If you’ve never left home before and are going to college, it can be a stressful experience. You may be looking forward to moving away, but are apprehensive about taking responsibility for yourself and making new friends. You may not be able to fully prepare yourself because so many things are unknown. However, there are some things you can do to prepare to leave home and go to college.
Get used to being more independent
You won’t have your parents around when you’re at college, so take some time to think about what you need to know in order to look after yourself. You may need to cook for yourself at college and it is certainly a good way of keeping food costs down, so learn a few basic dishes if you don’t know any already. Check out how you will do your laundry at college and ensure you know what clothing needs to be washed separately. Budgeting is another skill you will need to learn. Unless your parents have bottomless pockets, you will almost certainly need to be thrifty, particularly if you have a penchant for partying. Basic first aid is also a must.
Visit or read up about your college
Hopefully, you will have already visited your chosen college. If you haven’t, it would be a great idea to visit and find out as much about college life as possible. It will help you understand what you need to take. If you can’t visit because it is too far away, do as much research as you can online. College websites are usually full of information. Look out for a student guide too, then you’ll know if, for example, you need plenty of passport photos you need to take with you. You’ll also have a better idea of how to get around campus, which can save time in your first week.
Work out what you need to take
You will probably have a list of text books that you will need to take, so try and find the cheapest options. Secondhand is often a great option, but don’t leave it too late or you will have missed the bargains. Think about clothes too, especially if the climate is very different from your home town. Sports equipment and possibly furniture may be required, but be sensible. You won’t be able to take everything with you, especially if you will be travelling by public transport. You should also consider that some things may be cheaper to buy while at college.
Save some money
It’s always a good idea to have some money put aside before you go to college. Whatever your source of money, it will only go so far and yet there will be so many social opportunities that will cost money, even if discounted. If you haven’t already got a job, try to find one for over the summer. It is a great way of learning independence and new skills, while getting some money behind you at the same time. Even if you work while at college, you may still need extra money for if you want to go home unexpectedly, so some savings will come in handy.
Think carefully about your course
You will probably be given some reading material to go through before you leave for college. Spend some time going through it. Many people start a college course, only to decide they don’t like it half way through the first term or semester. This can be very stressful, especially if you are homesick at the same time. Reading as much as possible in advance will give you a much better idea of what the course is about, helping you to make up your mind earlier. You may find that your course is nothing like what you were expecting.
Your first couple of months at college can be hard, particularly if you are very close to your family and have parents who have always done everything for you. However, it will hopefully be much easier if you have prepared yourself, both mentally and practically, before you go.