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Packing And Shipping For The Stressed College Student by Mercedes Sowards

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For many college students, bouncing back and forth between living on campus and then at home gets old and expensive very quickly. Christmas break is always just a few days longer than you are willing to live out of a suitcase, but with limited space on airlines, trains, buses, and cars, it makes deciding what and how to pack a stressful job. On top of packing concerns, finals require much attention as they are begrudgingly studied for, possibly cried over, reluctantly taken, and hopefully passed with a hail mary and high marks before a student can even turn their focus, or rather lack of focus, to packing up for semester breaks. Needless to say, the ability to have help packing up and shipping items with guaranteed safety to wherever is home before finals even begin is a fantastic way to spend money, free up time, and alleviate stress.

I attend college at Brigham Young University - Hawaii on the island of Oahu. Not only am I over two thousand miles from home, but a whole ocean away! Traveling to and from school is a chore I never look forward to. Space on airlines and my budget limit the amount of luggage I can bring along with me, and being a habitual over packer, this is a major challenge. My third semester I realized how much easier this could be if I could convince the mail center at school to hold my mail for a few days before I arrived on campus. It worked so well I repeat this routine leaving and returning to the island. I shipped all the the clothes and shoes I could go without for a few days, along with heavy and/or awkwardly shaped items that give me problems while traveling. What a difference it made! Flying back to Hawaii was an absolute dream! Not just because I was flying back to paradise, but because all I had to lug around the airport was one regular suitcase and a small carry on.

The safety of my items is also a major concern I have had while traveling back and forth. I have had only negative experiences with transporting delicate and fragile items on airlines. Being an avid surfer since the age of four, I have tried every trick there is in the book to keep my boards safe and damage free between flights, but to no avail. Ever. One board or another always comes off the flight with a new ding, scratch, broken fin, or pressure divot. Besides larger items, I also have many porcelain, clay, and wooden bowls and wall decorations that I collect from vacations. I have had a more than a few broken in my suitcases by airlines no matter how many shirts, bubble wrap, towels, or jackets I carefully wrapped them in. Having my items professionally packed and shipped would completely resolve this issue for my surfboards, collectibles, and anything else that is breakable. For example, one semester I shipped my record player and all my records, which are very fragile and carry quite a bit emotional value of mine. I held my breath as I opened the boxes, and to my relief everything was in the exact condition I had sent it off in!

Because of my great need for and experience with shipping services, I have a few ideas about making the process more efficient, more environmentally conscious, and easier for the struggling student. When moving onto and off of an island, it is more cost effective to ship a car you know is reliable from the mainland, than to buy a car on the island that is already rusted and may have experienced flood damage. If you are buying new this does not apply, but I do not know of any college student who could afford a new car. Shipping cars and shipping boxes of items is actually pretty similar. The travel time is extremely close, drop off and pick up hours and locations are identical, and pricing is fairly close (depending on the weight and amount of boxes being shipped). I would love to find a shipping company who would allow those shipping vehicles to load their cars up with boxes that contain their belongings. Customers go to the port, get in their car, and drive away! No unloading and reloading of boxes necessary! Not only would this help save the consumer time, energy, and ease the burden on their wallet, but it could assist the health of planet as well. It could lower the pollution emitted from burning fuels, and possibly lessen the effect of oil spills if shipping across oceans can be consolidated. Another way to ease tension on both the consumer and the planet is to give the customer a slight discount if the opt to use recyclable and biodegradable materials for packaging, or self pack their items. Personally, I am very particular about how I pack my things. Self packing items can also relieve some liability from the shipping company. If an item that was self packed gets damaged, it can be chalked up to inadequate packing by the customer.

Overall, I think all students need assistance in transporting their belongings between campus and home. It is not an easy process that can get expensive very quickly. Having items professionally packed, shipped, and delivered can greatly alleviate stress off of already busy students.


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