While you’re busy enjoying sentimental moments during your last summer before college (spending time with family, hanging out with high school friends, and eating those final precious home-cooked meals), I’ve compiled a list of some practical things to do before you leave.
1. Coordinate big purchases with your roommates.
Make sure to connect with your roommates and discuss who will bring items that you’ll share in your room, such as a refrigerator, futon or seating, rugs, and more. For bigger items like refrigerators, you can even order them from a Target or Walmart in South Bend and pick them up once you’re there, rather than trying to transport them to school in your car. During Welcome Weekend, there will be shuttles to Target and Costco to get any other supplies you’ll need.
2. Take advantage of student discounts.
One of the most useful discounts for college students is the Bed Bath & Beyond College Savings Pass. When you sign up with your school email, you’ll be able to get 20% off your purchases through the end of September. The discount can be applied in store and online for any number of orders, so even if you need to make multiple trips and purchases, the discount is always there. You’ll also get free shipping for orders more than $39. Now’s also the time to claim deals like the Spotify Premium student discount and UNiDAYS discounts.
3. Make a packing list.
Make a list of all the things you’ll need to bring to school to stay organized. Here are a few packing lists if you’re not sure where to start. Your new dorm may also have a packing list or a few recommendations on their website or in their welcome guide for first-years.
Some things I recommend bringing that might not appear on packing lists are a bedside shelf if your bed will be lofted, a clip-on fan for your bed during the hotter months, drawer dividers if you plan on keeping multiple clothing items in one drawer, and command hooks or strips to use for hanging things up on the wall.
Don’t forget to bring decorations for your dorm! There’s nothing worse — and more likely to make you homesick — than white walls staring at you in an unfamiliar place. Bringing photos of friends and family to hang up on your walls helps make your dorm room more familiar. String lights, tapestries, or flags can also help make the space feel more comfortable and can ease your transition to your new home.
4. Look for student employment.
Having a job while on campus is a great way to make money as well as demonstrate responsibility and time management skills on your resume. Our student JOBboard is where you’ll find student employment opportunities with many different departments on campus and some off-campus locations as well. Advertised positions range from after-school nannies to graphic design interns to research assistants.
The summer is a good time to start browsing the positions, updating your resumes and cover letters, and applying to jobs that would be a good fit for you. Don’t be stressed if you don’t get a job right away — positions open at different times throughout the year. I didn’t get my freshman year job until September of that year, so be sure to keep checking back on the JOBboard for new opportunities.
If there’s a specific organization or department on campus that you’d like to work for, it’s always worth a shot emailing them directly to see if they’re hiring, even if they haven’t posted anything on the JOBboard.
5. Make sure your electronics work.
I had a laptop from high school that I brought to college, but it was so heavy to carry around in my backpack, wouldn’t last long enough for me to study anywhere without quick access to an outlet, and eventually ended up dying halfway through the year. Instead of getting a laptop midway through freshman year, I recommend purchasing a new one right off the bat so that your files will be organized for a fresh start. Portability and battery life are two important things to consider when buying a laptop. Make sure you check student deals and discounts before purchasing new electronics. In addition, you may be able to receive funds for a laptop or laptop repair from the Office of Student Enrichment, with eligibility determined by the Office of Financial Aid. (The application is closed now, but it will reopen for fall semester.)
Another device I recommend getting before school starts is bluetooth earbuds — it’s easier to study with music without having an earbud cord getting in the way. Plus, you’ll do a lot of walking around campus, and trips to class or to the dining hall are always better when they have a soundtrack behind them. Buying a portable charger is a good idea too, especially if you know you like to study outside your dorm for extended periods of time.