I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say I’m one of the three people in the entire world that actually likes packing. I enjoy folding up my clothes and seeing them all tidy. I like packing my suitcase in creative ways to see how much of my life I can fit into a tiny little space. For that reason, I think I could totally live in a tiny house, but that’s another discussion for another time.
Long story short, I like to pack. I find it relaxing. Stressful, but strangely soothing. But packing for college is nothing like packing for a trip. Instead of packing clothes and other items for the activities you plan on participating in, you must pack everything you’ll need to live on your own for weeks or months at a time. That’s super difficult because you’ve never lived on your own, and you have to figure out every single thing that you use throughout the day, and then try to fit it all in a teeny tiny dorm room, one whose dimensions you may not actually know.
Once you’ve identified all the items you think you’ll need, and by that I mean you’ve pored over list after list on the internet from sources whose credibility is based only upon the fact that they once went to college, you have to get everything. And there are so many choices! You want a desk lamp? Okay, here are fifty different desk lamps of various brands, styles, colors, brightnesses, and prices. Do you sacrifice price for an LED lamp that you won’t have to buy a bulb for? Do you want one you can clip on your bed? Do you want one that has power outlets? There are so. Many. Choices. And that’s just for lamps.
So you spend what feels like six hours at Walmart, Target, Ross, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, IKEA, The Container Store, Marshalls, Michaels, dollar stores, etc. And I’m not just talking about one trip, either, because you won’t be able to find everything at one store, and you’re going to keep thinking of new things you’ll need that had never occurred to you before.
The stuff begins to pile up in your bedroom, or your living room, or your car, or wherever you’re storing it, and it then becomes impossible to clean anything around it, so you’re basically living with all of your possessions in full view at all times, and if you’re a clean freak, you might start to lose your mind at this point.
Then, finally, you have to pack it all up to take to school. But how? In boxes? Backpacks? Tote bags? Trash bags? The bags in which you purchased it, so you can carry it in like groceries? Some combination of all of those things?
And then, after all of that, you move in, take it all out, and hope that it’ll fit into your shoebox of a room, along with everything your roommate (if you’ve got one) deemed worthy of bringing. I’m not at this stage of the process yet, but I’ll be there real soon.
Basically, packing for college is stressful. It is actually fun, though, because you get to pick out new stuff, and the packing gets you excited about everything you’ll get to do. It stinks in the moment, but it’ll be worth it in the end. And even if you end up with all the wrong stuff at college, at least you’re not alone; no one knows what they’re doing.