If you’re feeling scared about moving to college or away from home, there are lots of ways to ease your concerns before you go. You can get started with some steps long before you make the move to get a feel for your new surroundings.
Sign Up for Notices from Your College
Most colleges provide a freshmen update to new students, letting you know about events and activities related to the start of your college life. Make sure you’re on your college’s mailing list or check the web page regularly for updates. Sign up for as many activities as possible; even if you’re shy and retiring, you’ll find adapting a lot easier if you jump in with both feet!
Arrive in Time for Orientation
Orientation is the best way to meet your fellow students, both in your dorm and campus-wide. From bar hopping to sports events, there’s usually something for all interests. Some colleges connect incoming students with seniors who take the newcomers on familiarity tours around campus and show them where all the resources are located.
Don’t Arrive Too Early
Homesickness usually hits when you have time on your hands, so try to plan your move for a few days before starting the term. This will give you time to settle in, tour the grounds, introduce yourself to fellow students, and just hang out.
Join Clubs and Sports Teams
Before you move, check out the sports clubs and activities that your college offers. Joining clubs or teams is a great way to get to know students from different backgrounds and different educational departments. Make a list of the clubs you’d like to join, note their meeting times, and create a timetable for your first few weeks.
Get Together With Friends
As you plan your move to college, make sure you leave loads of time to spend with friends. While you might think this time together will make it more difficult to leave, you’ll find that your friends become your greatest support .
Spend Time in Old Haunts
Say goodbye to favorite places—even though you’ll be back to visit now and again. Just take your time to savor the moment but also to reflect on all the great new adventures you’re going to have, the new haunts that you’ll be calling your own, and the new friends you’re going to meet.
Stay in Touch
Open the channels of communication and get your contacts in order before you move away:
- Create your own blog or website. If you don’t already have a blog, create one. Post photos, write about your experience and ask friends to post comments. It’s a great way to stay in touch with your past as well as to also say “hello” to your future. And at the end of your first year, you can look back and reflect on the changes and celebrate your victories!
- Gather your contacts. Collect contact information for friends and family members, but also teachers, coaches, guidance counselors, employers, and neighbors. You never know when you’ll need to get in touch to ask for advice or a reference.
- Make a deal with your parents. Before you leave, talk to your parents about your communication plan. Parents may insist that you call home once a week (or more often) so make sure you let them know how often you’ll call and what you might need from them in terms of emotional support. You might find that you want to speak with them every night for the first couple of weeks, then that might change to once or twice a week. Whatever arrangement you make, be sure that your parents also feel comfortable with it.
Take a Trip
If you have time, try to arrange a visit to the campus before you move. It’ll help you orient yourself and find out what you’ll need to take with you. Visiting means that you get to spend some time in the new city or town. Take some time to explore your new neighborhood, visit your dorm, or to find a place to live if you’ll be off-campus. Try to arrange a visit early in the summer so that you have lots of time to make the necessary arrangements for your move.