Move-In Day

To Bring or Not To Bring

Packing Tips from a Seasoned Pro

By Emma McCormick

As move-in day draws closer, so does the time to accomplish the looming and possibly stressful task of packing. You’ve never done this before, and there is a fine balance between minimalist- and over-packer. Having gone through the move to college for the first time last year, I learned a lot that will make your first packing experience much easier.

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To Bring:

  • The necessary documents to complete an I-9.
    If you plan on working at school, you will need to fill out employment paperwork. A passport is the only document you need, but if you do not have one, any combination that proves both your identity and your employment authorization will work. For example, you can use a driver’s license and either a birth certificate or social security card.
  • One formal outfit.
    It is handy for men to have a suit and for women to own a nice dress for occasions such as Garden Party, President’s Ball, meeting with visiting distinguished guests, and interviews.
  • Photo of your family.
    You don’t want to forget what they look like, and it will make your mom happy.
  • School supplies.
    Don’t forget: you’re here for class. Get your college rule binders before only wide rule are left. Don’t go crazy though; you won’t need much beyond the essentials. I’ve found a spiral notebook for each class, some loose-leaf paper, a couple binders, and good pens are about all I need.
  • Winter clothes.
    People from Michigan don’t even need to think about this, but if you’re from a warm climate, make sure you have a jacket and some boots that can handle rain and snow. I have a long winter coat and boots that work both for walking to class and walking out on an ice rink.

Not to Bring:

  • All of your favorite books.
    Try as you might, you won’t have time to read all of them, and your collection will grow quickly at school anyway. Then you’ll have to move them all again the next year. And the next year. And the next year.
  • Old T-shirts.
    You’ll get two new ones the first week—and then some.
  • Desk chair, lamp, trashcan, wireless router, and printer.
    The dorm rooms come with them! The printer is in the library, it is free, and it works, unlike personal printers, which always break the minute it’s time to turn in an essay. Both personal printers and wireless routers interfere with the wifi anyway, and that never ends well.
  • Storage shelves, bins, tubs, boxes, and jars.
    Stay calm on the storage front. Each room has a lot of built-in options. It will be easy enough to buy a couple boxes after you move in if you find it is necessary.
  • The same things your roommate is bringing.
    A mini fridge can be handy if you plan on eating your own food, but communicate with your roommate. No one needs two fridges, rugs, or box fans in their room!

Things to Bring and Not to Bring


Emma McCormickEmma McCormick, ’19, is from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and plans on majoring in economics. It is still too early to call her a full-fledged member, but she participates in mock trial and the firearms club, and volunteers at Mary Randall Preschool.