For most of you starting college this year, this is the first time you’ve lived away from home for an extended period of time. Even if you can drive back to your parent’s house from where you go to school, living outside of the home you grew up in can be weird and you might not know how to deal. It gets easier over time, believe me, but in the mean time, you need some ways to make living away from home a little easier. First off, there’s rarely any transition period of time or trial separation. It’s just one day your parents drop you off, say goodbye, and don’t even look back to make sure you know how to plunge a toilet the right way. How rude, right? Other than missing your friends from home, your family (even though you’d never admit it), you’ll also probably miss your hometown.
Now, you have all these new people and a new routine to manage and no cozy spot on your couch at home to curl up in. What gives? Your ways to deal with weird, difficult times also has to change in a way and believe me, weird and difficult times are bound to happen in college. What would normally be a normal thing that annoys you could blow up and make you full on depressed. I’m sorry to be a downer, but chances are, some of you have already experienced it. Transitions are hard, and moving to college is one of the biggest, most dramatic transitions you’ll make. But you know what? You’ll survive. Learning how to live away from home is definitely a learning curve, but once you get the hang of it, college gets to be that much more fun and amazing. Trust me. These are nine ways to make living away from home much, much easier on you.
Incorporate Keeping In Touch Into Your RoutineAfter writing class, call your mom. Wednesday nights are for Face Time and your best friends from home. Setting up a set time to reach out to people you want to remain close with just becomes another part of your weekly routine like class, band practice, or anything else you do regularly. That way, you don't have to worry about remembering or beat yourself up about forgetting to call your parents - it's part of your routine! How could you forget? Set up a time with the person in question, find when works best, and then set a reminder in your phone. Hold this commitment like a doctor's appointment.Source: iStock
Text Your Friends About Dumb StuffPart of what sucks living so far away from people you're so close with is that they fall out of the day to day minutia of your life. They only get the highlights and big stuff. So, when your college friends come to visit you at home and share in all the small experiences you have, you can see how your home crowd could feel left out. Send your friend date outfit options or have them help you with a costume for a theme party. Ask them about small decisions or tell them about something funny you saw. Keeping small interactions going keeps the immediacy of friendship alive so nothing feels so pining and laden with "I miss you"s.Source: iStock
Find A Long Distance Goal Or ActivityA friend I went to school with and his best friend taught themselves guitar when they were away from each other at college. When they got together in Christmas, they could jam. How cool is that? My current roommate has a fantasy league with The Bachelor (it's exactly what you think it is). Long distance relationships keep crediting Skype and synchronized binge watching together. Find something long term you can do with the people who feel most like home for you that will still make you feel connected when you're far from everyone you love.Source: iStock
Collect College Town Goodies To Take Home With YouI'm not talking about stocking up on big item Christmas gifts, but when you see free magnets, stickers, pins, or small dollar items from where you to go college, grab them for your parents, siblings, or anyone else you miss. It may seem stupid or like these things are nothing to you, but because they can't be there to experience these small things with you, they'll be special for the people you're far away from. While you can't be with them, it helps to ease the homesick blues to think nice thoughts and send good vibes to everyone you miss.Source: iStock
Set Up Your World Clock For Different Time ZonesThis is great if you live far, far away from home. On your phone, there's probably a clock app and a world clock option. Set up a clock for your home and everywhere else your best friends and family are. My besties were all long distance for a while and it helped to be able to look at a clock and see where everyone else was in their day. It's simple and maybe a little cheesy, but it makes you feel closer in a weird way. I can't quantify how or why, but it worked for me. Maybe it'll work for you, too. Source: iStock
Send Each Other Care PackagesBless Amazon Prime. It used to be that you had to pack individual items in a cardboard box, tape it, ship it at the post office, and cross your fingers that it got there in time. Now, with overnight shipping services and Amazon wish lists, it's easy to see what your friends and and even easier to send them something to treat them. You can also do this with Etsy or anywhere else you can purchase things online and most places let you include a little note. Also, everyone loves getting packages and snail mail. Letters will do. I sent my friend who was going to school in London a fall leaf from Central Park and it was better than anything I could've bought.Source: iStock
Stock Up On Some Childhood SnacksOf course, be smart and make healthy choices... but, definitely stock up on some Capri Sun juice pouches. And Dunkaroos. The next best thing to mom hugs is feeling like you're in second grade and have zero responsibilities and sometimes, the snacks you used to love will do the trick. I'm not one to advocate eating your feelings, but when you need a little extra love, so to speak, it's good to have a quick fix on hand that reminds you of a person, a simpler time, or your hometown. I'm not saying you should do it all the time, but it definitely helps.Source: iStock
Find Your Off Campus Happy PlaceWhen school gets to be too much, you're going to need an escape, and you can't go back to your parents' house (unless you live close enough), so what do you do? I don't care how "at home" school feels for you now, eventually it's going to get overwhelming and stifling and you're going to need to leave fast. Since you were in grade school, you've been taught and probably felt that school was a different place than home, so it's weird that now, for some of you, you're living at school. This is bound to feel weird. Find a home-like space that's your own you can run away to when you need it. Your sanity will thank you for it.Source: iStock
Take A Tchotchke From Your Hometown With YouEveryone's hometown has some stupid thing they're known for. It doesn't have to be famous for it, but for you this one THING just screams "home" to you. Take it with you! Find something that's unique to you and what you'll miss most. I heard of people taking their dog's old collars or magnets from their favorite restaurant or store. Literally whatever. It counts double if this knick-knack also doubles as cute dorm room decor. No one wants to have a basic space, and this is going to brighten up your room and also be a great conversation starter with your new floor-mates. You're welcome 🙂Source: iStock
What’s the worst part about living away from home? How do you fix it? Do you have any tricks you want to share? Let us know in the comments!
You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.