15 Things To Know Before Leaving For College & Saying Goodbye To Your Hometown
Your hometown and the people in it have likely played an important role in your life. You might not have lived away from home for a long period of time before, so going off to college can be an intimidating thought at first. I mean, how do you even know how to "college," if you've never done it before? Well, you can't predict the future, but there are some things to know before leaving for college that you can keep with you, even if you have to say goodbye to the place you grew up for the time being.
It's important to be open to receiving advice before taking this next big step. You'll learn something new almost every single day of your freshman year, and those lessons won't always be taught in a classroom. College is full of eager, passionate students like yourself who are willing to learn and make the most of this milestone. By the time you finish your four years, you'll rack up a bunch of those ah-ha moments.
Now, I know you're going to be scanning the map of your campus for directions, but keeping these 15 tips in mind beforehand will give you some useful guidance, too.
1. It's OK To Be Nervous, But "Goodbye" Isn't Forever
It's so bittersweet saying goodbye to a place and people you have known since day one. It's important to keep in mind that you're not leaving forever, though, and you'll be back soon enough to visit during breaks. Your hometown will always have a special place in your heart.
2. Embrace New Opportunities
Do you have an opportunity to land a part-time job freshman year? You might not have balanced a class schedule and work before, but see how it goes. College is going to hand you a bunch of opportunities like this if you're open to them.
3. Make Room For New Friends, Because You're Not Replacing Your Crew At Home
You're a loyal AF friend. That doesn't mean you should close yourself off from making new friendships in college, because you don't want your hometown friends to think you've replaced them. You have a big heart that's more than capable of befriending a bunch of cool people.
4. Some Things May Not Go According To Plan
When you go off to college, you could have a set major in mind. Once you get there, you might take a few courses you love that point you in an entirely different direction. It's key to remember that college isn't about having a 10-year plan by the time you get to your first class. Change is inevitable, and you've got to be patient with it.
5. Keep An Open Mind
You have to remember that young adults like yourself are coming from all over the globe to attend the same college as you. Your views might not be the same as the person sitting next to you in history class. Everyone has a right to their own opinions.
6. You're An Adult, But You Can Still Call Home If You Need To
Yes, your parents sent you off to college, but don't let your "I'm legally an adult" pride get in the way of calling them when you want to hear their voices. You might just want to catch up on the phone, and trust me, they're waiting for your call.
7. Take Advantage Of Free Campus Events
Free campus events usually have free food. Trust me, you'll miss all of the freebies when you're in the real world after college and you're paying for rent every single month. Take the pizza now while you can, because it's free.
8. You Still Need A Self-Care Day Every Now And Then
I'm guilty of working my butt off in college and not designating time to cater to all of my needs. Don't let anyone convince you that because you're young, you don't need to set aside some "me time" to recharge. Get in the habit of giving yourself a self-care day now, so you can get in the habit of doing it.
9. You Don't Have To Be The Same Person You Were When You Left Home
I'm not saying that you have to force yourself to be brand new, but don't feel obligated to be exactly who you were when you left your hometown. Spread your wings and fly. Let your mind, interests, and style wander however you see fit. Your family and hometown friends are going to love you regardless.
10. It's OK If You Don't Talk To Your Hometown Friends Every Day
You might lose touch with your hometown friends at times. You won't talk every single day of the week, but the love is still there. You aren't a bad friend, you're just exploring a new path right now, and so are they.
11. Set Your Own Boundaries
You don't have to be down for every plan your roommate has in order to fit in. You can have boundaries. Maybe you need to get to sleep early on Wednesdays for your 7 a.m. class on Thursday. Set boundaries for yourself, and you'll feel so much better off.
12. Be Sure To Find Your Happy Place On Campus
If you've attended your orientation already, maybe you scoped out a couple of spots where you could totally see yourself chilling out or studying. This place could remind you of home, or just make you feel completely relaxed. Every campus has a potential happy place for you, so be sure to find it.
13. Explore Your Interests
Are you really into Greek mythology or poetry? You don't have to make either of these your major, but you can afford to take a class or join a club. You never know where following your passions could take you.
14. Keep Your Music Close
I cannot explain how much music genuinely got me through college. Whether it pumped me up for the first day of class, or pioneered me through finals, it has a strong power to keep you at peace. Oh, and be open to hearing new genres when you can.
15. College Is What You Make Of It
Your college journey isn't going to be identical to someone else's. You make the most of it in whatever way you see fit. You set the pace for this next chapter in your life, so go at your own speed.
College is going to challenge, excite, and shape you in more ways than one. Soak up all that you can, because these four years are going to fly by.