Picking a school is a huge decision. Choosing to leave your home state and everything you know behind for an out of state school is an even bigger one. Maybe you got an awesome scholarship you can’t pass up, or maybe you have a thirst for adventure and a crazy case of wanderlust, or you think it would be a good idea to start fresh.
Starting somewhere new in a brand new city or town, with no family, no friends, and with just a box filled with some memories of home can be terrifying. Well, I’m here to tell you adjusting college life in a new state is not that bad.
I went through this when I packed up my box from Virginia and moved to Chicago, IL, to follow my big city dreams. I’ve been here for 3 years now, and I want to share a few tips I’ve learned on quickly adjusting to your new environment.
Living in dorms is the Best. Option. Possible (at least at first)
Apartment life can be lonely and a huge step for most people, so I recommend living in the dorms! Dorm Residency not only gives you that “college feel” but you’re also surrounded by a bunch of other new students that are just as eager to make friends as you are! It’s hard to feel lonely when you live in a building packed with fresh friendly faces.
* Side Tip – When you’re in your dorm room, leave the door open. Leaving it open attracts friendly outgoing students in your hall and they’ll most likely pop in and introduce themselves! Baking sweet treats and leaving your door open may even attract the introverted ones!
Your roommate is the perfect opportunity for an instant first friend
Maybe you got an apartment, or maybe you are living in the dorms. Either way, the person(s) you’re living with are most likely going to want to be your friend, and vice versa! So invite them out right away and try to get to know each other! Hopefully the school paired you with somebody you have a lot in common with!
* Side Tip – Talk to your roommate right away about the do’s and don’ts of your room. If you don’t talk about what you are/aren’t comfortable with, it could majorly affect your relationship later. Also, many schools create Facebook pages for upcoming freshman classes, great opportunity to “test drive” some roommates. Send some messages, find common ground, even if you end up not being the right fit for each other you can match some faces with names.
Once you’ve made somewhat of a first friend(s) go explore new surroundings
A brand new playground! A world open for you to explore! You’re probably wondering… where do I start first? If you live in the dorm, the best person to ask for tips on where to go is your RA. Trust me, RA’s seem a tad stand offish, but they’re not! They help as much as they can. Your RA could tell you all the best places to go in the city or they might offer to take you around themselves. If you don’t have an RA just Google it! For example: “What are the best places to eat in Chicago?” or “Most common tourist places in Chicago”. I mean… it’s best to see the tourist places before you discover the cool underground places.
* Side Tip – Keep an eye out for posters/ads or go to the campus center to ask. But most times, in the beginning of the fall semester, schools will organize tours to welcome all the freshmen/transfer students around! (if they didn’t do it through orientation or you missed it).
If you’re feeling lonely… know that you’re not
When you start to feel lonely, or homesick, call a familiar face. There are lots of ways to stay connected after you leave home. Social media, Skype, Facetime, ooVoo, phone calls, and of course texting. It’s natural to feel lonely in a new place at first, especially on days that you don’t have much going on. Don’t sit there and mope, instead pick up the phone and call an old friend, significant other, or a family member and then go outside. Do something simple like reading a book, outside the campus center. Being trapped alone in your room is your worst enemy. Try to get out as much as possible.
Join as many extra curriculars as possible (but also know your limits)
Easiest way to make friends outside of dorm life? Clubs, sports, and Greek life! Try to not listen to the awful stereotypes about Greek life. My school doesn’t offer Greek life, but my boyfriend is in a Fraternity at his college and I’m basically an honorary Greek life member there on the weekends and it’s INCREDIBLE. There are TONS of clubs, sports teams, and Greek life chapters. I guarantee there will be at least one that fits you perfectly. Just look for it.
* Side Tip – Make it a goal for yourself to join at least 1 school program your first semester. The nice thing about clubs and intermural league sports? You can drop out easily if you don’t like it. Greek life and actual sports teams? Yeah you might rub some people the wrong way if you decide to quit, but clubs and intermural leagues? GO FOR IT!… if you don’t want to make a serious commitment.
See? It’s not that hard to get your new college life up and running! Consider these tips after leaving home state and remember, kindness costs nothing!
Feature image source: www.heykiki.com
Kellie MacMillan is an east coast girl whos picked up her whole life to move to the big city of Chicago in hopes to be an aspiring actress. Acting is not her only interest, but she also was a sculpture major prior to film acting, runs her own YouTube channel and models for an outside agency. She is on her 4th year of school and has obtained plenty of experience while college and wants to spread her knowledge with other students.