January 20, 2018

Keep it Movin’!

Keep It Moving!

It’s that time of year again where college students are returning to their campuses. Some, like my daughter who returned to Georgia College and State University, are happy to return and excited to get started on another year. And others aren’t quite as thrilled. Regardless of the emotions surrounding moving back to campus, there’s one thing everyone has to do: Pack and move.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind – for parents and students – as you’re making the transition:

  1. Check your financial status online before making the journey. Believe it or not, quite a few students get to the point of checking into their dorm only to discover that they haven’t been assigned due to an outstanding problem on their account. Sometimes this is a school error, but regardless of who’s at fault it still may mean temporary housing or returning home both of which are inconvenient.
  2. Be sure to have filled out all the forms that need to be done before you get in the checkout line. There’s nothing worse than checking in and finding out you forgot a form or didn’t do everything. When you do that you hold up the line, frustrate everyone involved and add tension to an already busy and full day.
  3. Double check the packing list that schools supply on their site and in the move-in packet they mail. Even for returning students it’s possible to forget something.
  4. Sort of part two to the above tip: Discuss big items or decorations with roommates. Amber and her roommates last year did a great job of coordinating decorations and deciding on who’s bringing what.
  5. At least a month before move-in day: Get to know the roommates. This is for the students (sorry helicopter parents!). Chat on Facebook or Twitter and get to know a little bit about each other. Starting school for the first time and even returning can be nerve wracking. Having friendships already established can make the transition a bit easier.

On move-in day:

  1. Check the weather report. Flip flops may not be the ideal moving shoe in the rain and a laundry basket of clothes will be soaked if left sitting in the parking lot, i.e., wear the appropriate shoe and be sure to have a tarp or large plastic to cover items as you’re moving them.
  2. Dress comfortably. If you’re jeans are too tight are you going to be annoyed when you have to keep bending down to pick up boxes and bags? If you wear white jeans do you really think you’re going to want to help in the moving process?
  3. Plan to eat and drink. If it’s lunch time stop and get something to eat or send someone to get food for everyone. Nothing can make a difficult day worse than a bunch of tired, sweaty AND hungry folks.
  4. Pack wisely. Don’t be tempted to just throw loose things into the car or van. You’ll discover when you get to the dorm and have to walk down three halls to the elevator dismount and walk two more halls that tired arms don’t hold a multitude of items very well.
  5. Pack lightly. Even if you’re carrying a lot of books like some returning students and avid readers do, try not to put them all in the same bin or box. (Nix this if you have a hand truck or two big strong guys.)

These are just a few things to keep in mind on moving day. Oh, one last tip: Make it pleasant. If both you and your student enjoy the events of the day it can be one of the most memorable experiences you have of sending your child off to college.

First-time College Mom

About the Author: Petula Wright (23 Posts)

Petula Wright has about 17 years experience as an editor and writer who has written and provided editorial services for publications, organizations and individuals. Based in the Atlanta area, she continues to write web content and maintain her blog It’s a woman’s world at PetulaW.com. She says, “Writing is a joy and not a job.” If you need a writer or editor, she can be reached at petulawrites@comcast.net.


  1. Thanks Donnie! There’s nothing like experience to give you a lesson in what you should be looking out for. Good luck and have a great semester.

  2. That’s true, Doneshia, Sounds like you speak from experience. 🙂 Unfortunately, quite a few students find themselves in that type of situation. Being on top of things is definitely the way to go.

  3. Doneshia McCoy says:

    This is very good advice, especially the “checking financial aid” part. There is nothing worse than going to school just to find out for some unforeseen reason that you can’t move in. I think everyone, even returning students, should at least check 2 weeks prior to the move-in date. Also students should make sure THEY STAY ON TOP OF THINGS!!!!!! Notice I said students because after the parents help move them in, it is still up to the student to make sure all the necessary steps (with financial aid and registration) are complete, unless of course the student does not care about being rolled off the roll and having to pay that extra re-enrollment fee then what I just said shouldn’t apply.

  4. Hi Gale, It’s amazing how much they can accumulate, isn’t it? Amber almost has enough to stock an entire apartment. She takes good care of her stuff so we didn’t have to buy too much additional this year – only the things that were shared by roommates last year. I hope your daughter has a great experience at college this year.

  5. Great advice, moved my daughter into Georgia State two weeks ago and preparation is the key. (She had enough stuff for three–surprisingly made it all fit.)

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