Prepare for semester with this post move-in day checklist

By Sydney Wood, buzz Assistant Editor

Whether you’re a new or returning student, this fall semester will be vastly different for many in terms of in-person classes, football games and lifted COVID-19 restrictions. With the excitement of moving to campus, it’s easy to become overwhelmed and forget to prepare for the semester properly. 

To facilitate the transition to campus life, here’s a list of things to do after you’ve moved in but before classes begin. 

Unpack your possessions when you move in 

Picture this: You moved into your new dorm or apartment today. After moving in, you go out with family or friends and don’t return until later that night. Once you return to your new residence, tired and desperately needing sleep, you realize you didn’t unpack any of your belongings, so now you must stay awake and unpack. To avoid situations like the one described above, do yourself a favor and unpack all of your belongings as soon as you move in. 

Run any last-minute errands 

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After you unpack, you may realize you’ve forgotten to pack some essentials. If you’re lucky, your family may be able to give you a ride to the store to buy some items you’ve forgotten. For those of us without cars, keep a running list and stop by the Target on Green Street to purchase any items you may need. Pro tip: Buy extra snacks for those days when you can’t be bothered to visit the dining hall or make dinner. 

Decorate and organize your room

Moving to a new residence can be spooky. Even if this isn’t your first time moving, it’s still unsettling to fall asleep at night in a bare, undecorated room, so make sure you decorate your room as soon as possible to make your space feel more “you.” Whether it be adding LED lights, tapestries, art prints or an unhealthy number of plants, personalizing your space will provide some relief and clear your mind before classes begin. 

Get comfortable with University-related apps 

For new students, make sure you’ve downloaded the Safer Illinois app, which gives users access to building access and COVID-19 test results. Some other helpful apps are the UI Dining app, the McKinleyWellness app and Transit, an app that gives you access to bus routes. Don’t get too overwhelmed with downloading a ton of similar-functioning apps, though. Many apps, especially the bus route ones, have similar functions, so try and find which ones work best for you and your needs. 

Figure out where your classes are located 

For many, this semester poses challenges many haven’t encountered with remote learning, like in-person classes. Mitigate any pre-semester anxiety by visiting the buildings where you have classes this semester. Be sure you know where the building is, what floor the room is on and the room number. Once the first day of the semester rolls around, you’ll already know exactly where to go and what to expect from the location. 

Plan out your schedule

As the semester draws near, create a schedule that includes the location and time of your classes, RSOs and other commitments. Be sure to include free time for relaxation and your social life to prevent early burnout. By creating a schedule, you’ll have a better idea of what amount of time should be devoted to coursework and leisure. 

Explore and visit campus attractions

It’s understandable to be overwhelmed by the sheer size of the University. It may take a few days (or weeks) to adapt to the sprawling campus and the number of students and faculty. One way to make the transition more manageable is to explore campus on your own. Set a goal for yourself to visit some of the University’s attractions. Take a photo in front of the Alma Mater or walk by Memorial Stadium or the State Farm Center. The more you explore campus, the more it will feel like home. 

Develop routines

Slightly different from planning out a schedule, developing routines will bring more structure and stability to your life. For new students, there is a lot of unstructured time in college, so it’s good to have routines to provide some structure to your day-to-day life. Before classes start, it might be helpful to create a morning or night routine, such as a skincare regime, scheduled reading time, yoga or journaling. 

Get involved at Welcome Week 

One way to meet new people is through the University’s Welcome Week that takes place the week before classes begin from Aug. 16–23. From Thursday night’s Illinois Sights & Sounds to Friday morning’s new student convocation, there are multiple opportunities to meet others and adjust to campus life. For more information on Welcome Week, visit

Set personal goals 

Before classes start, ask yourself what goals you’re setting for yourself this year. Try and set academic goals, like doing well in classes or completing all your coursework on time, and personal goals, like getting a job or meeting new people. When you’re setting these goals, be realistic about what’s achievable within the span of your time in college. Once you set these goals, it’ll be easier to stay focused on achieving them. 

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