Transitioning to college is an exciting adventure. All summer you’ve been packing, worrying about whether or not you’re in the right classes, and imagining your new life as a self-sufficient adult. It’s when all the boxes are unpacked and the first weeks of classes have passed, however, that the real fun begins.
Maybe you’re like me and you’ve always had your own room. Or, perhaps you shared with a sibling or two. Either way, I doubt you’re used to living in a dorm with hundreds of other students your own age on a daily basis.
It’s different – but it can be different in an awesome way, as well. You just need to know how to go about the transition.
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1. Patience is a Virtue
Patience is probably the number one rule when you’re living with others. It’s almost impossible to live in the same space with someone for an entire semester and not feel annoyed with them at some point. It’s perfectly normal – there are probably things you do that others find frustrating at times, too.
I know patience wasn’t something I was very good at when I first arrived at college. Slowly, I learned it isn’t the end of the world when someone does something differently than me. College is an exercise in taking these tiny frustrations in stride and learning to deal with them.
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Try not to lash out at anyone when they get on your nerves. Give yourself at least a few minutes to think about it first, and try to see the situation from the other person’s point of view. It’s very likely your perception will change – or at least you’ll become more understanding of theirs.
When you’re out on your own someday, you might be living in close proximity to other people. If you learn patience and grace now, you’ll already be prepared to deal with these types of situations.
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It’s more than likely that you’ll live around some of the same people for at least a portion of your time at college. Because of that, these students could be some of the best friends you have at your chosen university – if you put forth the effort to make them so.
Invite your roommate and others in your hall along when you participate in activities. Find things you have in common, like shared interests or hobbies.
Eat together if and whenever possible. It might be a little uncomfortable at first, but you’ll be glad when you have these friendships to fall back on later down the road.
3. Home Sweet Home
Beginning to feel comfortable at college is the number one cure for homesickness. It’s important even if you think you aren’t missing home too badly. If you’re going to spend two, or three, or four years in a place, you need to start feeling like you belong there.
Put up pictures and items and items that remind you of home in your dorm room. From the first night, this will make it feel more comfortable.
The idea is that in time this place will come to feel like a home away from home. You’ll know you’re beginning to settle in when you start feeling like you belong there.
Moving into a new situation is never easy, but with some thought and extra patience, you’ll make it with no problem!