From One World to the Next in Less Than Four Hours

Dorm room

by Elliane

I think it is safe to say that my college move-in day was not a “typical” day, if anyone can say they had a normal move-in. This summer I worked as a camp counselor at a summer camp about an hour and a half away from Montreal, Quebec, where I go to college.

My contract was ending on Sunday, August 24 at 4 pm. Move-in day was Saturday, August 23.

The whole time I was at camp I was pretty nonchalant about moving in a day late, but on the inside I was freaking out! What if everyone made friends on the first night and there was no one left when I got there? Would it be awkward to have my mom there if everyone has moved in? What would my room be like?

Of course, I shouldn’t have been worried, but who wouldn’t be? My mom picked me up at camp promptly at 4 pm and we rushed off (as fast as you can rush in traffic) to McGill University. I was bouncing up and down just wanting to arrive!

When we did get there I signed my lease, got my key, and a room inspection sheet. The two of us decided it would probably be best to go up and see the room prior to hauling my things up.

McGill campus view

The good view from my friend’s room across the hall! The dining room is the round building.

My dorm is on the sixth floor out of seven and all the way at the end of the hallway. On my door was a little sign that had my name, Ellie, and a just little things note that read “When you see your food coming in a restaurant.” I turned to my mom and said “They know me already!” (I really like food.)

Because my room is a corner room, it is “bigger” than the others. Ha! Although it is more spacious than my friends’ rooms there are some awkwardly placed shelves and most of the furniture is nailed down so I had to keep it exactly how it looked. We checked everything out for a minute or two and then went to unpack the car.

Now this is where it got stressful in a couple of ways. First off, my dorm is on Mount Royal (Mount-Royal -> Mont-Real -> Montreal!) so you have to hike up to it. Then there are stairs to climb to get to the actual building as well. After walking up and down a couple times to the foyer we brought my things up to my dorm.

During this whole back and forth there was a crowd of people outside the main doors. Each time we would try to enter they would hardly budge. To me it wasn’t much of a bother because these were potential friends, and also distracted college students. Of course when another girl who was moving in introduced herself, my mom decided to call out the people blocking the doors outside. I was mortified because she was talking about the people I had to make friends with!

I won’t go into complete detail, but remember that on your move-in day your parents are probably tired, sad, and if it’s about 80 degrees out like it was for my day, hot.

My biggest tip is not to unpack everything, but to immediately make your bed because you won’t want to do it when it’s dark out and late at night!

After all my belongings were in my room, we went for dinner and unwound a bit. My Mom dropped me back off at Gardner Hall, my dorm, and that was it, moving in was over.

After living with seven other girls in a cabin for a month this summer it was a shock and somewhat lonely transition to living on my own. I wouldn’t recommend going from one world to another without stopping on neutral ground (home) but it is not impossible.

You will make friends, and you will find your hairbrush/ toothbrush/ spoons/ or whatever it is you can’t seem to find. Guaranteed you will think you’ve lost your keys, hopefully you haven’t, but don’t panic, just retrace your steps! Happy unpacking!

Here is my master list of things you need or your college dorm room and tips for move-in:


  • cereal
  • a fan
  • sticky squares (for putting pictures on walls)
  • a lamp (or 2)
  • a carpet (the floors are hard and cold, a rug warms things up!)
  • sunscreen


  • Make your bed before you leave. You don’t know the joy of coming home to a made bed until you actually feel it.
  • Take deep breaths, take time for yourself.
  • Go explore your floor or building. Everyone is in the same position as you, tremptious (nervous but excited, not a real word, but very useful)
  • Do talk to your parents/friends back home. It’s not clingy, it’s nice!
  • Smile!
  • Leave your door open and venture out of your room to meet the people on your floor.
  • Stock up on food for those times you need a little snack, or even a full meal (it happens).
  • Put up something from home, and then another thing, and then at least 10 more. Decorations are the key to making your place feel like your place.

2 thoughts on “From One World to the Next in Less Than Four Hours

  1. Have you had any difficulties transitioning and making friends? I know it can be hard especially when you’re shy. Did you find the positioning of your room to set you away from the group or did you just reach out more to get engaged? Very helpful Ellie 🙂


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