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3241 S. Michigan Ave.

Chicago, IL 60616

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Tips for a Successful Move to ICO

“Life is a journey, not a destination.”

– Ralph Waldo Emerson


Moving to optometry school can be intimidating. Planning for a destination that is hours from home, across state lines, or even in a different country can cause additional stress for an already-concerned first-year student. The most critical question I asked myself as I prepared for my big move was, “How do I make sure I am being both time and cost efficient?” Being on a student budget, most of us do not have hundreds or even thousands of dollars lying around to hire movers and a truck.


Here are my top 5 pieces of advice to keep your move as stress-free as possible for both your mind and bank account:

  1. Good friends, good food, good times – Paying in cheap beer and pizza is not only a lot easier for you, but it is also a lot easier on your wallet than paying for traditional movers. So, invite your strongest and closest friends over to load up the truck and surprise them by turning it into your very own going away party! Fun music, maybe even some lights, and contagious belly laughs will not only make for a memorable night, but also a fun and efficient way to get all of your things packed into the truck.

  2. Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck – Speaking of a truck, if you have a pickup truck or you know someone (who is nice and can easily be bribed with chocolate,) take advantage of it! By utilizing the back of the truck, and potentially even a small pull trailer if you have a lot of larger items, you could get away with moving for just the cost of gas and road snacks. This way, you avoid having to pay for all of the extra fees, costly renter’s insurance, etc., and can enjoy the comfort of a vehicle that isn’t as awkward, nerve-wracking to drive, and bulky.

  3. Up-cycle Cottonelle boxes for the win – The friendly neighborhood grocery store can be a great place to get a ton of free boxes! Once the grocery items are unloaded, they typically just break down and get rid of all of the cardboard items. So, if you show up early and kindly ask the customer service attendant, they might give them to you for free. Offering a few days notice or showing up over multiple days can also lead to scoring some bigger and nicer boxes.

  4. Pack smarter, not harder – For the sake of your own sanity in terms of packing and unpacking, keep these two very important things in mind: number 1, pack as much as you can in a room-by-room fashion so, by the end of the day, you will have the ability to drop boxes in a designated area and easily unload. Number 2, keep the space you are moving into top of mind. This will help you come to terms with what you really need and what you can do without. It will save on space, time, and money. Also, anything you decide is not necessary for a productive grad school life can be sold to make some extra cash!

  5. Don’t stress the small stuff – Remember you are moving to one of the most exciting cities in America to attend one of the top schools of optometry. You have made it this far and you are a rock star! The boxes will get unpacked with due time; life will go on if you have to make some finishing touches on your apartment while you chat on the phone with your mom about the excitement from your first week of classes. Or, even if you are still buying lunch at the Caf by week 3 because you haven’t found time to go to the grocery store, you will survive. Looking back four years from now, you will think about not only how nervous and naive you were as you began the journey, but also how far you have come.

So, enjoy the ride. Keep in mind to take a deep breath, soak it in, and be proud you have made it to this moment. Keep your eyes looking ahead passed all of the little stresses and know that it is all a part of the journey that is becoming a Doctor.


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