Top 10 things I wish I'd known on move-in day

1. Be nice to your parents
Sure, they may be embarrassing and totally shatter that cool-kid façade you were hoping to display to everyone on your floor, but have you ever tried to put on a duvet cover by yourself? Or single-handedly lifted up your bed to put it on risers? Not the easiest thing to do. Just smile and go along with it when they inevitably think the “You’ll probably never use it, but we’ll move it” Greeters T-shirts are the funniest things they’ve seen since “Get Smart.”

*2. It’s going to be a million degrees
*If you’re (un)lucky enough to live in old dorms like I was, you’ll enjoy the privilege of three unavoidable flights of stairs and a very real lack of air conditioning. Complain while you can, though, because in a few days when you meet people from Gooch, they won’t (even three years later) shut up about how far they have to walk to get anywhere.

3. Get there early
The first challenge you’ll face on move-in day has nothing to do with actually moving. Rather, a Hunger Games style, fight-to-the-shattered-bumper arms race for one of the three legal parking spots relatively near your dorm takes center stage. If you think your parents are aggressive, imagine a huge mama bear seeing her precious cub in danger and you’re the one in the way. Now imagine mama bear with a U-Haul. Scary. Run.

4. Don’t be intimidated
Before I had actually put anything away, my mom decided to be inconspicuous and walk down my hall to check out every person’s room. I did my best to play it cool when I saw all the shelves, floral arrangements and jenga-style storage arrangements, but I could feel my under-the-bed shoebox shrinking away in embarrassment for not being good enough. Take a breath — the flowers will wilt, your hallmates’ clothes will always be everywhere and half their storage cubes will go unused.

5. College timing is not the same as high school timing
Showing up to the corner of 14th Street and Wertland Street at 9 p.m. for Block Party was not my finest moment — neither was thinking it would take fewer than five minutes to walk from my dorm to the Corner, or that 20 minutes was the right amount of time to get from the Chem Building to O’Hill. Wherever I went, I was fashionably late or fashionably early or really unfashionably in the wrong place at the wrong time. My advice: get familiar with how long it takes to get places before you actually have to be there.

6. Get off your phone
Live a little. Yes, it’s very important that you choose the best filter for your #newdorm #newme Instagram. But, move-in is the first time you’re really meeting everyone in your dorm. Take advantage of it and talk to people. Save your first college Instagram for the obligatory Block Party picture.

7. Really meet your roommate
Maybe you’ve been friends forever; maybe you graduated in the same class; maybe you met on Facebook; maybe your pairing was totally random or maybe you got tripled and have two. Regardless of your situation, you’re living with this person for the rest of the year, and you’re going to want to start off on a good foot. He or she doesn’t have to be your best friend, but there’s no excuse for not at least making an effort.

8. Don’t believe everything you see on Facebook
I remember being terrified the weeks leading up to move-in. Being the oldest in my family, the only experiences I’d had with the move-in process were the pictures my friends posted on Facebook. Their rooms looked amazing. They were having the time of their lives smiling with new friends and new lanyards. Everything about college was great and amazing and so much better than our boring hometown. Then, I got to school and was totally freaked out — I wasn’t having nearly as much fun as everyone else claimed to be having. Social media is great, but it has a knack for leaving out all of the not-so-great times. Breathe. Very few of your friends are actually as excited as they seem.

9. Write everything down
Keep track of the bathroom code, where to get a spare key, your computing ID, mandatory meeting times, what side of the floor you’re actually on, and what your RA’s name is — keeping that information handy is a necessary tool to avoiding first-year embarrassments.

10. You won’t (and don’t have to) know everything
Things I didn’t know when I moved into my dorm: what my major was; what I wanted to do when I grew up; one to five interesting facts about myself; a fun fact; what makes a fun fact fun; the difference between a fun and interesting fact; an answer to the question “What’s your favorite ice cream flavor?” that made me sound cool, fun, humorous, good looking, well-adjusted and great to be around. I still can’t confidently give you an answer to that last one, but I will leave you with one last bit of advice: when in doubt, the answer is Thomas Jefferson.

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