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Dealing with the Emotions of Leaving for College

Now that move-in day is around the corner, you may be experiencing some doubts about living on your own.

Jamie Vincent

August 26, 2014

Dealing with the Emotions of Leaving for College
Feeling ready to leave home and strike out on your own as the mature, independent and emotionally rock-solid college freshman you now are? Maybe not. Chances are leaving home was a much more appealing concept when you were a high school student counting down the days to graduation. But now that move-in day is around the corner, you may be experiencing some doubts about living on your own. Breathe deeply and repeat after me: “This was a good idea.”

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It is very possible you have developed graduation goggles; look with fresh eyes at the hometown wasteland around you. Sniff the garbage, peel the paint from the dilapidated housing, and snap some pictures of the locals shopping in their pajama bottoms. Save those photos for when you’re homesick on that first night in the dorm room and you need to be reminded of why you left. Stand on the decrepit Main Street and know with full conviction that you did, at some point, really want to leave. Connect to your college class’s social media pages.

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You don’t need to try to meet all of your new friends before you arrive on campus, but being connected to your future classmates can help enthuse you for the coming school year. Not to mention, these people are likely experiencing similar doubts; it can be comforting to know that others are feeling nervous, afraid, nostalgic, etc.

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Try not to be overly sentimental; it only makes leaving more difficult. Shed a tear when you hug your dog, best friend, or brother goodbye; don’t cry over memories of high school cafeteria lunches or the broken snow globe you found under your bed. Better things are coming—everyone says so. At the same time, it’s OK to be a little sad about moving away from people you love. But remind yourself this: if leaving weren't bittersweet, it would mean you had nothing good to leave behind. Educate yourself on the courses, clubs, events, and services offered at your new school. Be excited about the array of opportunities available to you once you’re on campus! Make schedules, lists, and plans. Buy a planner and gel pens (yes, they must be gel pens). Find course schedules and school calendars online and mark all events and deadlines in one place. Organizing your new life may help you feel motivated to jump in with gusto. Most importantly, force a smile. Smile because you made it through high school, the armpit of life. Smile because smiling alone can help. Smile because you’re moving to college. I would say “good luck,” but you really won’t need it!

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