As someone who just finished her first year of college, I still remember how exciting and nerve-wracking the summer before college can be. By now, the suspense is probably killing you as you wonder how life at school will be different from life at home. Well, let me tell you—extremely different! But different doesn’t mean scary, all it means is that you need some extra mental preparation. Here are a few pointers I wish I’d had before leaving for college.
You’ll get sick a lot freshman year; a new environment means new germs your body is unaccustomed to, so cold and flu season will be year round for you. But what’s worse than all of those stuffy noses and stomach pains is the heartache you’ll feel for your family. I never expected to miss my family and hometown so much, and I definitely would have appreciated fair warning about that! Make a calling or skype schedule with your family right away, and make sure you stick to it, otherwise homesickness will strike suddenly and you won’t know why you’re so sad!
Nothing grows on trees. Not soap, not deodorant, not even toilet paper! Even if you live on campus and your college is very generous, you’ll still have to buy necessities like those while you’re at school. And everything costs money! So make sure you account for your essentials when budgeting your funds monthly.
You should never feel awkward about sitting down next to a stranger in the dining hall, hoping a friendship will blossom there. The truth is, everyone is just as desperate for friendship as you are! Everyone is in a new place hoping to find a sense of belonging. Maybe you can provide that for each other, but you’ll never know until you take a risk and talk to them.
Growing up is a process that starts the day you're born—emphasis on the word process! This process is ongoing; adulthood isn't a switch you turn on and off. It's okay if you don't feel completely mature and independent your first day of college. Call your mom when you're nervous, ask your older sister for advice when you need it, google "how to write a check" when you realize you still know very little about the real world. It's OK! The fact that you are the same person in college as you were in high school might scare you, but you can find comfort when you realize you aren't in this alone.
A lot of people think that they've grown up between senior year of high school and freshman year of college. They don't even bother testing their limits; they push right past them and party hard, drink too much, etc. because they think that's what grown ups do. Be aware when you are going out with your friends that they might not know when to stop, and try to take care of them. Practice self-awareness too and ease yourself into adulthood instead of diving in head first.
If you are moving somewhere new, things will be different. The average girl at your school might be thinner, prettier, or richer than what you're used to. That doesn't mean you're any less beautiful or valuable than you are now, and will always be! Try not to compare yourself to other people and maintain your confidence, because nothing makes you glow like self-love!
When I started college, I adopted the mindset of "College Sabrina". College Sabrina worked more hours than she needed to, studied all of the time, and scheduled every minute of her life. College Sabrina had her life together, but she was really unhappy! It took me a long time to realize that I could pause my day to paint my nails and binge-watch Netflix when I needed a mental break. Don't be like college Sabrina! Keep on living your life the way you did in high school, instead of becoming some miserable, no-nonsense college robot.
Yes, this one has to be on the list! If you don't already know how, you need to learn. No one will be there to do it for you and you really don't want to run out of clean underwear or run into a cute boy not wearing your fave jeans because they're dirty. So seriously... Laundry!
It may seem tempting to reach for your cell phone when dining alone or sitting in your dorm, however, you look very unapproachable when you do this. Instead, set the phone aside and see if anyone is willing to come up and talk to you. Or if you're in your room, maybe get to know your roommate. You might end up finding your new BFF in her!
We all have a plan when going off to college-usually! So when you get there and you discover you're classes just aren't interesting you like you originally planned, it's okay to switch your major. Don't be afraid to start a new dream rather than feel obligated to be stuck in the one you don't like because it was what you set your life to.
Between packing your bags and mentally decorating your dorm, make sure to prepare yourself for the changes you are about to face. I know you'll handle the transition to college with grace and confidence, as long as you are adequately prepared! What other changes are you nervous to face?
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