The 10 Emotional Stages Of Moving Away From Home For The First Time

by Megan Cary

I recently moved across the country for school. I completed my undergrad two years ago at a different school, where I lived four hours away from my parents and hometown.

However, a four-hour drive doesn't compare to the daunting seven-hour flight. Moving away is hard, whether you've done it before or it's your first move. The distance can be daunting, and your first day in a new city is always the hardest.

Listed below is the emotional roller coaster I rode during my first 24 hours in my new city.

1. Helplessness

Before my departure, I was busy getting ready. I don't think I fully accepted the reality of everything because I was too busy.

I worried about packing and the flight. However, once I landed, I had nothing left to plan or stress about.

I began unpacking my two suitcases in my beautiful new bedroom. I had socks in my hands and thought “I don't know where these go.”

And that tiny thought caused my breakdown. It was all because I couldn't decide which drawer to put my socks in.

I started panicking because I didn't know where to put anything, and I didn't know the WiFi password. I couldn't find any tissues. I cried for about half an hour, socks still in hand.

2. Determined Action

Once I found my tissues, I forced myself to put away the socks. I put on music and got to work.

I assertively made decisions about where things should go (even though I reorganized later). I finished unpacking quickly, as I only had two suitcases. Morale was high, and my confidence building.

3. Boredom

Feeling accomplished, albeit a little lost, I sat on my bed and contemplated my next move. There was nothing left to do, and I barely knew anyone.

How do I kill time here? I had a long shower (not long enough). I stared in silence for 10 minutes.

4. Hatred Of Time Differences

After my shower, it was 7:00 pm, which felt like 10:00 pm. I had been up since 5:00 am, which is really 2:00 am. It was a long day of traveling, and I was exhausted.

However, I knew going to bed early would mean not adjusting to the time difference and waking up early and so on. I tried to fight my tiredness, but had no success.

Capitulating to my bed, I fell asleep half an hour later (and woke up with the sun the following morning).

5. Shock

After a horrible sleep, I woke up to a house with no coffee. I puttered around, and then I realized I didn't have anything I needed and didn't know where to get anything I needed.

I quietly did nothing about it.

6. Determined Action (Take Two)

After a push from a friend and roommate, I ran some errands with their help.

7. Overwhelmed (Take Two)

After trying to grocery shop and realizing I needed everything, I once again felt overwhelmed and helpless. I couldn't make decisions.

I bought a few necessities and went home to think about how screwed I was (very screwed, in case you were wondering).

8. Denial

I was no longer crying or freaking out. Moving away felt like such an obvious mistake, one my friends and family never would have let me make.

I concluded I was definitely part of a test or social experiment, and I would soon be yanked back to my old life. I happily awaited the friendly tug back to the familiar.

However, being in denial — knowing I wouldn't have to handle everything for much longer — I was able to be more confident and assertive.

In my denial, I grew comfortable in my new home.

9. Confidence

I was settling in. After surviving a day, I realized I probably could be successful here.

10. Acceptance

I guess? It still hasn't fully come yet.