You’re probably expecting some challenges during your upcoming freshman move.

That’s completely normal, especially for a first move away from home. To help you expect the unexpected, current students and recent grads share the unforeseen challenges they wish they’d better prepared for.  

1. My Stuff Got Stolen

Laura Assanmal Peláez, a student at New York University Abu Dhabi, flew to college alone for her freshman move. She says, “I didn’t think of locking my suitcases. I had lots of stuff stolen perfume, cash, jewelry.”

Peláez learned this lesson the hard way but wants other incoming freshmen to learn from her mistake. “Lock your suitcases and don’t pack valuables in them,” she says. If you’re taking a flight, anything valuable you’re bringing to college should be in your carry-on.

2. I Packed Too Much

Mary Frances Noser, an Emerson College grad, says, “You don’t need as much stuff as you think you do.”

“You don’t need as much stuff as you think you do.”

— Mary Frances Noser

She adds, “Don’t bring bottled water or three-tiered cushioning for your bed or every piece of clothing or video game you ever owned.” She especially advises against bringing too many kitchen supplies because, as she found out, you’ll likely be eating most of your meals in the dining hall.

Peláez also regretted bringing items she could have purchased inexpensively after move-in. She suggests hitting up a big-box discount store by campus to buy the things you really need instead of packing anything you think you might need.  

3. The Room Is Even Smaller Than I Thought

You probably expect your dorm room to be small. But, according to Caitlin Murphy, a student at Siena College in Loudonville, New York, there’s no way you can anticipate how small a dorm room will feel with two full families moving in at the same time. If Murphy could do it over, she’d coordinate with her roommate to move in at slightly different times.

4. I Misjudged My Roommate

“I was excited and ready to dive into college,” Noser said. Her roommate was a different story. “The first 24 hours, she barely said a word to me. I was worried she would never come out of her shell.” Now, Noser describes her former roommate as a “totally different person” and “a great friend.” It turns out this was her roommate’s first time away from home and she was having difficulty adjusting. “She didn’t even know she was being rude,” Noser now realizes. Based on her roommate experience, Noser suggests trying not to take it personally if your roommate is quiet or seems disinterested. “Everyone expresses [their feelings] differently” at first, she’s learned.

5. I Wasn’t Ready for All the Free Time

Noser was surprised at just how strange it felt to be so free. After she was moved in and her parents left, there was nothing she had to do. That’s when loneliness and homesickness set in. Noser suggests taking advantage of any set structure you can find, like attending the orientation or new student sessions available. Noser did and “it makes things feel less overwhelming, less unstructured and you meet a ton of people. It gave me a rock to figure out what else was going on.”

Any college move will likely have some minor hiccups. But hopefully these tips from seasoned students will help you avoid anything unexpected.