Office of Residence Life is an Asset for Students Moving On to Campus

Female student mover carrying Macy bags
August 21, 2023

It’s the busiest week of the year for St. John’s University’s Office of Residence Life—and it is also one of the most impactful.

More than 2,000 students—including hundreds of first-year students—begin the residence hall move-in process on Saturday, August 26, with classes set to start on Wednesday, August 30. With that, a new generation of Johnnies will be introduced to life at the University.

“It is a busy time, but it’s also an opportunity for students to begin experiencing their University,” said Jason T. Bartlett, Ph.D., Director of Residence Life. “It is important that students get to know the Residence Life staff. These are the people who can help them get connected and make the college experience come to life.”

Getting students situated on campus and helping them create in their dorm rooms the best environment for learning requires an all-hands-on-deck approach from Residence Life staff, the Department of Public Safety, campus volunteers, and others.

The goal for Residence Life is to make the process as seamless as possible for students and worry-free for parents.

Come move-in weekend, Dr. Bartlett and his staff serve as interior decorators, mentors, and even guidance counselors to the hundreds of first-year students making the pivot from home to campus. They also serve as confidants to parents coping with a changing family dynamic.

Parents are encouraged to engage with the University during this time of transition, said Karen Simons, Director, Office of Parent and Family Relations, Division of Student Success. Several parental outreach events are planned during move-in weekend, including a family social from 4 to 6 p.m. on August 26. More events follow after move-in weekend, including webinars on student mental health, student success, and more. 

“It’s all designed to strengthen our connections with the families, which is a part of supporting the student experience,” Ms. Simons explained. “We want parents to know that everyone they meet here is a potential asset for their child.” 

The University has made several resources available for students adapting to life on campus. They include a “Move-In Survival Guide,” produced by Residential Life. Included in the guide are lists of what can and cannot be brought to University housing.

Dr. Bartlett also has compiled a list of 10 things St. John’s students should consider as they adapt to life on campus. These include resisting the urge to rush the transition from home to college; learning to live a holistic life; and locating opportunities to serve the community.

More practically, Dr. Bartlett also recommends students pack less than what they believe they will need; establish and commit to a routine; and get the sleep necessary to feel, learn, and live better.

In particular, a lack of clutter in a student’s room creates a better environment for learning, he said. “It’s easy for students to think they need to bring everything from home to feel comfortable in a new space,” Dr. Bartlett explained. “But students are not going away forever and will likely be back by Thanksgiving. Less is more and will free up space in the room and remove distractions from day-to-day learning.”

Dr. Jason Bartlett’s 10 recommendations for students adapting to life on campus: 

  1. Take the initiative to meet the residence staff.
  2. Do not wait to become a leader; ask others how they became one.
  3. Follow your heart and pursue what inspires you.
  4. Get and stay organized.
  5. Attend class and embrace random knowledge; skipping classes prevents you from contributing.
  6. Find opportunities to serve the community.
  7. Pack light: Take half of what you think you need.
  8. Give the adjustment time; be patient with yourself.
  9. Strive for a holistic and integrated life.
  10. Log off social media and get the necessary rest.