Hi everyone! My name is Madie DeJong and I am a junior Biomedical Engineering student from Rochester, MN. One of the most stressful parts of the beginning of freshman year was figuring out how to pack and move to New Jersey. My hometown is just over 1000 miles and a three hour plane ride to Newark Airport, so the moving process was stressful even without all of the quarantine and social distancing rules that are happening right now. I am going to start this blog by briefly describing my personal experience and providing some recommendations that are more specific to this year.
When I moved to New Jersey, my parents and I arrived in Hoboken a day and half before move-in, rented a car, and stayed in a hotel. This worked really well to give us time to go shopping in Jersey City for the things I did not bring with me. The big rule for packing I followed was: if I cannot buy this item in New Jersey I bring it with me, otherwise we go shopping when we get there.
Things that I brought with me included clothes, shoes, and personal keepsakes. We flew to New Jersey, so I packed several checked and carry on bags. Remember that checked bags must be checked back if you’re not keeping them, so having suitcases of various sizes and putting smaller suitcases into larger ones is a good idea if possible to minimize return trip costs. Additionally, it is important to remember baggage weight restrictions when flying, so I would recommend spreading out shoes and other heavy items in your bags to reduce weight.
Things that I bought upon arrival included toiletries (this category includes obvious things like shampoo and toothpaste, but also items like nail clippers and tweezers, so make sure to walk through your bathroom at home and make a list of everything you need), towels and bedding, school supplies and snacks. We had a rental car, so the move in process was a simple drive through and drop off.
I still feel this process is valid, especially for people moving to New Jersey from states not on the quarantine list. Right now, a lot of states fall under the quarantine travel restriction (here is a link to the NJ gov sight to check: NJ Quarantine Advisory States). The move in process is made slightly more complicated by these restrictions. I spent the summer in MN, but recently moved back out to NJ ahead of classes to comply with the quarantine restrictions. My process was made easier by the fact that I already had an apartment and most of my things in NJ; however, here are some considerations and recommendations for the process if you are coming from a place on the list.
As I see it there are two ways to move to campus: plane or car. Both are valid and I would choose your method based on your comfort level and the convenience for you specifically. If you choose to take a plane, you have to check bags and either Uber or get a rental car to move around once in Hoboken. My usual advice would be to shop upon arrival and arrive a few days early, but the quarantine rules restrict this. Therefore, I would recommend bringing everything you need with you on the plane. I know this can be inconvenient, but it would make the drop off process easier and reduce the amount of movement you need to have in NJ upon arrival. Anyone passing through the state for less than 24 hours does not need to quarantine, therefore if family members are coming with you, I would recommend arriving in the morning on the day you check into your doom. You could maybe make a quick Target run and pick up some essentials. There is a Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, the Newport Mall, and many other stores in nearby Jersey City. You may not have time to get everything you need, but as long as you have enough for two weeks, you can always go shopping again later. Your family members would then need to leave by the following morning after dropping you off based on the NJ guidelines.
If you choose to drive, I would recommend buying everything you need in your hometown, as long as it can fit in your car. Of course, you can always go shopping when you get here, on the first day or after your two week quarantine. Because you won’t have a very long time to move into the dorm space, I would recommend packing in a way that makes unloading as easy as possible. Place heavier things on the bottom and do your best to condense your belongings. Technically, your family members would also need to leave within 24 hours.
One of the hardest things to work around are the time restrictions, and you may worry that you forgot things. Even if you did, it will not be the end of the world. One of the things that I have utilized a ton, has been the Post Office. Each Stevens student is allotted a mailbox at the Stevens Post Office located on the first floor of the Howe building. Your family members can always send you a forgotten item. I would also highly recommend investing in a service like Amazon Prime. It makes it really easy to order things online and is super convenient for getting dorm essentials. Another way you could decrease the amount you have to bring initially would be to only pack warmer summer/fall clothes and have a box of winter things shipped to you later in the semester.
In general, remember these are just my thoughts on the process and there are a lot of right ways to make the move. My biggest recommendations would be to bring what you need and remember you can always get more things shipped to you or go shopping at a later date. The moving process will probably feel stressful, but remember that this is an exciting new phase of life and that it will all work out. I wish you all the best and can’t wait to see all of the new faces on campus, hopefully, sometime soon!
Madie Dejong, Biomedical Engineering