Tip #3: Travel lightly.
If you arrive at the MSC program with some work experience (as most–but not all–of us do), you are probably used to having some space to call your own at your workplace. This space is likely where your personal items and coat get stashed for the day. In other words, you forgot what it’s like to have to carry your belongings around with you.
Well, prepare to remember. In college, there is no designated space to call your own in the academic buildings. Coats, backpacks, handbags, and anything else you bring with you will be your responsibility throughout the day. Furthermore, items left lying around in common areas outside the classrooms have an unfortunate tendency to disappear.
MSC Saturdays involve:
- The morning core class, which is often quite full and requires the most squeezing of yourself and your stuff into a small space,
- Lunch, which involves walking to/from another building, again stashing your stuff in close proximity, and finally
- The afternoon elective class, which is typically smaller and thus provides the most leeway for piling your belongings onto an adjacent chair.
I found I refrained from wearing long or heavy coats, except during the worst weather. For example, I have a long down parka that has been my go-to for about eight Chicago winters now, but although it is very light it was just too much to deal with on class days. On the other hand, a short, light jacket fits easily onto the back of any chair.
Same goes for my bag. I shopped high and low for the perfect backpack that would fit my things in a slim design, and everything I carry has to fit in there. I refrain from bringing anything else with me if at all possible, because it’s too much trouble to have more items to carry around during the day.
Traveling lightly will help ensure your focus can stay on your studies, and less on the annoyances of managing your belongings while at school.
P.S. A friendly reminder and invitation to my fellow bloggers to please contribute to this running list of new student tips, if they have something to share.