Navigating Young Adulthood: Moving Out and Making College Your Home
January 23, 2020
Becoming an adult is HARD. Whether you're living on your own for the first time, going off to college, job searching, facing relationship struggles, or figuring out who you are and what yo
Becoming an adult is HARD. Whether you're living on your own for the first time, going off to college, job searching, facing relationship struggles, or figuring out who you are and what you want to do with your life, the struggle is real! That's why we want to make it easier for you. We are excited to introduce a new column that's all about navigating young adulthood. Think of this column as the starter pack for entering the scary world of adulthood.
Today we are talking about moving out of your parent's house.
Photo: Erda Estremera on Unsplash
We graduate high school and move out as we head off to college. Whether we choose to attend a local school or an out-of-state school, leaving the bird’s nest can be both exciting and nerve-wracking.
For me, when my parents dropped me off at college, I was overcome with a plethora of emotions, which ranged from eagerness to excitement to anxiousness to confusion. Thank goodness I could share my emotions and concerns with my roommate.
How to deal with these emotions
There are different ways to process the feelings, thoughts, and mind-wanderings that come with moving out.
You might have anxiety: questioning the simplest tasks, and asking yourself “how do I do laundry?" and “how do I know when spaghetti is cooked?"
You might feel nervous: overthinking the necessities that you forgot to pack or wondering how you will deal with the fact that you will be separated from your childhood friends who have all gone to different colleges.
You might be ecstatic: looking forward to new friendships and relationships, and exploring the college town you’ll call “home" for the next four years.
Now is the time to reflect on your childhood and teenage years; for instance, make amends with old relationships and broken friendships. As you begin to pack for college, take some time to really think about the place you have grown up in, and think about the people who have been by your side since day one. Reflecting on the ways that you have grown up and the experiences you have had will allow you to think about how you will carry those memories with you through college and beyond. Do you plan to stay in touch with your high school classmates? How often do you plan on coming home?
When you leave for college, you have a whole new level of freedom and independence. You are old enough to make your own decisions and set your own expectations. Now is the time to explore who you are. Understand your personality, learn about who you are and who you want to become, and set goals for your future self. What type of leader are you? What is your learning style? How comfortable do you feel about X, Y, and Z? Think of this transition as one that allows you to grow and find new hobbies and passions. Want to sign up for a fitness class? Go for it! Want to travel solo to a professional networking conference? Do it!
Before you move, slowly learn some how-to’s by having your parents teach you what you want to know. Practice doing your laundry and learn how to wash various types of clothing and fabrics. Have your parents teach you about the difference between a checking account and a savings account so you understand how to write a check and you will become familiar with the process of credit and debit. Learn basic cooking skills by preparing some of your favorite dishes. Cook with your family and write down recipes in a notebook so you can cook them yourself and have a taste of home. Help with grocery shopping so you will learn how to buy the freshest produce and meats. Although these tasks may be menial and trivial, I have found, from experience, that you will greatly appreciate them in the long run.
Make yourself feel at home
Not everyone goes through the stress of feeling homesick, but I will tell you that I experienced homesickness during the fall of my first year at college. My first month at college was fun, as I spent my time going out with new friends and learning my way around campus. However, when the adjustment period wore out, I found myself in a state of nostalgia, thinking about my family and friends back home.
When packing for college, pack some items that will remind you of home:
Stuffed animals (it sounds cheesy, but the comfort of a childhood stuffed animal helps more than you think!)
Collage of photos or a photo album
High school memorabilia
Favorite blankets or throws
Homemade food (of course, pre-seasoned and frozen to keep in a mini-fridge in your dorm)
Not only that, but decor can go a long way when it comes to making your home away from home. Try placing an area rug in your room, or hang some string lights above your bed to provide subtle lighting. Decorate your new room in a way that makes you feel extra cozy and warm, so you won’t have to completely forget about your childhood room. I always like to put some extra fluffy pillows and comfy plush sheets on my bed for extra coziness and comfort. Figuring out what makes you feel cozy and at ease will help you feel more at home.