Campus Life

Moving from Home to College

It's that time of year again. I got an email the other day from the mother of a college-bound daughter. The mother was in a tizzy about what her daughter should take to college. I responded with some thoughts about packing for college and told her about my own family's experience in assisting two children with their transitions from a home-based bedroom to a college dorm.

My wife and I are eight-year veterans of college packing. We have a son and a daughter who went through their college years with tons of stuff shuttling between their college homes and ours. Now, many years after their graduation, a good deal of all that stuff takes up space in our downstairs storage areas, a tribute to this family's pack-rat syndrome.

I also mentioned to the befuddled mother that I was interviewed by a reporter some time ago about the art of packing for college. The article was sagely entitled “What to pack for college and what to leave behind." I say “sagely" because the “art" of packing includes knowing what to pack and, perhaps more importantly, what not to pack. The inquiring mother seemed most interested in which items to leave behind. Historically, girls want to merely transport their home bedrooms to their college dorm. This would assure that every last needed item for surviving day-to-day preparation rituals are close at hand. Many boys, on the other hand, apparently couldn't care less about what to take.

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