Hey there! Today marks the day that I move into school to start my junior year of college. The time sure does fly by quickly. By this point, I’ve gotten used to the moving in, moving out, packing, etc. I remember feeling so overwhelmed at first with all the packing and organizing I had to do, and I had no idea where to start with anything. Now, it’s gotten a lot easier, to mentally (and physically) tackle it all! Here are my 5 tips to easing the transition.
- Organize beforehand, but know that things will probably not go perfectly according to plan. One thing that I’ve gotten better at is the physical packing part. I recommend having everything that you’ll need in one place put together. For example, I have all my kitchen items/cooking utensils put together, my desk supplies, wall decorations, summer clothing, winter clothing, etc. all grouped together. Then, when I’m unpacking, it’s easier to do just one area at a time. For example, make my bed/put sweats on, take a break, organize my desk. It really makes things so much easier! But also, don’t sweat it if things aren’t perfectly organized. My freshman year, the car was almost perfectly loaded…and then my mom randomly tripped and broke her foot. We ended up way off our schedule but it all worked out in the end. I was really thrown and worried, but I got moved in and everything worked out anyway. Know that accidents happen, but you will totally figure it all out.
- Stock up on your favorite goodies and pantry staples. One thing I quickly realized during my freshman orientation was that meals were not on my schedule, and the dining halls didn’t always have things I liked. Even now, sometimes I’ll want a meal at 3pm, which is just not a time when I can get anything. So now, I make sure I have a variety of quick meals and snacks available if I don’t like anything being served, or it’s a weird time of day for a meal. Here’s a snapshot of the pantry items I’m bringing. I also am planning on getting some produce, refrigerated, and frozen items.
- Give yourself time to laugh, to cry, to be alone, to adjust, or to just do what’s right for you. Living in a new place or by yourself for the first time takes time to adjust to. I found myself missing my parents and siblings at the strangest and most inconvenient of times. It’s okay to feel homesick, missing your dog, wanting to eat your home cooked meals, or whatever else you may be missing. Recognize your feelings, and accept them. And trust me, everyone will probably feel the way you do at some point (even if it seems like everyone else is doing perfectly, because trust me they’re not). Don’t be afraid to stay in and take care of yourself. Watch a favorite TV show or movie, call a friend from home, treat yourself to a cup of coffee and a good book…do whatever comforts you and realize it’s okay to have an adjustment period.
- Find a schedule/routine that works for you, and that makes you comfortable and happy. At first, when I got to college, I thought I was kind of weird because I loved going to bed and waking up early, while a lot of my hall mates would do the exact opposite. Everyone questioned why I got up so early if I didn’t have class until 11 or 1 most days (yes, I was very lucky). But, I started to own my schedule and routine because it made me happy and I always did my best work in the mornings and felt rested and refreshed. My routine works for me, and I’ve found other people with similar schedules. My point is, find what works for you and don’t worry if you’re the only one. When it comes down to it, it’s your life and you have unique needs, and you should do what is best for you.
- Don’t try to do it all. I felt like the attitude in high school was “do it all to get into college.” Not only are you supposed to have great grades, you’re supposed to be involved in all sorts of different clubs and activities, and maybe throw a few sports in there too. College is a WHOLE different ballgame. You seriously cannot do it all. You certainly can choose what you want to involve yourself in, but if you try to do 5 different high-commitment activities, it’s impossible to get the most out of it without driving yourself insane. Instead, try a few things out and find what really feeds you. For me, that meant Running Club a few times a week, working an on-campus job a few evenings, a campus ministry, and joining a sorority. And I didn’t join all of those all at once. Instead, I started with campus ministry and running club, and in subsequent semesters, I joined the other things. These are not necessarily the same things I did in high school. And it’s okay! It’s awesome to re-define yourself a bit and find new loves and interests. Be bold, and don’t be afraid to say no!
Linking up with Julia for Mental Health Monday. Take care of your body and your mind, and remember to be gentle with yourself when you make any life transition!