Going away to college is one of the most significant transitions you will ever face.
In the days leading up to your big move, you likely experience a mixture of anxiety, excitement, and sadness. It can be challenging to handle all of these emotions.
Fortunately, if you take a step back and consider all of the challenges individually, you can find solutions to make them seem less daunting. Consider these steps to help make your college transition smooth and painless.
Saying Goodbye to Loved Ones
Saying goodbyes is arguably the most challenging part of any big move. If you’ve lived with your parents at home up until this point in your life, leaving that safe space can feel terrifying.
You may feel overwhelmed about the prospect of being on your own or living with a roommate. Just know that these feelings are entirely normal and you will overcome them.
When you’re saying goodbye to your parents, have a scheduled time for them to come to visit you. Invite your friends to come to visit for a weekend. Have a phone call or video chat with your mom once a week.
Merely knowing that you will remain in contact with those you love can make the initial move seem much less scary and intimidating.
Living with a Roommate
Learning to live with a roommate can be tricky. Whether you’re living with a friend or a stranger, odds are you are entering new territory.
For a roommate situation to work out, you must be very upfront with your boundaries. Communication is key. Have a conversation with your roommate about how you want the room to be set up, what time you typically go to sleep, what time you wake up, etc.
It may seem mundane to lay out all of this information, but if you have such boundaries laid out, your roommate will be aware of them and will hopefully respect them. You may find areas in which you need to compromise. You may disagree with some of their opinions, and them yours.
Learning to live with a roommate is a big challenge, but an important one to navigate gracefully.
It can be incredibly scary, going away to college and not knowing anyone. If you do happen to know someone else who goes to the same school, this can be a great way to start being social and hopefully branch out.
Your college will most likely have clubs and organizations that you can join, which is the best way to meet like-minded people. Your dorm might host social events in which you can meet other people who live nearby. Or, you can socialize in your classes.
Finding friends can be extremely daunting, and you may feel shy or uncertain. Keep in mind that everyone feels this way when they’re first starting college, and if you put yourself out there, you will find your crowd.
Navigating Schoolwork and Social Life
Although you’re going to college to learn, the first couple weeks of classes will likely be a blur. You may add or drop classes, so your schedule might not even be finalized for a couple of weeks. Getting in the swing of school takes time, and you should be easy on yourself.
Focus on school, and then slowly try to integrate social activities. A challenge throughout all four years of college is finding a school/social life balance. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but always keep your eyes on the prize.
It can be easy to fall into patterns of skipping class when no one is there to force you to go. Be responsible, be mindful, but also have fun.
Reaching Out for Help
Being able to go to college is a huge privilege and a once in a lifetime opportunity. Make the most of your chance, both academically and socially.
Keep these tips in mind when you feel overwhelmed with the transitions—and remember that you can always reach out for help. Campuses will have resources for mental health, and you can always confide in loved ones if you are struggling.
It may take time, but you will overcome the challenges and fall into a routine. Make the most of your experience; it goes by in the blink of an eye!
Please contact our office today if you’d like support as you transition to college.