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10 Boxes or Less

Let's go!" your mom shouts. "We need to get on the road!"

At that, you take one last look around the place you've called home for years. You get out to the car and suddenly realize you've packed your entire life into about 10 boxes. But have you packed the right things? Did you pack too much? Did you pack enough?

Experienced college students know the feeling -- that's why we got the packing 4-1-1 from some college "veterans" from Evangel University in Springfield, Missouri...

Dressing (and Decorating) for the Occasion
"I packed everything I owned -- it took me four trips," says Daniel Fields, a college senior. (Although he still forgot to bring a hamper!) His advice: Pack light. Most likely, you will have to carry box upon box to your dorm room. After about the third trip - when you feel your legs shaking under the weight of your boxes - you'll begin to ask yourself what you were thinking bringing that four-foot stuffed teddy bear or the life-size cardboard cut-out of your favorite celebrity.

When it comes to packing clothes, be selective. Depending on how far you are from home, try not to pack all your out-of-season clothing, especially winter stuff. Not only is it heavy to carry, but you will also need to find a place for it once you get to school. Don't count on your dorm room having ample storage space. If you are far from home, bring only the essentials. When you go home for break, you can bundle up more winter stuff then.

Cooking and Cleaning
"You don't think of things like silverware -- things you take advantage of when you're at home," says Sandra Picariello, a college junior. Take enough dishes, cups, silverware, and bowls for a couple of friends.

There will also be late nights of studying when you'll forget to eat dinner. At times like these, you'll need something to keep you going. Ramen noodles work well, as does popcorn. But for those snacks you'll need access to a microwave. Most schools provide a community kitchen in which dorm dwellers can cook. If the school you plan to attend doesn't supply the kitchen, what better high school graduation gift to ask for than a microwave?

Not only do most students neglect to bring cooking supplies, but some also forget to bring their hygiene items. College senior, Ruth Vergara, remembers thinking, "It was like I wasn't going to live here." She left all her shampoo, toothpaste, and clothes hangers at home. If this happens to you, don't be surprised when the local Wal-Mart becomes your last-minute shopping savior.

Reality Hits Hard
"Bring something that reminds you of home, like a photo album," says sophomore, Sandra Emerson. You'll see that even though you arrive at college, anxious to get away from your family and be on your own, you'll soon get this awful pain in your heart. It might be a bit scary the first time you realize you miss everyone back home.

It might even be scary the first time you realize you actually liked being with your parents. What's even worse is when you look for a photo reminder of home and realize you don't have one.

Once you branch out on campus and make new college friends, you'll begin to want to tell them about your high school memories. High school yearbooks, family photo albums, even a few loose snapshots can make a world of difference when relaying tales about your old friends and your family.

Leave Time for Family Bonding
"Don't wait until the last minute. Pack as you go," says Picariello. You'll find that the closer you get to leaving home, the more there will be to do. Get it done ahead of time. Pack early. You'll want to spend those last few days with your family and friends. If you wait, you'll be trying to pack while handling the emotions that go along with leaving home for the first time.


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