Time to pack it in

With a May 20 checkout deadline looming, resident students need to stop standing around and start packing.

By Serena-Rose Ciccarello

It’s that time of the year again for Fitchburg State College students – anxiety about final exams, interviewing for summer part-time jobs, and itching to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather.  But these aren’t the only things engrossing the minds of students here; the stresses of moving out of the residence halls and all the procedures to remember quickly become major worries for students living on campus. So what exactly should residents be aware of before escaping FSC for three months?
“I don’t even know where to begin packing all of my stuff, and I’m sure there’s going to be a laundry list of stuff I need to do before I leave,” says freshman Dan Barrett. Barrett is just one of many residents who have similar concerns. The daunting task of moving out and cramming everything back into your mom’s car is rapidly approaching. Everyone will be rushing and excited to leave, but not following the proper check-out steps can lead to some ugly bills in the mail come July.
“Every RA will have a sheet on their door for residents to sign up for a time they want to be properly checked out of their room,” says resident assistant Danielle Rivers. “But not everyone has to do it that way. They could complete an express check-out form so that they can leave more on their own time.”
Residents who choose the express check-out are required to fill out a small sheet of carbon paper that they sign and date and drop off to their RA office on the way out. By signing the express check-out, residents waive the right to argue any damage bills they may receive in the summer; however, for those residents who know their room is spotless and in the same condition it was when they moved in, this is an excellent way to move out without working around their RA’s check-out schedule.
Additionally, students are asked to vacate the residence halls no later than 7 p.m. on May 20, or 24 hours after their last final exam. “It’s a small window of time between the last exam block and the deadline to leave, so I’m trying to make sure I get everything packed and ready before that,” says Barrett.
The hectic day that is closing leads to a lot of commotion and stressed-out parents, so students are encouraged to be prepared. “Sweeping, vacuuming, and packing up your room are good things to do the week of finals,” says Rivers. “If you don’t have a lot of exams or don’t need to spend too much time studying, it would be good to get yourself ready to go home, or bring things home in advance.”
Whether you are signing up for a check-out appointment, or utilizing the option of express check-out, it is important for residents to clean up their room and suite/apartment areas.  Sometimes the excitement of being done for the summer can overwhelm students and it is easy to forget these tasks, but nobody wants to get billed later.
“Just for maintenance to clean the suite lounge or the room, it is a $50 charge,” explains Rivers. “Students who do not do a check-out appointment or express check-out are charged $25 for improperly checking out. Something even as small as leaving trash in your room can get you a nice extra $25 charge.”
“It’s a lot to remember but I don’t want to get stuck with a bill while I’m trying to have fun and not even think about school,” says Barrett.  Closing procedures can be a big stress for residents, but every step is important to complete. Calling in work orders now for items that are damaged will only save money later. Students are encouraged to voice their questions or concerns to their RAs and the Office of Housing and Residential Services now, before it is too late.