Living on campus can be an adjustment, especially for freshmen moving away from home for the first time and their parents.
Dr. Mark Allen Poisel, Vice President for Enrollment and Student Affairs at Augusta University and a change management expert, offers the following advice to make the move easier for the whole family.
- Make a list; check it twice. Prepping for college can be hectic, which increases your chances of leaving vital items at home. Keep track of the belongings you’ll be taking by using a checklist of the essentials. Don’t forget to include your driver’s license, social security information, important university documents, and medications you take regularly on the list.
- Review the rules. Before you start packing, review your school’s residence hall rules and guidelines. These regulations vary among institutions and will help you decide what you should take with you. For instance, some schools permit small fans and a mini fridge, while others don’t allow halogen lamps or space heaters.
- Bring the essentials. Resist the urge to over-pack as rooms can be quite small, especially when shared with other students. Consider bringing only a laptop, limited sets of clothing, toiletries, laundry necessities, and a few pictures or posters. Swap your items when you go home, and use storage containers or boxes to save space and stay organized.
- Set realistic roommate rules. Living with another person, especially in a small space, can be challenging at times. Make it a pleasant experience by talking with your roommate about common interests, class schedules and work together to set ground rules. If an argument arises, do your best to talk it out and move past it. When all else fails, consult your resident advisor for assistance.
Poisel suggests that parents focus on this being an important time for growth and independence in their child’s life instead of feeling anxious or overprotective about this transition.
“A large part of the college experience is your child’s search for self-identity,” said Poisel. “You will help them mature more quickly by remaining an anchor of unwavering support. This is a time for parents to encourage their young adults, but not to solve their problems for them.”
Editorial note: New freshmen will be moving into Augusta University’s new Oak Hall residential housing on the Health Sciences Campus on Saturday, Aug. 13.