Greetings from the airport! The time has finally come for me to head off to college!
In just 4 days, I’ll be on a plane headed to New Hampshire! My days are getting crazier and more jam-packed as I get closer to leaving for college. There’s so much to do and stress about that my last week seems to be flying by.
Despite how fast the days seem to be counting down, I took some time out for reflection. This summer has been spent gaining a sense of self and practicing solitude. I thought there was no better way to sum up my summer and start focusing on the future by coming up with some goals for freshman year.
Ahh, roommates. Sharing close quarters with a complete stranger, having to accept their quirks and habits, and forfeiting private time is a staple of collegiate life. Whether or not you have the chance to fill out a questionnaire, you aren’t guaranteed a match made in heaven when it comes to roommates.
Packing for an out of state college can be very challenging. With school right around the corner, you’re probably hustling to check more and more off your shopping list. Between trying to achieve the perfect dorm and a new and improved wardrobe, you might be wondering how you’ll get everything to campus.
You’ll have to stuff your whole life into a few suitcases while others can pack their cars with everything they need. As someone has to travel to an out of state college (Texas to New Hampshire), I’ve had to become a little more of a savvy packer.
I collected a couple of tips & tricks that I plan to use this fall when heading to campus. There’s also a free packing guide specialized just for you out of staters that you can download at the end of the post!
When traveling to an out of state college, you will need to make some sacrifices. Prioritize what you can’t live without and make sure that’s what you pack first. I use this rule of thumb: If you can’t survive a week without it, pack it. Here’s what I recommend having with you when you arrive on campus:
Move-in day can be quite hectic, and you may not even get all your shopping done on that first day. Make sure you at least have something to sleep on during this settling in period. Most of your bedding items are thin (except for that pesky comforter) so you’ll have room for them.
Bring items that you reasonably wouldn’t want to purchase duplicates of. Things like your makeup, hair styling electronics, or that really nice robe you got from PBteen should make it into your suitcase. Leave behind stuff you can replace at a local store like shampoo, shaving cream, etc.
You might have heard of this term before. A capsule wardrobe is basically a minimalistic wardrobe with versatile pieces. It consists of good quality clothes that you can switch around to create original outfits. The “less is more” theory behind this wardrobe will benefit you in this situation. Pick a few really good items from each category of clothing in your closet and pack those first. If you want more tips on creating your capsule wardrobe, check out The Every Girl’s post.
I also recommend packing for the nearest season. In New Hampshire, it gets cold pretty quickly, so I’m bringing a lot of my winter gear and leaving behind my skimpier clothes. If you’re going to a Southern college, you most likely won’t be seeing cold weather until after your fall break. You can trade out your summer clothes for winter clothes during this break.
Once you get to campus, you’ll be receiving a crapload of t-shirts from the school and their organizations, and you might want to do more shopping once you get a feel for the vibes on campus. Luckily, you’ll have plenty of space in your dorm’s wardrobe or closet to add to because of your smart packing.
Once you’ve picked the must-haves, you may find that you have some extra room in your suitcases. Add what you want, but be smart with it. Try not to get in the same hoarding habit you might have back at home, there won’t be space for it in your dorm! Here are some suggestions for extras:
If you bought some decor for your dorm, bring those. Things like wall prints (no frame), string lights, and little desk accessories are great items to bring along. Make sure you protect them appropriately so they don’t get messed up or broken in the journey. Collapsible/foldable storage bins are great also as long as they aren’t too heavy!
I wouldn’t stress so much about not having your ideal dorm together within the first few weeks of school. You can add to your room decor as time passes. It’s better to do this anyway because you’ll know the dimensions of your dorm once you’ve moved in.
You may want to bring items that remind you of home like pictures and keepsakes. Moving to an out of state college can be tough, and having a piece of home with you will help relieve some of your feelings of homesickness.
Try to fit a weekender bag or duffel bag in your suitcase too. You might find yourself taking a three day trip and you won’t want to lug around the giant suitcase you brought with you.
Check out your school’s policy on shipping things ahead of you. Some colleges can hold your packages for 1-2 weeks at a time. If there are things you want to order or will need from home that won’t fit in your suitcase, send them before you leave and they’ll be waiting for you when you arrive!
Every airline has different rules concerning weight and how many bags you can check. Here are the top 3 airlines and their rules:
Southwest: First two bags are free and they must be under 50 lbs. Every bag checked in after that is $75.00
Delta: First bag is $25, the second is $35. Bags must be under 50 lbs.
United: First bag is $25, the second is $35. Bags must be under 50 lbs.
You want to spend as little as possible, so I don’t recommend checking in more than two bags if you can swing it. If your airline isn’t listed here, just Google search “_______ checked bag policy” and you should be able to find more information.
Now that you’ve figured out your packing limit, you’re probably wondering how you can make the most of this space. There are several ways you can fit everything you need between two suitcases.
Vacuum bags are a great way to shrink down bulky items like your bedding and winter coats. If you haven’t heard of vacuum bags, they’re basically a giant ziplock bag that you can put tons of fabric in and then suction out all the air with your vacuum’s hose. This will compress your items until they’re flat. When you open them, the air will re-enter and your things will puff up back to normal. I’ll be using vacuum bags to pack my bedding, towels, and winter clothes.
Instead of folding your clothes, roll them up. You’ll be able to fit way more in that way, and it even prevents wrinkles. Want proof? Here’s a video comparing folding vs. rolling clothes. Spoiler: the guy rolling up his clothes had room to spare, and the guy folding his clothes had no room with clothes still left to pack.
You may not realize it, but you’ll be carrying a lot of stuff inside your suitcase that could also be used as storage. Fill your shoes with socks(bonus points if you fill up your knee-high boots!). Put sensitive items like jewelry and perfume inside your purses or roll them in your clothes. For Girls: Stack your bras on top of each other, then place your folded underwear into the cups and fold the bras in half (this will help keep their shape and maximize space).
While I don’t recommend wearing your down coat and fleece jacket in the middle of August, try to eliminate some larger items from your suitcase. Wear tennis shoes, sweatpants, and a sweatshirt that you can take off on the plane.
You are usually able to bring your purse and a carry-on luggage item onto the plane. In the past, you might have just brought a backpack with you, but you should graduate to an actual carry-on suitcase. Most airlines have a 22 inch restriction, but Southwest allows 24 inches. Double check the rules for your airline and then buy the appropriate carry-on suitcase.
Bring your biggest purse, like a large tote, so you can carry your usual purse items plus your laptop and charger in them. In the carry-on, put extra items that are light but wouldn’t fit in your larger suitcases.
Does packing for an out of state college seem a little more doable now? I hope so!
I’ve created a printable packing list that will show you exactly what you should pack and what you should wait to buy in your college’s state.
Do you need any help? Let me know in the comments!
In college, you’ll learn quickly that your success rides on your organization and time-management skills more than anything.
There’s so much more going on in college than there was in high school. Your assignments will be spread out, you’ll be involved in a lot of activities, and will generally have more to keep track of. Having something to organize your life is crucial to ensuring you’re making the most of your semester.
Using an agenda is a tried and true way to get your life together and keep it together. Everyone organizes differently, but if you’re someone who benefits from writing things down and loves taking the time to plan out their day, getting an agenda for college is the way to go.
Today, I’ll be using my favorite agenda from Ban.Do to show you how to set up and use an agenda during the school year. If you don’t know about Ban.Do, they’re an awesome company that makes school & office supplies super cute and fun. You’ll find everything from agendas to stationary to phone cases on their website. They’re my go-to spot for everything organization related.
Let’s get started!
There are so many agendas out there. All you have to do is figure out which best suits your lifestyle. Agendas are definitely something you want to invest in, they may range anywhere from $15 to $65. I chose the Ban.Do planner in Medium because I wanted something a little more heavy duty. There is ample writing space in both the calendar sections and the day-by-day sections. This agenda also comes with tons of notes pages and fun artwork in between. I have a list of my top 7, college-proof agendas that you can’t go wrong with here:
Ban.Do 17 Month Agenda ($20-$32)
Erin Condren’s Life Planner ($55+)
Kate Spade 17 Month Agenda ($30-$40)
Lily Pulitzer Agenda ($18-$30)
If you aren’t sure if you’ll be an avid planner user just yet, I wouldn’t recommend splurging on the $40 or more ones. Test the waters with the lower priced agendas and if you find yourself loving it, graduate to the master agendas.
If you already have your planner, it’s time to create your system. This is how you’ll organize and enter information into your agenda. It’s better to have an idea of how you want to do this before arriving on campus. Instead of fumbling around with your agenda and wasting time trying to get it together during classes, you would already have developed a plan.
Get yourself a good pack of colorful pens. Then, divide up your life into colors. I created a key on the side of the calendar page that shows what’s what. Purple is for academics, pink is for any life reminders like going to the gym or doing laundry, and blue is for any blog stuff that needs to get done. I use the colors only in the calendar page so I can get a bird’s eye view of what I’ll be getting done that month.
If you don’t have colored pens, you can also use a key of symbols to note different categories. For example, a star next to academics, an open circle for life reminders, etc.
Your planner will most likely have a month grid, and then pages to write daily events. What are you going to put in each? I summarize events in the grid view and then get more specific in the daily view. For set events, I put what’s happening in the grid, then time and location in the daily view. For classes, I put when the assignment is actually due on the calendar, and then in the daily view I’ll write in the days I actually want to work on the assignment. This goes the same for blogging. I typically only use pencil for daily events so it’s easier to switch them around (e.g. if I decide to work on an assignment on Tuesday instead of Thursday).
I highly recommend using stickers, washi tape, sticky notes, or any other cool tools to make your agenda pop. It makes being organized fun and motivates me to use it more. I put stickers for huge events that I’m looking forward to, or just to decorate around the place. Ban.Do comes with a set of stickers, but you can find tons at any hobby or stationary store.
Other than blocking assignments and to-do’s there are a few things you should keep in your agenda for convenience. I’m all about working smarter, not harder. Put these things in your notes section or on a piece of paper and keep it in your agenda.
+ Your class schedule (and where their rooms are located)
+ Any daily routines/reminders
+ Classroom resources- class websites, professors’ info and office hours, etc
+ General college resources -location of advisor’s office, medical center, phone # for emergencies, etc
+ Login information- student e-mail, dropbox, anything to do with school (don’t put anything you’d be devastated if someone got a hold of, like your blog login info)
Your agenda is for way more than staying on top of things, you can get ahead with it too. There are a couple ways you can start off your semester ahead, and use the momentum to stay there.
After you make a final decision on which classes you’ll be taking, read through your syllabuses and enter the assignments you’ll have into your planner. This will save so much time in the long run. When you have free time, you’ll be able to see what assignments are coming up and finish them ahead of time.
Update your planner regularly. Sometimes life happens, or your professor happens, and you need to switch things around. Make sure you’re staying on top of events and updating them in your agenda. If you’re like me and hate the idea of having to scratch things out, get yourself some paper tape to cover up stuff that’s no longer happening. You can write over it and the prints are cute so you’ll be decorating your agenda too!
Manage your time well. This seems obvious, but you might be surprised how difficult it can be a few weeks into college. When you’re plotting out your month, make sure your work is divided evenly. There are some weeks where you’ll unavoidably have a ton of work to do. But, for the most part, try to keep yourself balanced. You may start off your semester all motivated and you’ll get so much done purely out of excitement, but you’ll burnout soon if you’re doing too much for too long.
Planning is the key to success. One of my favorite bloggers, Mattie James, always says, “If you’re making real-time decisions, you’re already a day late.” I couldn’t agree with this more from an academic and blogging standpoint. Know what’s coming and you’ll rarely be behind!