A list of tips from parents and students from the Parent Network over the years.
Refrigerators and microwaves: Yes you can rent them, but you can also pick one up as they are pretty inexpensive. When your student moves out of the dorm, they can sell it on craigslist.org or let the parents have it for the patio.
Packing the car: Nearly everything you need can be ordered and sent directly to Arcata so your car won't be so full on the trip up there. There is a Bed, Bath and Beyond or as we fondly call it, B3, in Eureka, as well as K-Mart, Sears, Mervyns, Pier 1 & of course, Target. So don't worry about driving the bigger stuff up there. McKinleyville is close, with lots of stores, and there are a lot of things at the Bayshore Mall in Eureka.
Dorm room space: I do not know what my son would have done without his bedrisers . . . he has a full set of luggage, and plastic storage containers, that he was able to store under the bed. A special note to those in Creekview . . . the bedrisers found at most retailers will not work on the beds in Creekview because they are chunky wood legs (maybe 2x4?). The solution here is to use 6 x 6 cinder blocks, which we picked up very cheaply at a lumber supply place on Hwy 101 called Bracut International. There's also an Ace Hardware for lumber needs in McKinleyville.
Health: Put together a Humboldt Crud kit: a ziplock bag with Tylenol, cough drops, Nyquil, TheraFlu, something for the tummy & a thermometer should do it. Include enough to last until the Health Center is open. CVS/Pharmacy in Arcata is open 24/7. College freshman are so susceptible in part because their immune systems are usually comprised from stress, lack of sleep and sometimes alcohol consumption.
Be sure your student gets a meningococcal virus shot before he/she goes off. They are offered at the Health Center or you can get one with your own before you leave. A flu shot each year will help fight the Humboldt Crud too. All vaccines are single dose vaccines with NO mercury preservative if that is the concern. Talk to your primary care physician.
Pre-paid plans: "C" cards can be reloaded on line with a credit card. “J” points are split in order to ensure your student has funds to eat with second semester. If they run out of J points, they can use the "C" card to eat. They can use the "C" card for the laundry room also.
HSU on the web: HSU has a website for everything, so log on and explore. Just start at www.humboldt.edu. I went from A to Z and read everything, I was amazed at all the stuff going on: the clubs on campus, the radio station, the web cam and much much more. There is stuff going on that you would never have known about unless you looked for it. The URL for the 24-hour HSU webcam overlooking the campus is www.humboldt.edu/humboldt/webcam
Car repair: Recommended on the Parent Network over the years: Arcata Redwood Automotive - got 7 great reviews on Cartalk.com 513 J St (707) 822-3770
Best route from Southern California: This is a huge area of debate for families driving from Southern California. We have found that taking I-5 to Hwy 20 (just north of Sacramento) and over to the 101 is the best way to avoid all Bay area traffic, and Hwy 20 is a beautiful drive. It takes 11 hours from Los Angeles. My personal opinion is that one should avoid routes 299 and 36 if possible.
Hotel discounts: Ask local hotels for an HSU discount. Sometimes it is better than AAA. The Comfort Inn clerk told me they offer a decent AAA discount for passing through traffic but a better HSU parent discount at peak times to cater to the parent who makes multiple trips and will keep returning.
Homecoming: Attending Homecoming and Family Weekend is a MUST for Freshman parents! Your student has had a few months of Jolly Giant food and is ready for a dinner out and some grocery shopping. Meet the friends they've made and take a campus tour with them as a guide. Watching the Lumberjack football game was the first time I'd ever seen fog "roll in" then "roll out."
Dr. Beck DDS is the sister-in-law of a friend of mine. She is supposed to be very good. 1955 Central Avenue, McKinleyville, CA 95519-3605. (707) 839-1100
List from Delta Dental: Please verify the participation status with the dentist for the desired location.