Dodging the Bullet: Reflecting on My Move-In Experience

First-year Maddie Neiman shares her experience setting up her room with the assistance of several relatives

First-year Maddie Neiman shares her experience setting up her room with the assistance of several relatives

By Maddie Neiman, Contributing Writer

A certain anxiety and excitement surrounded the moment that I opened the door to the room in which I will spend my first year of college. After all, I knew that the space between these four, cream-colored walls would have the potential to become a second home to me. With my hands full of extra-large shopping bags and my parents and grandparents following behind me (hands equally occupied with Tupperware and cardboard containers), I unlocked the door to my Hanson Hall room with a heavy dose of apprehension.

Although bare and a tad warm, the room quickly eased my concerns with its open space, standard but practical furniture, and overall potential for coziness. Some of the extra amenities (especially the built-in air conditioner that I much appreciated and immediately utilized) made the room even more appealing, and I could feel myself warming to the area – even as the AC cooled it.

Relief, however, turned into chaos within a few minutes. While a team of five people meant that we could accomplish more in those precious move-in hours, a college dorm room should not have five people simultaneously scrambling through half-emptied bags to find sheets and bed risers and the undeniably valuable Command strips and hooks. Questions, advice and warnings assailed me as my attention diverted from hanging a mirror to storing my sweaters to “where are the outlets?”

Move-in ended at noon, and, with an hour to spare, all of us – except for my grandfather, who wisely elected to wander the campus instead – piled into my mom’s Subaru for a last-minute trip to Walmart.

“We’re out of here in twenty minutes,” I commanded as we pulled into the parking lot. Once inside the store, we delegated responsibilities and split up. At around 11:20, we regrouped near the cash registers with a carpet, curtains, an extra power strip, milk (to accompany my grandmother’s homemade cookies), Hershey chocolate, a mini light, and a decorative globe. (Not all of these items were on the original list.)
After barely avoiding a fender-bender skidding out of the parking space, we made it back to campus in less than ten minutes. The addition of the carpet and curtains added an immediate classiness to the room, but the rest of the purchases ended up with a pile of decorations and miscellaneous items that I would later tackle for two hours after a trip for fresh peach ice cream from Mr. G’s.

By midnight of my move-in day, I had conquered all of my renovations and amassed a small list of “Things I Forgot to Pack.” The space felt more comfortable, and although it was still missing half of its personality with my roommate moving in a few days later, I could foresee glimmers of studying at my desk (decorated with half of Staples) and pinning photos to my bulletin board of me with new friends and new adventures at Gettysburg.

Editor’s Note: This article is the fifth of our series “Dodging the Bullet: The First Year Journal,” in which The Gettysburgian‘s staff members from the Class of 2021 share stories, reflections, and perspective on their first year experience. You can read the full series here. (BP)

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Author: Maddie Neiman

Madeleine (Maddie) Neiman '21 intends to double major in History and English and to pursue the Teacher Certification Program at Gettysburg College. On campus, she plans to involve herself in clubs and different activities, especially through the Center for Public Service. A lover of traveling, Maddie has ventured to eight different countries and hopes to explore the globe further in the future. For updates and more, follow Maddie on Twitter @madsmaria or on Instagram @maddiegburg.

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