Buckle up! It’s time to head off to college! The first year, moving into your dorm can be scary and overwhelming, but by senior year you’ll be able to do it with your eyes closed! One important way to prepare for your future room is to get in touch with your roommate. Most colleges email this information to you, but if you didn’t receive it you can contact your university housing department to find out. Getting in touch with your roommate before move in is important for several reasons. First, you get to find out a little about them before you just show up to share a room with a stranger for a year. You may or may not have filled out a questionnaire when you applied for housing that helped match you with a roommate. These systems have helped roommate matching become very specific, so you no longer have to wonder whether your roommate is the kind of student who stays up every night until 4 AM or who doesn’t see a problem with a month’s worth of dirty dishes in the room. Second, you can coordinate who will be bringing huge items like refrigerators, microwaves, and printers. The last thing you want is for both of you to bring a refrigerator and there isn’t a microwave in sight. The more you and your roommate talk before move-in day and the start of school, the easier you will find it to transition to this new living situation.
Before you move to college and go off on this grand adventure, it can be very beneficial to your emotional health to say goodbye to some of the things in your hometown that you might miss the most. This sense of closure can help when you’re away at school and all you really want is to just be at home in high school again. You should schedule time to hang out with your high school friends at some of your favorite spots. Although Facebook, iPhones, and Snapchat help you keep in touch with all your old friends, you’ll find that college shapes people in ways that might seem unfamiliar to you if you’re not with your friend every day. Chances are that not all of your high school friends will be attending the same college as you, and for some this might be the first time you haven’t attended school with these people since kindergarten. Spend time with your family too. Ask your parents to show you how to make some of your favorite meals and comfort foods, and spend time with them while you still have a chance every day. Sit down with your siblings and play a game or watch one of their favorite movies with them. These little moments can help when you start to feel homesick.
Here’s a tip to combat homesickness I’ll pass onto you. One of the best things I did before leaving for college my freshman year was to print out pictures of everyone who had been instrumental in my life up to that point-family, friends, mentors, etc. When I moved into my new dorm room, I put them all up in a photo collage. Every day when I woke up, got back from class, or went to sleep I would see those pictures and remember everyone who believed in me and was cheering for me to succeed. No matter how bad your struggles in college can seem, remembering who helped you get to where you are and who is cheering for you to go farther can make even the largest problems seem tiny. So go forth future freshman, you can do this!