College is often referred to as the best years of a young person’s life. Set aside the opportunities for parties and hanging out with some really awesome people, and you are left with some scary things. First of all, there is leaving the comfort of home. Second, there is leaving the familiar surroundings of your hometown. Another downside is leaving your friends behind. If all of this isn’t bad enough, you will also have to learn to do your own laundry and feed yourself! It almost makes you want to consider staying home.
There are many positive aspects to going away to college. On the bright side, there is having more freedom, meeting new people and of course expanding your knowledge. With all of the pros and cons weighed, you have decided to give college a chance. Now, what? Well, now you have to prepare yourself and your things, for the college experience.
Decide on living quarters
You will have to figure out if you are going to live in the dorms or get your place close to campus. Some students elect to live in the dorms for awhile and then when they can afford a place, they move out. This is more of an affordability thing rather than the preference for most students. Off campus housing can be rather expensive because you not only have living expenses, but you also have to worry about transportation to and from the college.
If living on campus is just something you cannot do, then be prepared to get a job (or two) and possibly a couple of roommates (with jobs). Neither of these propositions are bad, in fact, they can make a living off campus a whole lot easier. Try to remember that since you are going to college to further your education, taking on a demanding job and/or party animal roommates can take its toll on you and your studies.
Talk with loved ones
Start with your immediate family and sit them down and express your concerns and excitement about going to college. There is no doubt your parents are very proud of you and will be more than willing to listen to you. The fact is, your parents probably have a few concerns/comments of their own to share with you.
Your friends may be going through the same excitement and anxiety as you. If they are preparing to go to college also, then talking about it might help them too. You do not want your friends to feel like they are unimportant to you now, so try to make time for them before you head off to campus.
Pack important things
As you are packing your things to take to college, remember to grab some important personal items. Things like family photos, a favorite blanket, and even your beloved stuffed animal can all bring comfort during your time away from home. The college campus will be a new and unfamiliar environment, and having some comforting reminders of home can work wonders toward easing anxiety.
There is one more very good reason for packing special items; they are part of who you are and where you came from. College can bring about wonderful changes in people as they grow from teenagers into adults. All people change as they grow and learn, but the one thing they want to remember is where they came from. Family, friends and home life helped to shape people into who they are and who they will become, it is best not to forget them.
Most people have cell phones nowadays and that makes keeping in contact with loved ones easier than it was in the past. Even if you do not have a cell phone, you can still keep in contact via your computer through emails and live chat. Technology is truly a wonderful thing when people are away from loved ones.
Another avenue to explore is scheduling visits home when possible and having loved ones come to your campus. Most colleges have visiting days/weekends when friends and family can come and take part in fun activities and tour the school. Take advantage of every possible opportunity to see loved ones in person. Travel can be expensive, depending on how far away your home is, but it is worth the effort.
Take care of business
Before actually heading to the college, make sure you have all of your paperwork in order. There is nothing more embarrassing than to show up with all of your stuff, just to realize that you have forgotten to bring and/or fill out necessary forms.
School supplies are not a thing of the past either; you need text books, paper, and pens, computer and other supplies for your classes. It is not acceptable to arrive to any class unprepared.
College can be an amazing and rewarding experience for students. They have the chance to expand their knowledge base, meet new and interesting people and enjoy the first taste of being on their own. The transformation from teenager to adult can be very satisfying for both the student and his/her loved ones.
The biggest challenge when preparing to go to college is working through the emotions. There are excitement, fear, anxiety, sadness and even a little loneliness that may pose a problem. This is why college students should pack special items and openly communicate with loved ones before going to, and while attending, college.