11 last-minute things you can do before you get to Dal

You've likely taken care of the big to-dos by now, so here are some smaller ones that you can tackle.

Checklist Photo: Suzy Hazelwood
This article was updated in August 2023.

1. Look over the orientation schedule(s)

Dal offers a handful of different orientation sessions, so it's important to know a bit about each one before September so you know which sessions are right for you. DSU O-Week in Halifax offers fun events for everyone, allowing you to choose the types of events you want to attend. The New to Dal programming offers both in-person and online sessions on Brightspace to help prepare you for your first year and beyond.

In Truro, the New to Dal orientation programming ranges from the online modules that introduce you to support services, to fun in-person events like bonfires and the bubbly Slip 'n Slide!

2. Get familiar with Dal Speak

If you've never been to Nova Scotia or Dal, it helps to be informed of the lingo! We're are a great bunch here but you'll need to understand what everyone's talking about! So head over to Dal Speak to get your slang ready.

3. Make a "homesick" pack

There may be times when you're really missing home. Do yourself a favour and bring your favourite snacks, movies and photos from home to make you feel better!

Check to see if Nova Scotia will have the ingredients and spices for home cooking and bring them with you if they don't. A list of ethnic grocery stores in Halifax can be found on our New Students website.

4. Donate what didn't make the cut

If you're moving to Halifax or Truro for the first time, considering donating items that don't make the cut to travel with you! Clothes, books and other items are helpful to local shelters and charities.

5. Do a practice load of laundry

Trust us on this one. Even if you've been doing your own laundry for years (you go!), it helps to remind yourself one last time before you're doing it on your own. The last thing you want is your white tees to turn pink or to have to wait until the Thanksgiving long weekend to do your first load.

6. See your doctor

Get your yearly check-up, make sure you're up to date for your immunizations, and fill your prescriptions!

7. Set up your DalCard

Get your DalCard, set up your PIN for residence access (Halifax only), and deposit money so you can earn 5% back at the Dal Bookstore and other DalCard vendors. If you're starting in September, you can even submit your photo online before you're on campus so your DalCard will be ready for you to pick up and use by the time you arrive!

8. Update your resume

If you're thinking of getting an on- or off-campus job, start looking early! The first step is updating your resume. Not sure how to make a resume? Visit the Career Services website for resources to build your "career tools" (resume, cover letter). You can also check for open jobs anytime on myCareer!

9. Set goals

Whenever you're going through a huge life transition, it's helpful to set goals for what you want to accomplish. I would suggest making a few goals for your first semester at Dal. They can be academic goals, personal goals, or financial goals. Try to make them S.M.A.R.T. — specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time bound.

You can also make an appointment with an advisor to review your goals when you get here!

10. Follow social media accounts

Follow @dalstudentlife, @dalacstudentlife, @dalhousieu, @dalagriculture, and @dalstudentunion on your socials to stay updated on what's happening on campus. And don't forget to download the Dal Mobile app and the DalSAFE app!

You should also follow @dal_memes, @hfxnoise, and @thecoasthalifax on Instagram to stay in the know or have a few laughs.

11. Spend time with your family & friends

It's going to be weird to not see them all the time, so spend time with them while you can! Eat your favourite home-cooked meals, go for a drive with your friends, and snuggle up with your pets. Make sure you get your friend's new addresses too so you can exchange postcards!