Whether you are a senior in high school or a senior in college going on to grad school in the fall, preparing for college can be a tough and stressful time. For some, it is your first time on your own, away from home and for others, it's more time away from family. No matter where you stand in your college journey, there is a common theme among everyone: you are excited. And this is good; you are starting a new chapter of your life and get to experience so many new things.
Going away to college for the first time is something that is a special experience. You will make new friends, new memories, and get to take classes on your schedule and study things you want to learn about. One of the beauties of college is you can make your own schedule. If you are not a morning person, you can have classes that start later or vice versa - if you are a morning person, you can make all of your classes in the morning. Regardless of what you are, you have the freedom of doing things on your time and according to you, as long as you have time management down.
Time management as you will find out, is going to be a huge thing when you go to college. You will be in charge of your own tasks and getting everything done on time. This can be something as simple as doing laundry weekly and cleaning your sheets, to getting homework and assignments done on time. Professors will give you a week or so to get work done, but you will need to manage your time to ensure you get everything done on time. Personally, I keep a white board in my room that I change every month, filling it out with the assignments, projects, and any additional schedule items I will have that month. Being able to see my month and week in advance helps me to prioritize what needs to get done and when it needs to be done by. If I am able to look and see that I have three assignments due Thursday but a test on Tuesday, I will know I need to spend my time studying for that test first, and then going back to my assignments instead of doing the assignments first because they are shorter. By being able to see everything from a glance, it makes it easier to manage my time in a way that I do not fall short on what needs to get done and in the most efficient way possible.
When you first go away to college, it is not uncommon to become homesick. It is the first time you are on your own without your parents or family members right around the corner. Often you are in a new and unfamiliar place by yourself so you can find yourself missing home. As scary as it may be, it's good to remember that you are never alone. Whether you miss your family, your friends, or even your pets, no one is ever further than a phone call away. And it helps that you get to go home every so often for breaks. When at college, you are going to make unforgettable memories with new people and then be able to go home and tell your family and friends how happy you are. You will reach a point where you will be calling college your home and will yearn to go back and be with your friends.
Knowing your interests is also going to be a huge part of going away and will ultimately make the transition easier for you. Whether this means you enjoy playing sports, reading or writing, building things, acting, or anything else, joining a club will help you. By joining a club you get to make new friends right away that you already have things in common. You don’t have to worry about not finding friends right away if you join a club. Even if joining a club isn’t for you, there are still so many different options of ways to get involved and meet new people who you have things in common with.
Ultimately going away to college is going to be a stressful time regardless of where you are in life. You are either going to wait until the last minute to get everything you need like books and supplies, or you are going to be packed and ready months in advance as the excitement takes over. You are going to pack and unpack and pack again to be sure you have everything you need. The shoes, the clothes, the bedding, the decorations, and everything in between, you have it and you’ll be ready. Having things that make you feel comfortable and at home is what will help you transition and not get too homesick.
No matter when you are ready to go, the day will come and it will be unbelievable. It will be better than you ever could have imagined. You will make friends, you will succeed, you will find your place here at college, and you will discover yourself in a way you never thought you could. College has the expectation that it is and will be, the best four years of your life. Trust me when I tell you it will be so much more than that. You won’t want to leave, but first you just have to get here. I promise you though that shirt that looks so good but you haven't worn in two years, you won’t need it. Plus it will save you room for apparel from the place you’ll call home for four years, and the place you’ll never want to leave but come back to periodically to reminisce.
Paige Martin, ‘21
Marketing major, Digital Intern
First Year Students