Once upon a time, a girl living in China sat down in her living room with 4 big suitcases open and empty in front of her. It was time to pack for college. That girl was me.
Now mind you, when I say big suitcases, I mean BIG. I’m not even sure how I got past check-in and airline baggage standards for international travel without paying a fortune. Somehow, I managed to lug 4 suitcases full of clothes, packaged foods from home, and miscellaneous junk such as photo frames, my favorite pillow, etc. all the way across the Pacific Ocean and most of the continental USA.
When I arrived at Dupont Hall that August three years ago, I could barely maintain all four suitcases on my side of the room. My roommate would sit on her bed and stare at them in disbelief as I unpacked – first, an entire suitcase of packaged curry, Asian ramen, packaged rice, and snacks from home. They went into the cupboard in my closet. Then came my bag full of junk, which I simply dumped on my bed and dresser, thinking I could just organize them later (wrong). Lastly were my two piles of clothes and shoes. By the time I emptied out all 4 suitcases, I barely had room for one more hanger in my closet, and my dresser was already stuffed to the brim with my lotions and photo frames arranged all over the dresser top.
That was the first day of school.
As the semester went on, I realized that when there was a sale at the outlets, I would buy an item or two once in a while, and sometimes maybe three. I realized that there were at least 2 Thai restaurants, several Japanese places, and tens of Chinese restaurants scattered around town, where I could surely order fresh curry and rice whenever I pleased.
By the time my first winter break rolled around, all of my hangers were doubled up, and I had so many clothes in my dresser, I had to take the ones I wore the least out and put them in the suitcases under my bed. Who are we kidding, I only wear 3 or 4 pairs of jeans year-round anyway.
It was time for some things to go.
And slowly, every time I went home for the holidays, I would fill half of the suitcase with the vacation’s necessities, and the other half with the things that needed to leave – most of my excessive jean collection, that funky shirt/dress I thought would be great for a costume party that never happened in college, all but one of my dozens of black flats… and never again did I lug food all the way from Asia again.
It may seem daunting to have to pack for college, or packing up your life into boxes, as they say, but in the end, there is less room than you think. Remember to bring your lucky charm and your favorite shoes, but otherwise – just bring your passion and an open-mind, and you’ll be good to go 🙂
– Annie Sung ’12