Freshmen and returning students alike are now preparing to head back to campus. Excitement spreads (or is it panic?) in homes and within families across the nation. But before anyone can jump in the car or board that airplane, an ever-so-crucial (and sometimes scary) thing must happen: packing. For many, packing for college can be compared to trying to pack your whole life into a too small of space (we could all really use a few more boxes — or maybe even another car). If you haven’t started thinking about packing, now might be a good time. I mean, there are only 20 days left until the first day of classes. So, assuming you’ve started to think about packing, here are the 6 stages you can almost be certain you will encounter:
1. I-have-so-much-time-I-don’t-even-need-to-think-about-it stage
Luckily for you, this is only the beginning. But don’t be too complacent — many get stuck here for far too long. Here, everything is a breeze, college is practically a year away so you don’t even need to think about the fact that you have to take another suitcase from your parents.
2. Now, you’ve begun packing that first suitcase — everything is going so well!
Believe it or not, you now have only a week before you leave — crazy how this theoretical time flies! Things seem to be going pretty well at this point, you’re taking your time and everything is fitting in your suitcase perfectly. But this is just the calm before the storm.
3. The piles
At some point during your packing process you should have an inordinate number of piles around your room and house. A pile for shirts, pants, shoes, books, technology, and anything else you might be taking with you. And when something goes missing, it’s the beginning of the chaos. The piles start to surround you, they weigh you down — they . . . they make you take a Netflix break. But that’s probably needed — everyone can use a Netflix break, even if they are moving their whole lives.
4. The blob, boxes and headache
You leave in four days — four days. It’s all coming to an end. But now all of those completely necessary Netflix breaks are making packing an issue. After perfectly packing that first suitcase, you thought everything else would just fall into place. Now you realize you actually need two more boxes. Gosh. This whole packing thing is turning out to be a lot more stressful than you thought.
5. The Night Before Departure Freak-Out
It’s 11:30 the night before your flight leaves. You have nine hours. And what’s left? Just about everything. It might be a good time to start freaking out. But have no fear: the last-minute stress will take over and somehow you’ll be able to cram all of your belongings into two more suitcases in record time — well, kind of (you probably won’t be done packing till 3am).
6. The this-is-actually-happening stage
It’s all come down to this moment. It’s the “last” everything for a while — last time you’ll see your pet, last time you’ll be in your room, last time you’ll be in your house. But that’s all OK. You’re ready for this next step — and your packing abilities totally demonstrated that. As you load everything into your car and begin your trip — whether it’s across the country or to the airport — just know that everything is going to be fine.
(That is, until you forget your favorite shirt).