1. Just commit.
If I could sum up the advice I give most in one word it would be COMMIT. As Nike would say: “Just Do It.” You’re brave enough to move away, but now go, and go wholeheartedly without regrets. You’re probably going to be nervous to move to a place where you know one or two people, or no one at all. You may be worried about your new town because you’ve never even lived in a different house, let alone a different state. I was a nervous, worried, excited, emotional wreck when I moved away – and it took a while but I got there- and you can’t get there if you never leave in the first place.
2. Keep in touch.
I’m the type of person who sends my parents a quick text or call nearly daily. While I know that can seem like a lot, but it works for me – and it saves me from having one or two multi-hour long phone calls per month. Keep in touch with friends too. Friends at home can be your biggest support system and probably know you better than most of your college friends will at first. Share your new experiences with them – but don’t spend all our time on Facetime or chatting with them because you want to spend your first few months actually meeting new humans and making new connections, not just on the interwebs. Pro-tip: Call while you’re walking to class, that way you can dictate how long the conversation lasts. 10 minute walk to class, perfect amount of time to chat with Mom.
3. Roll with the punches.
When you move away for college to a new town you are going to have many new experiences, both positive and negative. From living on your own, to sharing a tiny room with another human being, to buying groceries for the first time, this will likely be a time of firsts. But that’s what’s great about moving away to college – you get to learn so many new things once you leave your comfort zone. Things will go wrong (ooops! you shrunk your fave shirt)and you will do things you’ve never done before, but go with the flow and trust it will all be okay.
4. Get involved, seriously.
(In more than just academics.) Now this is a classic piece of advice, but it couldn’t be more important. I became involved in Greek life right off the bat, and I’ve said it time and time again: I don’t think I would’ve made it four years away without the friendships and support it gave me. So whether it is Greek life, a club, an intramural sport, a job – these things will not only add a some fun into your academic schedule, but they will allow you to get to know your new town and to get to know new people.
5. You will get lonely / sad.
It’s inevitable. Unless you are some sort of unemotional creature, the chances are you will get lonely at some point. Maybe you’ll get the blues after a month every semester, or when you can’t celebrate your birthday with family. It will pass, but not it won’t pass easily if you don’t do anything about it. You will miss Easters and Thanksgivings but make the most of it with new friends that can become family. Do something to help the lonely feelings and know that most people ultimately will be feeling the same.
In sum: Everyone has a different collegiate experience, especially when making a big move away home. Keeping a positive mind is hard, but just know even if it’s tough, it goes by quickly so enjoy every minute. Enjoy the ride.