5 Things They Didn't Tell You About Going to College

High school flew by as a blur of applications and college visits. But now it's time for life at IU, and like many others I was a mess of worry and anticipation.  In the fall of my senior year of high school I took a trip to visit IU and saw the beautiful campus, the orange leaves that decorated the steps of the Wells Library, the students hurrying toward class.  It was then that I knew I was ready to be a Hoosier.

The next several months I spent filling out the housing application, finding a roommate, and scouring the internet for tips on everything from New Student Orientation to move-in day to getting along with my roommate.  As I paid my enrollment deposit and submitted my housing application with a recently-found roommate (on Facebook of all places!) I began to feel less anxious regarding my upcoming transition. 

If you feel like I did, then I want you to know that you're not alone.  Truly, every single incoming freshman is nervous.  But if you're anything like I was, knowing that everyone is scared doesn't even begin to ease the nervous excitement you feel.  So remember these few things:

It's okay to search the internet front to back for tips on making the transition to college easier. 

I did this, and instead of feeling overwhelmed, I felt more prepared.  WeAreIU.com became my best friend.  Google everything you can about what to pack.  Check out IU's move-in guide to see what you can and can't bring. 

No one will call you weird if you make a hundred to-do lists. 

I honestly had about five different lists detailing what I needed to pack, buy, and do before moving in to the dorms.  This included doctors appointments, transferring prescriptions, creating a bank account and getting a debit card, and so on.

Your roommate will live with you almost every day for an entire year. 

​​Keep this in mind before opting for a random roommate.  Unless you're super chill and get along with everyone and have no pet peeves, I suggest you take a moment to join the Facebook app "RoomSync."  You rank how important certain factors are to you (noise level, overnight guests, cleanliness), fill out a personal bio, and then it matches you with other people who ranked the same factors in a similar fashion.  This is how I found my roommate, and we've become super close. 

Your parents won't pack for you; don't leave the shopping and packing until August. 

Each year, hundreds of thousands of students rush to the stores to buy their supplies for the upcoming semester.  Unfortunately, there is no infinite supply of cheap microwaves and comfortable sheets.  So don't wait until the weekend before move-in day to buy your bare essentials, because you won't find much, and the things you DO find will be picked over and probably more expensive than they would be in the off-season.

Hostess foods will be essential

Whatever you do, don't sign up for a credit card when you come to campus.

Everyone from my dad to my economics teacher has told me true: avoid signing up for a credit card as soon as you arrive on campus.  Take at least a semester or two to get an idea of how much you spend.  So many students are offered shiny new credit cards as soon as they run off to college and they sign up for them, and before they know it they're in tons of debt and falling even further behind on their payments.  My best advice?  If you can't afford it with cash or a debit card then a credit card won't help you unless you can 100% guarantee you will be able to pay it off before your next payment is due.

Just keep in mind that when you're moving from home to the dorm it won't all be as scary as you anticipate.  College life is exciting, and it's going to be a blast!

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About The Author
Madison HarrisonNursing major

I'm in the class of 2018 at IU Bloomington, where I plan to major in nursing.  I hope to one day become an NP specializing in patients with neuro-degenerative diseases, and I'm excited that IU is my first step in that direction!