to become accustomed to this new lifestyle. You most likely will experience homesickness as you become used to living on your own. Enjoy the time you have with family and friends before you leave so you have fond memories to look back on. Most importantly, take time to mentally prepare yourself for the changes coming your way. It’s okay to feel homesick and anxious when you move and acknowledging these feelings will help make the transition all the better.

The amount of things you need to do before you move to college can feel overwhelming. Just remember how hard you have worked to get into college and the amazing experiences that are coming your way. You are about to embark on a very stressful, exciting time but getting these things done before you move away will ensure that the transition to living on your own is the best it can be.

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the author

Alexandra is a third year student at McGill University studying Joint Honors Political Science and Philosophy with a minor in Sexual Diversity Studies. She is an aspiring writer with publications appearing on The Huffington Post, Her Campus McGill, Elite Daily, The Main, College Fashionista, Unwritten, and, of course, The Prospect. She is a self admitted coffee addict and Netflix Junkie with an unhealthy obsession for plaid shirts. Alexandra is passionate about maintaining perfect hair, solving the problems of consequentialism, and perfecting her sarcasm. In her spare time she enjoys binge-watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, shopping as a sport, and composing blatantly angsty music. When she’s not studying at her infamous corner of the library, you can find Alexandra at whatever concert is happening that night or working on her Pinterest boards. Follow her on Twitter @AlmostAlexandra or instagram @alexandrasakellariou.

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