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August is right around the corner, which means in less than a month it's going to be back-to-school time. Last year, I was a soon to be college freshman and I didn't even know where to begin with preparing for college. And if there is anything I learned from preparing for my first year of college, it's not to procrastinate. Yes, I know it is still July, but now is the perfect time to start getting ready to move away. Here are ten pieces of advice I learned from my preparation that will help make this process a little less stressful and more organized for you.
1. Make a huge list of things you need for your dorm and start shopping now. Everyone always does their shopping last minute, which means a lot of things go out of stock. Make your list of everything you need for your dorm/school and start shopping. Starting now gives you the time to look for deals and save money, instead of just going on one huge trip to Target the day before you leave.
2. Visualize and make a list of everything you're going to pack from your room. Starting to think about what you're going to pack now is so important. If you wait last minute, you're going to overpack. Start going through your clothes and separating things you want to bring to school from things you want to leave at home.
3. Don't forget you have to share a small space with a roommate. This is why overpacking is seriously not an option. Dorm rooms are small and you're going to share it with another person who is probably bringing just as much stuff as you. You don't want to feel crammed and cluttered in your room, so remember to be practical and only pack the essentials you need.
4. Spend time with family and friends. This may seem obvious, but whenever it's around the time for people to start leaving for school, it's so hard to balance packing and saying goodbye to friends. Start prioritizing now. This will assure that you fit everyone in your schedule to say your goodbyes to.
5. Talk with your roommate. It's smart to make a dorm list together on things you'll probably share like a futon, television, microwave or mini fridge. This will help avoid bringing doubles of things and you can split up the list, too. Starting the discussion now is smart because you can start going out and buying whatever you two decide on splitting.
6. Don't buy your books or school supplies yet. Before you buy your books, look at the class syllabus and see if you're ever going to use it or if you use the book enough for it to be worth buying. Also, make sure you want to stay with the class and you're not going to drop it. You can start buying general school supplies you know you're going to use (like notebooks, pens, etc.) but don't go overboard, wait to see if you need specific things for each class. You'll find all of this information during the first week of classes.
7. Get a planner. This is absolutely necessary for any college student to keep track of all their classes and school activities. If you want to get a basic one, Target has really awesome ones that I recommend. But, if you want a customizable one, check out websites like Erin Condren or Plum Paper Planner; you should order it now to make sure it ships on time.
8. Eat all the food you'll miss when you're at school. Especially if you're going out of state, eat at all of your favorite restaurants and have your mom cook all your favorite dishes for this month because you probably won't be getting quality dining hall food during the school year.
9. Start breaking in your new school shoes. This is one of the things that went over my head last year. Going shopping for new, cute shoes is fine but start wearing them now and then. You're going to be doing SO much walking, especially within the first few weeks and you don't want to wait to break in those shoes or your feet will be covered in painful blisters.
10. If you want to get a job for next year, start looking and applying. During the first week of school, applications pile up in all nearby places because most students wait to apply for jobs until they get on campus. Don't be like those students, your application will just get lost in those piles. Applying early will make you look organized and prepared, and it will get you a head start before other students are even thinking about applying for a job.
Even if you think it's too early to start thinking about school, believe me, that move-in date will creep up on you. Try to make your incoming freshman experience a little easier by starting to prepare now!
This article originally appeared on The Odyssey, the ultimate source for millennial content written for students, by students. The content captures real conversations in local communities across the country. Breana Brill is a contributing writer for The Odyssey and a second year student at Michigan State University.