By: Justin Jang
Photos by: Isabel Lord
Congratulations! If you’re reading this, you have probably decided to attend Georgetown in the upcoming year. As your summer draws to a close and you look forward to an exciting freshman fall, here are a number of tips to help ease your transition into a college dorm environment.
The First Hour
The first hour of move-in is usually a
chaotic organized rush to get situated in your dorm room as quickly as possible. Expect excitement, lines, and hot weather as you navigate this first stage of move in.
- Be prepared (and dressed) to walk around in the hot sun and climb numerous flights of stairs. The main parking garage is close to VCW and New South, but Harbin and Darnall are rather far away. Once you begin the process of schlepping your luggage, checking in, and exploring the campus, you’ll soon realize that it’s better to be dressed for practicality than style.
- Just to highlight our previous tip, it is especially crucial to follow if you live on any floor higher than the second or third. The elevators will more than likely be purposed for exclusively moving heavy luggage, so be ready to climb many, many flights of stairs during your first hour(s).
- As such, pack your heavier belongings in large bags, boxes, and suitcases. If there is an excessive amount of big luggage that needs to be transported, you may be asked to take your smaller bags and suitcases by hand to your room while your large items get to ride the elevator. Trust me, you don’t want to lug all of your books, heavy clothing, or mini fridge up nine flights of stairs.
- Don’t rush to get everything done during this first hour of move-in. It’s simply unrealistic to try and create a home out of an empty, kind of weirdly-scented box room in a hour. Prepare your basic necessities such as clothing, toiletries, and bedding first before the extra add-ons like decorations.
The First Day
Congratulations, you are now (technically) moved in!
- Be sure to familiarize yourself with the campus map and take time to find out where your dorm is relative to everything else on campus (e.g. your classes, Leo’s, Yates, etc). Remember, every dorm has its own unique benefits and drawbacks: Darnall is right above Epi, Harbin is at a nice central point on campus, VCW has private bathrooms, and New South is directly adjacent to the HFSC and Leos. So don’t despair if your dorm isn’t exactly what you envisioned!
- Buy the essentials for your first night at college such as toothpaste, soap, or snacks at Vital Vittles or the local CVS on Wisconsin Avenue. That being said, if you live in VCW, also remember to buy toilet paper.
- If you are using a communal bathroom, you need to buy or bring shower shoes and a shower basket. While you may be confident in your own hygiene, understand that realistically not everyone will share your standards.
- Hopefully, you will have met your roommate by now. Introduce yourself, get to know them, and set some general guidelines on how you will share your communal living space together using your roommate agreement document. It’s better to establish boundaries and expectations early on rather than let conflict slowly build up in a space that you will share for the next 9 months.
- Have your final meal with your parents at an M Street restaurant and say your goodbyes before heading off to your first exciting night at college.
The First Week
It’s time to get settled in.
- Take some time during orientation to make sure you have everything you need for the upcoming weeks. In setting up and decorating your room, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Amazon are your best friends. Make sure to sign up for Amazon Student, as it is first of the many perks you can get with your student ID and email.
- Consider buying or renting a mini-fridge with your roommate. The size may vary with how much food you plan on storing, what types of drinks (and the quantity) you stock, and if you intend on cooking, but it is always nice to have cool beverages without having to rely on the dysfunctional mess that is the common room fridge.
- Establish a waste management system with your roommate. You’ll find that all kinds of trash will quickly pile up in just the first couple of days, so it’s a good idea to buy at least a small trash can (and remember to recycle!).
- Use this time to explore the school and the greater DC area, as this will likely be the one of the most free weeks you’ll have during your college career. Check off all the tourist attractions that you may be too busy to go see in the future. The most popular destinations are, of course, the monuments, the White House, and the National Zoo.
- Take a deep breath. The transition to college can be a tough one, but remember that you’re at Georgetown for a reason and everyone else is likely as nervous as you are! Just be yourself, relax, and introduce yourself to all sorts of new people. This may sound incredibly cheesy, but friends and comfort in your new surroundings will come with time.