It’s almost three weeks until our new New School freshmen move in to their respective dorms and housing – how exciting! Yet on the other hand, it’s absolutely terrifying: new city, new people, new room and pretty much new everything. So before you depart on the four year adventure, I assumed some tips may be needed to help you on the way. So here they are, ten tips before making the big move to the Big Apple!
1. Do some research – Where is Chinatown? What subway would I take to the Met? Should I get a bicycle? All of these questions can be answered by just sitting down and using the best feature on the internet – the Google search. Look at the subway map, start to understand the layout of Manhattan and the boroughs. Do avenues run horizontal or vertical on the island? So what does 3rd Avenue and 5th Street actually mean? Test yourself, and just start to get acquainted with the city for as soon as you get to orientation, because you won’t have a minute to breathe. I especially recommend this to international students or for anybody who hasn’t ventured out of Times Square.
2. Create Lists – While packing, of course lists are useful to not only double check what you are bringing, but they can also help you realize how much you are actually packing. It’s New York City – space is limited and valuable. Less is always more and if worst comes to worst, I bet you can replace it with something you find in the city that has everything!
3. Bring on the Extra Blankets and Pillows – While living in a dorm, you never know who will crash on your floor, how cold it can get or when you need a blanket for a picnic in the park. Always be prepared for the inevitable – which for me meant my friend sleeping on the floor a ton because she kept locking herself out of her own room.
4. Snacks anyone? – Did you know the way into anyone’s heart (especially those of the college age) is food? Of course you did, and not only does food bring you together, but it’s also a good starter for any conversation. Sadly (yes, this is true), my mother came up with this idea and made me bring three pounds of salt water taffy from the Jersey Shore with me to college – I guess she thought I would never make friends. The sad thing is it totally worked! I met everyone on my floor by sharing my mother’s worry package of salt water taffy.
5. Extension cords – They are necessary and often forgotten but extension cords are the key for any good dorm set up. Don’t lie, you totally forgot them too!
6. Bed, Bath and Beyond, will you marry me? – So East Coasters have to be familiar with the store Bed, Bath and Beyond since they are pretty much the place to go for any good dorm set up. Not only do they have low prices, but they’ll take any coupon you give them. My mother once again, already had gone through the college thing with my older brother so she knew the drill – save every Bed, Bath and Beyond coupon you can. Literally, I remember saving over 250 dollars with my mothers three year stash of coupons. Yes, we looked like the crazy family but hey, I had everything I needed for a college dorm. And there are a couple of locations in Manhattan, including close-by neighborhood Chelsea.
7. Invest in “Just In Case” Medication – So dorms can be a lot like a giant sick bubble. If someone has a cold, you will get that cold. It’s just going to happen until you build up your New York City immune system by riding the subway a whole lot. Take this as a warning, invest in some vitamin C, tissues, tea, Nyquil and maybe some Advil. Also all Foundation students, might as well throw in a box of band-aids – those 3D projects can be vicious.
8. Re-usable Water Bottle – I don’t care if you a Sigg Bottle, a Nalgene, a collapsable Platypus, a mason jar or even an old plastic bottle – you need something to carry around your water supply. During orientation, you’ll be out wandering the city for long periods of time and won’t realize that you are dehydrated. It’s better to bring that water bottle along and have it before six hours go by without you having a sip of something to drink. So pick your poison of bottle and invest!
9. Get to know your roommate – I know housing notifications go out a little late but try to get to know your new roommate before making the big move. It helps not only to calm the jitters but also can help each other out during move in. I remember my roommate was international, so she had a lot of concerns of bringing things with her so I volunteered to pick them up for move in. It made moving in easier, but it also helped us figure out what we needed for our new space together. So talk to your roommate, even if you want to be surprised!
10. Say Goodbye – It’s the hardest thing to do, saying good bye to friends that you’ve known forever to move somewhere unknown and unfamiliar. Most of these goodbyes will be the last you may say to these friends so make them count. I can’t say I’ve been the best with keeping up with friends from home but before we all moved we had one last big barbeque, which helped with some closure on that part of my life. Always get mailing addresses, and start sending letters! It’s the best way to keep in contact and still have a personal touch!