Video: Leaving Home for the First Time

Leaving home for the first time is a huge (scary) step in your college journey. Here's what to expect and a bit of advice for when you take that leap.

For many students, going to college is the first time they’re away from home for the first time. This can be overwhelming and frightening, but it doesn’t have to be. Christine has some advice on how to survive living away from home for the first time.

Establish who you are (0:15)

Your parents like to talk about you because they’re super proud of you, and that’s great! You’ve also probably known most of the people in your life for some time now. But when you get to college, all that’s going to change. Your parents won’t be talking you up to all the people in your college, so you’ll have to establish who you are and learn how to convey that to others on your own.

Related: How to Be More Confident Freshman Year of College

Get a job (1:07)

Even just getting a part-time job can be beneficial to your financial state if you don’t want to rely on your parents for money. Working a few hours a week may seem like it’s taking away from your social life, but it’s nice to have a bit of cash so you can pitch in for those late-night pizzas. And you don’t have to get a job the minute you get on campus! In fact, it may benefit you to wait a few weeks to get settled and get into a new routine.

Ask for help! (1:57)

So many students feel self-conscious about asking for help if they’re struggling in college, but you shouldn’t be afraid. College is super hard, and your professors are there to help you out. Stop by your professor’s office hours or go to the campus tutoring center if you find yourself struggling. That’s why those resources are there!

Related: How to Ask for and Get Important Help in College

Deal with homesickness (2:38)

You’ll definitely get homesick at some point while you’re at school. That’s completely normal, and it happens to all students. College is a huge change: you’re in a new environment with new people and new responsibilities. Start building a support network the second you get on campus to cushion the blow for when the homesickness sets in.

Gain independence (3:50)

Being away from your friends and family does have its drawbacks with homesickness, but it also forces you to become more independent. As a kid, you’ve been surrounded by your parents’ influences (not a bad thing), but now you have the chance to explore the world through a different lens and figure out how you want to interact with it.

Related: Embracing Your College Independence

5 tips for moving out

Save money (4:36)

Living is expensive—that’s just the truth of it. Start saving money ASAP so you have a bit stored up in case you plan to move off campus or you can’t get a job when you’re at school. Even if your parents are helping you out, you probably don’t want to rely on them entirely, so it’s good to have your own money set aside.

Communicate (5:13)

Communicate what you want to do with your parents. Open communication is super important when it comes to affordability and what it is that you want to do. They want what’s best for you, but you need to communicate what it is that you want so you can reach those goals together.

Get involved (5:58)

You’ll have a lot of downtime in college, so stay busy by getting involved in extracurricular activities or a part-time job. Having downtime is great, but by getting involved in those activities, you’ll be able to make so many new friends and give yourself something to do instead of sitting in your room all day.

Related: Quick Guide to Getting Involved at College

Call your parents (6:19)

Don’t just call them when you have a problem. They miss you and you miss them! Don’t be afraid to call other members of your family and friends from back home too. They don’t have to be long conversations, but make sure you call to check in here and there. They’ll appreciate it so much, and that will help with the homesickness.

Ask friends and family for help (6:43)

Life is hard sometimes, and you can’t always shoulder those burdens alone. Don’t be afraid to lean on your friends and family for some help when it gets to be too much to handle. Ask for help when you need it—that’s what your friends and family are for.

Learn more about being a college student with all the articles, videos, and expert advice in our Student Life section.

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