Smooth Transitions: Moving Back to School

Whether you’re soaking up every last ray of summer sun or anxiously packing your bags and planning your fall campus wardrobe, there is no denying that fall is right around the corner. With shiny new pencils and pens in hand, it’s time to put your summer 2011 memories in a scrapbook and start thinking about going back-to-school.

For some, the weeks before school starts are some of the most exciting days of the year. Back-to-school shopping gives you permission to spend your hard-earned summer cash on cute and trendy fall fashion pieces. Starting fresh and meeting new people offers plenty of promise. Reuniting with friends on campus gives your social calendar a much-needed boost.

For others, moving back to school can be stressful and overwhelming. After spending the summer relaxing at home, leaving hometown family and friends can be extremely difficult. You may have re-adjusted to family living, home-cooked meals and alone time. Packing (what seems like) your entire life into a few boxes just doesn’t seem right.

Either way, moving day is fast approaching and without careful preparation, the transition back to college life can be extremely daunting. These tips will help you step right from summer living to campus life without losing your head- or blowing your budget!

1.    Only pack the essentials. It happens to everyone freshman year- we pack everything one could possibly need while at school, and then regret it a few weeks later. Over-packing only clutters the tiny space you live in, while also making move-out in the spring so much more difficult. Limit your wardrobe to season-appropriate items and avoid spending money on bulky items that just take up space.

2.    Reflect on good memories. Print out the pictures you took over summer vacation and frame them as a reminder of your time with friends and family. Be thankful for the break from a hectic college lifestyle by appreciating the small moments that made you smile.

3.    Take time to say goodbye. It’s important to let the people in your life know that you will miss them while away at school. Ask your friends out for dinner, host a family movie night or grab coffee with your grandparents. Always leave relationships on a good note.

4.    Organize, Organize, Organize! Pack clothes into boxes strategically so they are easy to unpack. Group similar belongings together to make the move in process stress-free. Sell clothes and clutter that you don’t need to make a little extra cash.

5.    Establish roommate ground rules from day one. Whether you’re best friends or barely acquaintances, nothing is worse than starting the year with a roommate brawl. Establish courtesy rules, quiet hours and cleaning responsibilities right away to avoid unnecessary confusion and conflict.

6.    Limit back-to-school spending to must-haves and basic necessities. Although it’s tempting to spend your entire summer savings, you’ll regret it in the spring when your bank account is running low and you don’t have time to pick up a part-time job. Save money now for things you actually need and expenses down the road.

7.    Take care of yourself. A rocky transition with a lot of change is hard on anyone. Remember that your mental and physical health is more important than grades, your social life or your involvement on campus. Keep a diet rich in protein, fruits and veggies and natural vitamins to nourish your body. Get plenty of rest to ensure that you have enough energy to tackle your responsibilities. Stay active to keep your body strong and healthy.

8.    Don’t fret the little stuff. In the end, college is only a few years of your life. Enjoy it, before finding a job in the real world get serious in a hurry. It’s okay if you’re not organized 100% of the time. Don’t sweat a missed workout or a large ice cream sundae. While it’s important to keep these tips in mind, you’re the only one who knows what’s best for you.

By Meaghan O’Connor | Photo:

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