Last Thursday my College Journey post was all about packing and what to bring. And, as a reminder, I'll be posting these the last to Thursdays of every month for the foreseeable future.
Now, after you've finished packing it's time to leave. For some people it's going to be incredibly hard, you won't want to say goodbye to friends, family, pets, or stuff. For others it's exciting and you can wait for the new adventure. Most people will experience both. And everyone will be nervous. Because, chances are, it's your first time away from home living on your own. Not everything will be up to you, but this is a mark of you becoming a bona-fide adult! Isn't that terrifying? You'll learn to love it.
I don't want to scare you too badly. But I do want you to understand the reality that it's okay to be frightened of the unknown that's about to be shoved your way. It's a natural reaction and in this case the best way to treat it is just to go with the flow of it. Talk to someone about how you feel, rant on the internet, or write it down in a notebook. I hope with this post I can guide you through some of the rougher patches, so that when you do leave you know it's going to be okay.
First off: leave your room the way you want to return to it. This is a mistake I made. While my room wasn't a complete disaster when I left for school, it wasn't completely put together and made up nicely. It didn't bother me when I was away, but when I would come back even for a weekend it was so annoying to be dealing with my old mess. It's not worth it, especially when you want a relaxing environment to fall back into when you return for winter break (or whenever you return) so make sure to clean up before you go!
Have a game plan to stay in touch with friends and family. For family I recommend setting aside a certain time every week or day where you can actually call them and talk to them. I don't have a set time, but I also don't talk to my parents on the phone that often. While that's fine now, and something I'm totally used to, for the first few weeks it was hard to not know when they would call or if it would be when I had time. You may not have your schedule when you leave for school, but as soon as you get it work something out with loved ones you want to touch base with regularly. For friends I try to keep an open correspondence with them. I try to write handwritten letters because it's so nice to get things in the mail and I try to text each of them at least once a week. Everyone has their own lives which get in the way, though, so don't feel awful if it's not contact all the time like you may be used to. My friends go to schools pretty far from me and we still manage to talk, though not as frequently as we used to. Our relationships are still pretty great! Of course you'll also be making new friends at your school so don't worry about being lonely.
Have some good food for the two days before you leave. Where I go to school, at least, there just aren't very many restaurants nor do I get decent home cooked meals. So the two days before I leave (more like three actually) I make it a point to only eat the food I know I won't get the chance to eat during the semester. Whether it's restaurants that are only near my house, places to expensive for me to afford without my parents, or something my mom makes in the kitchen, it's nice to have these things before you have to say goodbye to them as well.
On the same note, stop in at your favorite stores. It shouldn't be a surprise that I will be stopping in at the two local Barnes and Noble's by me before I wave my little town goodbye. At school the nearest one is an hour away and while I don't mind the drive I can't go all the time when I want a new book or just to enjoy the atmosphere. I'll also be stopping into a few other places that I won't be able to see again for a while.
You've finished packing, but it's best to double check you have everything. First of all, you don't want to forget something super obvious, which can happen if you don't pack it away. My blanket for example. I probably wouldn't forget it, but I can't pack it until the day I leave. Things like my hairbrush, though, which I'll use until I go are easily forgettable. You want to go through your room and your house and make a mental checklist of stuff deciding whether you will need it at school and how important it is.
Sign up for Amazon student prime. If you haven't done this already, seriously do. It's well worth it. Just search up Amazon Student Prime and you'll find links that will guide you through the process. How it works is that you feed it a .edu email address to prove you're a student (or a teacher because actually they can do this it's nice). For the first six months you get free prime, albeit a version of prime that leaves out the streaming services. You do get free two day shipping though (which is what I use for everything I swear it's a life saver!) and same-day release delivery for book preorders. After the six months are up you get the option to renew the prime service, for half the price of regular prime but with all the features that you didn't get before. And man is it worth it! I strongly recommend it.
Finally, keep your chin up and smile. You'll be back, and while homesickness may hit, it will also pass. School will go well and while it may be a hard transition you'll be able to do it. I believe in you. And so does this puppy ;)