The first countdown

Preparation is key to avoiding back to school stress

Transitioning from high school to college is scary. Mom and Dad are no longer around to make sure your homework gets done, you’re wearing clean underwear, or consuming a healthful diet free of daily Twinkies.

While trying to figure out how to pay for credits and books before school begins, packing to leave for college is often put on the back-burner. Being unprepared for college can create avoidable stress. These are 10 important things that every student beginning college should have with them:

10. Speakers for music/entertainment: The first few nights of sleeping alone in a new environment can get quiet and lonely. Listening to some of your favorite tunes will help keep you calm and rid the silence. Plus, with an entertainment system comes movie nights. I became best friends with someone on my floor through designating his room as the movie-watching room the first time we met.

9. Posters/homey things: “Hanging up posters in your dorm room helps create a homelike atmosphere,” said Adam Cieslinksi, freshman in pre-optometry. “Also, it leaves a good first impression for people coming into your room for the first time. Posters create great conversation starters and show your interests.”

8. Photos of friends: These are especially important for people who are beginning at a college where they don’t know anyone. It’s easy to feel alone for the first week or two of classes, and having pictures of friends is a key reminder that you are loved by people who are just a little farther away.

7. Ferris apparel: We all own clothes from other universities, but it’s important to add a repertoire of Ferris apparel as well. A common complaint I hear from Ferris students is how we have no school spirit—this being said from the person wearing the Grand Valley hoodie. If we, as students, don’t promote our school, then who will?

6. White board for outside your dorm room: “Having a white board is a fun way to communicate and get to know people,” said Cieslinksi. Some people are too shy to initiate conversations in person, and writing on a white board can be a less threatening approach. Include different colors of markers so people can leave fun messages and pictures.

5. Cleaning supplies: “While having suite bathrooms is awesome, it also means you have to bring your own cleaning supplies,” said Ben Jackson, sophomore in pre-pharmacy. A perk of suite bathrooms is the convenience of not having to walk down the hallway every time you have to go, but it also means you’re responsible for your own messes.

4. Laptop: I read somewhere that some college students don’t own a laptop during college; I don’t see how this is possible. Having your own laptop makes life so much easier than running back and forth to the library several times a day to complete homework and online tests.

3. Textbooks and school supplies: To lessen your stress during the beginning of your first semester at college, order your textbooks far in advance. The campus bookstore is easy to use. For students who know the ins and outs of buying books, online sources can be a better way to go to save money. However, I’ve dealt with shipping issues several times.

2. Mom and Dad’s phone number on speed dial: I can’t even count how many times I called my parents during the first week of school. Whether it was calling them to tell them I forgot something important or just to hear my mom’s voice when I was feeling overwhelmed, parents know how to help you feel at ease and to remember that brighter days lie ahead.

1. An open mind: This sounds cliché, but the truth is, you will be faced with a wide variety of new people and experiences starting on move-in day. Going into the situation with an open mind and eager to meet unique people makes the transition much smoother.

Keeping a list during the summer of all the things you need for school will make things easier for you in the fall. The items mentioned above are important to keep in mind.