This time a year ago, we moved Simon into his freshman dorm room at Georgia Southern in Statesboro. This past Saturday, we did it all again, but this time, we moved him into his first apartment, which he will share with his two best friends.
Preparing for Move-In Day
We’ve been preparing for his move-in day for a while and had bins full of items stacked up in the foyer during this last week. Since the apartment was fully furnished, we didn’t have to really worry about furniture. We did have to make sure they have a functioning kitchen for cooking their own meals (no more meal plans) and that they could do their own cleaning and laundry.
We still had all the items that furnished our apartment in Austin, Texas, and I was fully prepared to send all of that to Statesboro. I mean, that is the reason why we kept it all – to help furnish the first student apartment. In the end, the three roommates didn’t do the type of apartment / move-in planning I thought they would. Especially when it came to the kitchen items. The weekend before move-in, we got together with his roommates and their parents, to introduce ourselves and to discuss the apartment and plan a bit, but by this time we’ve all accumulated a lot of items already.
Planning the Move-in Weekend
Our little family would drive down to Statesboro on Saturday (around noon) and stay in the hotel I booked weeks ago. Simon’s official move-in timeslot was Sunday at noon, so I was envisioning a nice dinner out together, hanging at the hotel, and then a lazy morning before we would get down to business and unload the cars and unpack it all in his room.
While we already had bins with items that needed to go to the apartment, Simon would pack his own clothes and items from his room here at home that needed to go to Statesboro. He had Friday night and the whole of Saturday morning to get this done. My plan was also to do one shopping trip in Statesboro for groceries, cleaning products, and other items they might still need. It just didn’t make sense to buy those and haul them down to Statesboro.
Packing and Driving to Statesboro
Saturday arrived all too soon and we were quickly moving items from the room to the foyer, and from the foyer packing it into the car. Once everything was loaded, all that was left to do was get on the road and complete the three-and-a-half-hour drive.
Our first hiccup was our route. Google suggested an alternative route since we had roadworks and two accidents on I-285 which caused too many delays. I usually have no problem with taking the scenic route, and we had plenty of time, so we began the drive via back roads, never even getting on any of the interstates. We passed through a lot of tiny towns, most I’d never even heard of before.
About three hours in, Simon called to say he was getting a low coolant notification on his car, for fluid that he replaced a couple of weeks ago. We stopped at the gas station in the next town to take a look and sure enough, his radiator reservoir tank sprung a leak and anti-freeze was leaking out. We didn’t have much choice but to top it up and continue on to Statesboro. We just drove a little slower, which wasn’t a problem on all the back roads.
We got to Statesboro around 4:30pm, driving through an impressive downpour right when we got to town. Luke moved in earlier that day and Will and his mom were busy moving in at that time, and once Simon spoke to them, it was decided that we will head over there first, and unload all of his stuff from both cars. The skies cleared just as we stopped at the apartment building giving us a perfect moving opportunity.
I have to say, the apartment was a bit worse for wear than I expected. And a little more dated too than what we saw on the website. On Simon’s side alone, a drawer front was loose, the closet doors were damaged, we could see some wall damage and even some of the furniture had large dents and marks. And there was carpet everywhere, except in the kitchen and bathrooms. Their dining room table had only one chair… But it was a great spot for students with really all they needed to be able to live and study in peace. They had a full kitchen with a stove, fridge, microwave and dishwasher (!) and their own washer and dryer in the unit. Luxurious!
We’ve just spent four and a half hours in the car, and besides some very light snacks around noon, no one really had anything to eat or drink yet. Rooky mistake. Pieter had a very bad headache and Sidney was still dealing with an ear infection. Both roommates were very helpful and brought up bins and items from our cars. I did a quick bathroom clean and we were ready to unpack some items.
First, we rearranged the bed and dressers to give him more floor space. Next up I started making his bed (I was worried that I bought the wrong size linens), and then Sidney and I put up the shower curtain while Pieter put together a shoe rack. For the time being, we just put Simon’s duffel bags with clothes in his closet and all his computer equipment was just placed on the desk.
The rest of the bins were stowed under the bed and Simon would unpack them on his own. Will’s mom was busy unpacking items in the kitchen so we also got busy unpacking those two bins. Unnecessary duplicates were identified and we took those back to Simon’s room with the plan to take them back home with us. No need to clutter up their apartment!
Not having anything to drink or eat was taking its toll on the four of us and we decided to leave Simon at his apartment and get settled in our hotel. We planned to meet up later for dinner and to review the shopping list for items to get the next day.
On the way to our hotel, we stopped at a gas station for drinks and a snack, knowing it will be very busy at the restaurants and that we will probably have a long wait to get in anywhere. Now, last year, I booked a hotel that was just awful. Even so, we did have to stay since everywhere else was fully booked and we had Simon’s move in later the next morning. Instead of staying both nights, we left after move-in day was completed, driving home in the dark.
This year, I booked what I thought would be a nicer room, picked because it was so close to the campus and Simon’s apartment. The first sign of trouble was a “Lobby Closed” sign and we could see laundry all over the tables and chairs. The check-in desk was deserted and ringing the bell didn’t bring forth anyone. Once we went around to the side window, the small guy that was working on the inside of his car out front, came over (barefoot!!!) to check us in. I unfortunately already paid for this room, so we checked in, got our keys and headed to our room out back.
What a disaster. The smell in the room was just awful. The moment you opened the door it hit you. It was a mixture of sweat, smoke and weed, and some deodorizer that couldn’t even begin to cover it up. I didn’t even make it all the way into the room, never even saw the bathroom. It was obvious we couldn’t stay there. Pieter went back to talk to the barefoot clerk, who said we booked a smoking room and cannot change it, so we returned the keys and left.
Up came our Expedia apps and we started a search for open rooms. We found one, but at almost $400 a night it felt like daylight robbery. Of course, it was student move-in weekend and everything else was booked. Things didn’t look good for the three of us…
Dinner and the Drive Back
We waited about 40 minutes for our table at Del Sur (a Southern take on non-traditional Tex-Mex cuisine,) and had a nice hour together chatting about Simon’s apartment, the move, the year ahead and what he still needed to take care of. It was also at this point that we looked at hotels outside of Statesboro, and decided it might just be better to head back home and sleep in our own beds. Sidney was still not feeling well and with Simon’s belongings already moved in, there wasn’t a whole lot we could do in town the next day.
After dinner, we took a walk on campus where Simon pointed out a couple of buildings to Sidney. There weren’t many people around and it was nice and quiet. We could hear some activity closer to the main dining hall, so we went the other way. All too soon it was time to say our goodbyes and get on the road.
The drive back took four hours, with busy roads and strong rainstorms along the way. It was quite a relief to finally turn into our driveway at 1am and get to bed.
While the weekend didn’t go as I envisioned, which I must say I was very upset about at the time, it was still a successful college move-in. We spoke to Simon on Sunday and he was ready with his list of shopping items and had started decorating his room and unpacking the rest of his items. He also rearranged the furniture in his room again to better fit his needs. And this is exactly what I want. He needs to be able to do things on his own now. We’re still a phone call away in case he needs us or wants our advice. And we’ll see him next month when we will take a short trip together.
Focus on what you can plan for move-in. Things like packing and unpacking items easily, eating a proper meal before starting the process and remembering to pack some drinks and snacks. Remember to keep an open mind and be flexible. Situations and changes to plans come up and you have to be able to “roll with it”. It is also important to give your student the lead on this – it is his or her move-in after all. You are there to help them get settled, not to take over the event. And maybe research your hotels a bit better than I did…
I hope all your college move-ins go as smooth as possible and I hope your students are ready for this next chapter in their lives.
Don’t miss the rest of the College Move-In and Preparation series:
Mom Tips for Freshman (coming soon)