​There's No Place Like Home

The transition period. It's tough. It's like the longest camp you've ever been to. But it also can be one of the best experiences you've ever had. There are a few ways to make the first couple of weeks on campus smoother.

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The transition period. It's tough. It's like the longest camp you've ever been to. But it also can be one of the best experiences you've ever had. There are a few ways to make the first couple of weeks on campus smoother.

One of the best ideas that worked for me was filling my dorm room with photos from home and from high school with all my friends and family. This gave me a sense of place and kept that dorm room from being a cement block jail cell. There is something to be said for taking pieces of home and integrating them into your new home. It may seem like a little thing, but it made me a lot more comfortable and made those first few days on my own bearable when I had those familiar faces looking back at me. You'll probably bring a lot from your bedroom anyway, but make sure you bring those specific things that scream "this is my room". I always had a throw blanket that I would get under when I watched TV on the couch at home. This was something I could've easily left behind, but when I brought it to campus with me, my dorm room felt a little more normal. 

The first couple weeks of school are also a great time to meet new people and spend time outside of your dorm room. All kinds of orientation activities and getting to know you opportunities happen after move-in day. Don't let those pass by you without at least checking them out. Even if you are going to school with a bunch of your friends from home, meeting new people on campus is never a bad idea. And the more time you spend outside of your dorm room, the busier you will be, and the less you will think about the transition you're going through. I know it sounds cheesy when people say college is what you make it, but really, these first few weeks are when people are forming relationships and getting involved in clubs and activities that can span their entire college career. You don't want to miss out on that!

Another thing that is tough for a lot of people is staying put. The first couple weeks of school and even into the first few months, try your best not to visit home. My mom would die if she knew I was writing this, but you really want to put some good roots down and make a life for yourself in this new place. Don't forget to call home – I'm sure everyone will want the back to school play-by-play. I hope, though, that you are so busy making new friends and getting involved on campus that you have very little phone time. (But make sure you still have a little!)

Another good way to make the transition easier is to study. My geekiest piece of advice yet, but if you read a couple chapters ahead in your books before you actually go to class, you'll be a boss. Most people won't do this, and it's not exactly the most exciting, but everybody wants to have fun when they go to school. The first few weeks of class are typically super easy. If you take advantage of this downtime and get ahead, when things start getting more difficult and you start getting more homework and reading, you'll be in front of the ball and can actually go out and do what you want while your friends are just trying to keep up.

No matter what grade you're in, back to school is an neat time. I hope these tips help you make the transition to college smoother and more fun. It's going to be a great few years! Go get it! 

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