I know that so many readers of Daily Dose of Prep are headed off to college this fall and I understand that it's a nerve-wracking time in your life. College is a big adjustment whether you're staying close to home or moving far away, either way there are a few things to know when you head to college.
1. You will get homesick.
No matter how far away you are from home, two hours or 15 hours away, you will get homesick at one point or another. Maybe you'll miss your family or just the idea of living at home but the day will come when all you want is to be back at home. During my first semester I counted down the days between Thanksgiving break and Christmas break because I was that homesick. It's okay to feel this way and your roommate, hall mates, and friends will all feel this at some point too. The best thing to do is find a tight knit group of friends that can help make college feel like home.
2. You'll grow tired of the food.
After a few months of eating the same thing from the same places, you will eventually get sick and tired of the food. JMU has great food. In fact, it was ranked in the top 5 food in colleges in America. It was pretty tasty and easy to get to as well. The only complaint I had was that it was hard to get access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Red delicious apples get boring pretty quickly. This is when my mini fridge was worth having. I would go to the grocery store and buy cans of soup, my favorite fruit, yogurt, and my own snacks. It was a good break in between the same food I would eat for lunch and dinner.
3. There will be a day where you question your future.
Sadly, this happens. I was talking to a few of my friends and they agreed that they too had days where they doubted their future. College is the time to discover a passion and find something you love. For some, a future seems simple. They know exactly what they want to do for the rest of their life. For others, the idea of settling into one or two fields of study is scary. You'll want to question what you want to do, how will you get there, what you want to accomplish in life -- all scary questions to ask but all well worth it. These questions might even lead to changing your major. I did! I went from teaching to public relations and although it was scary leaving behind a year of work and a scholarship, it now seems like it was the right thing to do.
4. You'll feel a little lonely.
Going from the safe, secure, and familiar feel of high school to the wide world of college is a terrifying thing but it's also super exciting. It's a fresh start and a clean slate. I always thought I was really bad at making friends. It's not that I can't make friends it's that I think I'm a little awkward haha. For the first few weeks of college you'll be feeling people out. You'll be trying to figure out who you want to be friends with. It can feel a little lonely the first week or two but that's okay. Know that this time is temporary and there is a group of people at college for you.
5. You'll get to know yourself better.
Going away to college is a way to grow as a person. Leave education out of the picture on this one, only think about you as a person. Living away from home teaches you about responsibility and really brings out your personality. You get to decide everything in your day. From what you eat, to what you do on the weekends, to how you hold yourself when you're with others. You will get to know your likes, dislikes, and ambitions even more now that you're in college. Take this time to be selfish and really understand you.
6. You'll have more appreciation for the little things.
College teaches you to appreciate the little things in life. Whether it be a call from your mom to your own room when you go home, going away to school brings out the appreciation for some of the smaller things in life. You appreciation for sleeping in on a Sunday and home cooked meals grow too. It's things in high school you didn't think twice about but leaving for school changes your mind about them.
In the end, a lot of things will happen in college. It's okay to feel uncomfortable at times, to feel challenged, and to question things as you go about. It's when we feel uncomfortable that we grow and learn. Take these new experiences and take them with you throughout your freshman year.