It was one of those days in Austin, Texas, that was an expectant kind of hot, the kind that you could stand for ten minutes without breaking a sweat, but you knew it had the potential to morph into a scorching, Dante’s Inferno kind of hot if some clouds didn’t mosey in to create some shade. It was the “summer-is-coming, hole up in your room with some ice cream and air conditioning, study for your finals and get the heck home” kind of day. This was the day my two friends decided to buy a used couch for their shared apartment from some sketchy webpage. You’d think buying a couch was serious business, but these kids treated it about the same as grabbing a six-pack of soda from the corner store. From the 17th floor of an apartment complex, the view of Austin is pretty nice. A couch would really complete the feng-shui of the whole set up. Not until the couch was picked up, hauled into the downstairs lobby, sat on smugly while awaiting the elevator, and pushed halfway into said elevator did either practically-20-year-old boy stop to consider that most full-sized couches do not, in fact, fit in most run-of-the-mill elevator cars.
This ridiculous occurrence could possibly have been avoided, yes, but perfect move-ins don’t make for very good 400-600 word articles. Besides, “everybody’s gotta learn sometime.” I can tell you first-hand that no matter what you do, moving in will not be easy. Pack up your 18 years of life in a few boxes full of a lot of stuff you’ll never use and borrow creaky carts to painstakingly transfer these beloved belongings to your bright and shiny and new cement block. It’s an experience, to be sure. If I could offer any advice, it would be this: if someone is helping you, have patience with them and be thankful that they are around. When packing, be stingy. Take a few things that comfort and remind you of home, like pictures or maybe that stuffed animal you’ve loved on since you were five, but don’t take your whole life. You’ll be creating tons of new memories with a slew of new people, and as a result, you’ll acquire tons of new stuff that will make your little dorm feel more like home. Be as compact as possible. Think of it like an experimental minimalist cleanse. Most importantly, be as respectful as possible of your new roommate’s stuff and space. Be easygoing and accepting, make accommodations for them, and think of them when you’re buying supplies. Bring something for them, maybe. Stay thoughtful if you can and your relationship will benefit for the remainder of the semester.
There will be a point when you accidentally begin referring to your dorm room as “home”, maybe even when talking to your parents. This is good. You are re-acclimating, you are growing, you are becoming, you are embracing. Enjoy the ride, and good luck!