A new school year for UC Davis students will be starting soon, and, for about 6,000 students heading to college for the first time, there are ways to keep the move-in as smooth as possible.

UC Davis will be having their college move-in day on Sept. 22 and Sept. 23 and welcoming 6,000 first-year students, including about 1,200 international and out-of-state students, to the residence halls.

For many first-year students preparing for college and others being the first in their family to head to college, a new school and new city can be a challenge to get used to.

Brandon Petitt, Director of the Office of Student Development and a former first-generation student himself, shares what to expect on move-in day and how to get the most out of the first few days at UC Davis.

1. Arriving: The main waves of traffic, student helpers and separate move-in days

There won’t be 6,000 students attempting to arrive on move-in day at the same time. UC Davis splits their move-in day into two days. It’s been a practice that they’ve been doing for about the last 10 years, according to Pettit.

Students in even numbered rooms will be moving in on the 22nd and students with odd numbered rooms will move in on the 23rd. Additionally, the 1,200 international and out-of-state students will be moving in before the rest of the other students. This lowers the total down to about 5,000 over two days.

“The nice thing about that is it reduces the congestion and the traffic to the building by half, and so the unloading zones and parking areas, the lines to elevators, and just general traffic flow is cut in half…,” Pettit added.

When students arrive, they’ll spot students in yellow shirts that are part of the UC Davis “Moove-In” crew, a nod to UC Davis’ agricultural roots. These are students that have dedicated their time over the next couple of days to help fellow students move-in to their dorms. They’ll be there to help unload the car and carry boxes up to the student's room.

If you’re worried about traffic at the site, Pettit says that there are generally two big waves to know about. The first happens in the morning when the doors are being unlocked and the next comes from the mid-to-late afternoon, which is generally people from Southern California finishing their commute.

2. Misconceptions about move-in day: When it comes to programs, nothing’s required

Some students may think that their only goal upon arriving is to finish moving in, but Petitt says there are a number of activities to engage with after finishing the move-in but it's up to the student to engage in them.

“Nothing’s required, but there are opportunities available for students to reconnect with their college Dean’s offices, to receive free tutoring in the major core classes they’re taking…,” said Pettit.

These services and activities range from ice cream socials to cultural event celebrations. Students can also take advantage of residence hall programming that targets topics like transition, academics, and citizenship.

3. Best Tips: Talk to your roommate, decorate your space, and find community

It’s a talking point for Stanislaus State University, Sacramento State University, and UC Davis; every one of these colleges encourages the roommates to connect and talk with each other before move-in day.

A big part of this is about preventing any potential roommate conflicts and helping students learn how to live with someone else. These conversations can address topics that would be discussed in a roommate agreement.

Students can also take a relatively simple measure to make themselves feel at home in their new accommodations.

“It sounds kind of simple, but I really encourage students to decorate their space,” said Petitt. He added that students can use pictures, blankets, and even old photos to help their room feel more like a home.

One final tip from Petitt is for students to find a community they identify with.

“It may be in their room. It may be on their floor. It may be something across campus, but there’s activities, student organizations, intramural sports, our cultural centers, even just participating in our fall welcome program,” Petitt said.

4. Things to avoid: Procrastination, items to avoid bringing

Procrastination habits developed in high school should be left behind when students arrive at UC Davis.

“At Davis, we’ll hit the ground running. They have two or three days to kind of get settled. They start right away on Wednesday, the 26th," Petit said.

While there will be reminders, Petitt encourages students to students to stay in touch with what the academic rigors will be.

For physical items to avoid bringing, UC Davis has a list of items that students should leave behind. These include items like hot plates and burners, toilet paper, a car, amplifiers, and large stereo equipment. The full list can be found here.

5. New Student, New Home, New City: Ask for help if you need it

“The students that… we see not making it at a university are sometimes the ones that did not ask for help or did not ask for help in time,” Petitt said.

For students coming to college for the first and leaving behind family, friends, and their home city, there will be help once they get there, and there’ll be resources on hand to help make the campus, community, and the city more familiar.

“Quite simply, it’s just going to their door and making sure they have a connection with that resident advisor and asking for help,” said Petitt.

Additionally, their fall welcome week will introduce them to both the campus and the City of Davis through their partnership with the Davis Chamber of Commerce. One of the events Petitt highlights is the Davis farmers market.

Whether it's engaging in the community or engaging with the City of Davis, Petitt encourages students to take advantage of what they can while at UC Davis.

“A lot of times, I tell students, imagine when you’re getting ready to graduate, and you’re sitting there about to receive your diploma and hearing from all the different speakers and our chancellor," Petitt said. "As you sit there, you feel like you did everything here that you wanted to do before you left. I don’t want people to feel like I should’ve done a number of different things or taken advantage of certain things, so... I ask students to think about that now, so they can really try to take advantage of things in their entire four-year program."