While heading off to college is super exciting, it can be totally nerve-wracking.
In many cases, it may be the first time you live outside of your family home and leaving things that have been familiar for so many years. You might be moving on campus, getting a house-share or living in digs. Whatever your set-up, it’s natural for it to feel a little daunting.
For me, I remember the weeks leading up to moving to Dublin for college. I was so excited by the prospect of studying something I was passionate about, meeting new friends and becoming an adult. I was planning my outfits, figuring out how I was going to decorate my new room and planning conversation starters in my head for all the new people I was going to meet. The excitement was huge, and yet, there was a part of me too that was totally freaked out. I remember casually talking about what to pack with my mom before, all of a sudden, I burst into messy, ugly, snotty tears. I was going to miss her, my house, my school and all my friends. She admitted that she was emotional too, but totally excited for me. The big cry and the honest chat did me the world of good, and helped me to figure out how best to make the transition easier.
If any of this sounds familiar, check out 5 things you can do to make the transition as easy as possible!
Remember it’s natural
There’s so much conversation about how exciting and new your college years are. That part is totally true. You’ll make new friends, get a sense of independence and hopefully study something you really care about. But it doesn’t mean that you’re not going to be a bit nervous. The first thing you need to do is remember that it’s totally natural to feel a bit scared or apprehensive about a new chapter of your life, especially in the weeks leading up to the big move. You won’t be the only one who feels like this (good luck finding someone who isn’t even a little nervous!) so keep this in mind and don’t be hard on yourself for feeling very natural feelings.
Keep in touch with home
Leaving siblings, parents or guardians and even friends for the first time is a big deal. Firstly, make sure to be honest with people, tell them you’re looking forward to it but you’ll really miss them too! Whether you’re super close with your mam or you can’t imagine not spending every day with your bestie, it helps sometimes to say things out loud. It can be as simple as saying ‘I’ll miss this! But weekends are going to be even more exciting now!’. When you do head off and make the big move, don’t be afraid to ring up your parent, guardian or the person you miss most and let them know. They’ll be thinking of you too, so it will help to keep in touch and check in on each other.
Take some home comforts
Whether you have a comfortable blanket you’ve had on your bed for years, a favourite teddy, photos, or a candle scent that you associate with your bedroom at home, having a piece of home can make all the difference if you’re feeling a little homesick and want a quick reminder of your comforts. This can be pretty therapeutic too because while you fill your college room with new things and add some pieces of home, it can help reinforce the idea that your new chapter doesn’t have to cut you off from the previous one. Instead, it’s about a new stage of your current life.
While it’s great to call home on a Tuesday night or cuddle your favourite teddy when you’re sad, the best thing to do if you’re nervous or worried about making friends is to simply try! Everyone is in the same boat heading off to college and everyone wants to meet like-minded people they can form friendships with. The great thing about colleges and universities is that the Students’ Union will set up lots of events to help you get to know people. There will also be lots of clubs and societies that you can join where you’re guaranteed to meet people who have the same interests, while doing something fun. So put yourself out there and you won’t regret it when you have a brilliant bunch of new pals in a few months time!
Reach out for support
Nerves are natural, and it’s okay to feel a little lonely or shy right away, but if you’re feeling super down, sad, or unmotivated in your first few weeks of college (or at any point) there’s so much help available to you. Most colleges will have a welfare officer who works in the SU who you can get in touch with at any time to discuss your worries, they’ll either give you a supportive ear, offer you supports, or refer you to someone who can help you even more. Most colleges also have a doctor, nurse and in-house counsellor who you can see free of charge. There are so many supports for students while in college, so never be afraid to avail of them to ensure you have the best time possible during those exciting years.
We’d like to say a big thank you to our lovely Megan for sharing some tips from her college experience! Fancy sharing some of yours? Head over to our socials and let us know 🙂
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