August - Getting ready for the big move!
What they're waiting for... The roommate
By now your student has probably received their room assignment along with who their roommate(s) will be. A few points and tips:
• Your student will be expected to share a bedroom with one to two people they don’t know and a bathroom with anywhere from 5 (in a suite) to 30 (on a corridor) other people. While this is exciting, they often don’t anticipate the level of negotiation, honesty and compromise required to make this adjustment. Resident Assistants (RAs) will work with all students during the first two weeks of classes to complete roommate agreement forms; please encourage your student to take this exercise seriously as it will only benefit them more.
• While FaceBook can be a wonderful tool for today's students to connect with their peers, encourage your student not to make snap judgements based on a cyber-profile.
• There is a great deal of diversity on Binghamton's campus and your students roommate(s) may be of a different race, religion, background, political ideation, ability, sexual orientation, etc. Our staff work with students to help them learn to understand and respect others’ differences, even if they don’t agree or subscribe to them. This exposure to diversity is a wonderful opportunity for your student to become more engaged and inclusive, and can help prepare them for their post-college careers where they will be expected to be able to work with others from a wide variety of backgrounds.
• It's okay if your student is not best friends with their roommate(s). Often roommates are successful because they are willing to compromise and treat each other with respect and care. Your student will have plenty of opportunities to meet other students who may become good friends; suitemates, floormates, Hall Council members, or even study group members. The RA will plan lots of activities and events, especially during the first several weeks of school. Encourage your student to attend and get to know others.
Preparing and packing for their new "home away from home"
• Remember,space is limited and their roommate(s) have equal “rights” to the same amount of space.
• Encourage your student to leave some things at home: they don’t need their entire room re-created on campus, just a selection of items for comfort. Check out our recommended packing list
• Contact roommate(s) and decide what items can be shared (like refrigerators, microwaves, tvs, gaming systems, etc.) Items like computers, printers, alarm clocks, ipod speakers, etc may be better purchased individually. Remember, financial resources vary and may affect what a roommate can or cannot contribute. Encourage your student to be respectful and considerate in these negotiations. Also, some students may wish or need to bring certain items for specific reasons; insulin in a fridge for diabetes, or a Jewish student who wishes to keep Kosher. This isn’t a new roommate being difficult, its them making key adjustments to a life away from home.
• Let the students do the talking and negotiating and consult with you on the side. The students are the ones who are living together; not you and the other parents/guardians.
• Plan ahead and leave enough travel time so you don't feel rushed. Move-in for new students begins Thursday at 9 a.m. (even floors) and noon (odd floors) and returning students on Friday at 9 a.m. We'll be checking students in all day, so don't feel like you need to get here early. Staff need time to prepare for your arrival!
• Be prepared for your student to be anxious; small things may get on their nerves, so follow their lead
• Plan to arrive on campus via the main entrance, and don't forget the parking pass you were sent in the mail. This will make it easier for staff to direct you to your student's building for unloading
• We will have staff on-hand Thursday to help you and your student move their belongings from the car to their room. Please be patient. There are a lot of new students trying to move in at the same time. We'll be moving as quickly as we can!
• Your student will need to check-in before heading up to their room. Staff will provide them with important information, so please be patient!
• When checking-in your student will pick a side of the room without seeing it first, so please don't worry that your student's roommate will get the "better" side of the room.
• The room may look cold/bare when you first get there - don't worry. Once you get your student unpacked it will look more like "home"
• There is no set time for families to make their exit, but you may find that the start of Welcome Back Weekend events is a good time. By doing so, you are encouraging your student to have a smoother transition by meeting new people and adjusting to college life.
• Some students may tell you when it's time to leave. Don't be hurt. They are eager to begin this new life experience. Instead, be proud and encouraging.
• The experience of saying goodbye differs for everyone; it may be anti-climatic or very emotional. Make sure your student knows you love them, are proud of them, are confident in their success, and that you're always there for them.
• Be prepared for the return home, as your family dynamic will change. Some parents/guardians have a delayed emotional response.