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Ask a Collegiette: Learning to Live on Your Own

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Whether it’s crushes, classes or coed bathrooms on your mind, chances are you’ve already started stressing about your freshman year of college. But don’t worry! This collegiette has been there and done that, and she’s passing along her hard-earned wisdom to you lucky pre-collegiettes. Whether you’re daunted by your packing list (you do not need a label maker, promise), college-level classes (Wikipedia is your new best friend), making friends (easier than it sounds) or running into a one-night stand (honestly, just run the other way), Sophie’s likely encountered it all. Just sit back, relax and let her share the best advice she’s picked up along the way.

What was the transition like from being completely dependent on your parents to having to live on your own? – Anxious in Alabama

Anxious,

I’ll let you in on a little secret no one told me when I went to college: you’re not really living on your own.

Sure, you may live halfway across the country from your ‘rents, but you still (probably) rely on them for advice, financial support, care packages full of junk food, the works. That being said, you definitely are much more independent once you leave home.

The biggest difference for me was learning how to manage my time. It can be all too easy to fill your day with intramural sports, coffee dates and Netflix marathons and completely space about that annoying comparative lit paper that’s due tomorrow. Not having your mom or dad nagging you to do your homework every night is awesome (really, it’s awesome), but it means that you really have to be on your own case about getting work done.                                   

Another thing that I definitely went through when transitioning from high school to college was a period of initial euphoria followed by reality. During your first week there will be orientation activities and tons of people to meet; basically it’s a giant party with your freshman class, and college is, like, the best thing ever! But once classes set in and the excitement dissipates, the fact that you’re not at home can start to feel uncomfortable and you might find yourself missing familiar things, like your house, your parents, your pets and your incredibly annoying little brother.

This is perfectly normal and happens to almost everyone at some point during his or her freshman year. The good news is most freshmen feel the same way, and it’s just about finding someone to bond with. I met my best friend the first week of freshman year because she heard me crying in my room and invited me over to watch Friends and eat Nutella (and our feelings). Insta-friendship.

Even if you’re not a super outgoing person (I definitely wasn’t as a freshman!), it can be really helpful to make a connection early on, if only so you have someone to go to the dining hall with or to help you find your way back from that poetry slam across campus.

The transition to college is easier for some people than it is for others, but if you try to take it in stride and carve out a niche for yourself, you'll be on your way to loving college and feeling at home before you know it!

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