An out-of-state student’s guide to moving to college

Illustration of a dorm room with many decorations
Isabelle Schreiber/File

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Moving out of state and starting your college life may be exciting, but it can simultaneously be scary. Having to pack your entire life into a suitcase can feel overwhelming and unreal; but fear not, as there are plenty of ways to ease yourself into the groove of college. 

Make your dorm feel like home

We all love our beds and rooms, so why not make it the same inside the dorm? Even if you aren’t planning to live on campus, bringing your cozy essentials is still a must. Before leaving, make sure to pack all of the fairy lights, fuzzy blankets and pillows you can find. Consider going on a little self-care date to Target or Marshalls to pick up candles and plants. 

The good thing about all of this is that you can continue acquiring decor even after you move in. So, if you realize your room is still looking empty, you can always add to it. 

Walk around the campus

When moving to a new place, it is common to experience the fear of the unknown. Being thrown into an unfamiliar setting may create anxiety and confusion, and that’s exactly why exploring the campus and the city around you is essential. 

A small coffee shop nearby may remind you of the one you went to at home, making the college town seem a bit closer to your parents than it really is. Not to mention, it is a great way to meet new people or get closer to the ones you’ve met while on a walk. 

Introduce yourself to everyone

Putting yourself into social situations can be helpful when you are trying to distract yourself from thinking about going home. And, meeting people is the easy way to do it. Just so you don’t miss your hometown bestie all too much, introducing yourself to the people who live close to you or are in the same class as you can be very helpful when you are trying to build a new network. Everyone is in the same boat as you, and even if they are not from out of state, people always want to make new friends in college. 

Make food that reminds you of home

Any college town has a tone of options when it comes to food. However, this food is obviously not the cooking your mom used to do at home. Try finding places or making food that you simply miss from home. This will not only keep you full and energetic but will also, quite literally, let you taste a bit of home.

Call home 

I mean, come on: Everyone is bound to miss their home. It is completely OK to call your friends and family to remind them just how much you love and miss them. Allowing yourself to be vulnerable is great, especially when it is done out of love. So, if you are really homesick, just call them. They would surely appreciate it. 

Starting a new chapter in life is always stressful. Whether this is your first time being away from family or you’re simply nervous about living on your own, college is the time to explore. Learning how to be independent is one of the perks of being in college. And even if you feel homesick, you should always remind yourself that home is where you feel safe and loved — college is just another place that could become just that.

Contact Irina Sakharova at [email protected].