There is anxiety; excitement, fear, insecurity, sadness and I have run out of emotions to type here. You’re probably familiar with these emotions, if you’re leaving for college soon. They are very common and believe me when I say you’re not the only one going through it.
When I left Saudi Arabia for the first time I was going though major anxiety, mainly because it was the first time I was traveling alone to a country where I knew NO ONE. When I got out of the plane, I was like a pup sloth trying to figure out life.
But it was the most exhilarating moment of my life. I could taste independence in the air and my transition into adulthood was beginning. It was all worn down only after the first week of orientation when homesickness kicked in. Luckily, food was there to comfort and I experienced the freshmen15. Which brings me to my first tip:
- Food is temporary consolation:
It is there to comfort you till you gain 15 kgs and cannot even run a mile. That’s what happened to me, well, not entirely. I only managed to gain 10 kgs and then people started pointing it out to me and so did my clothes. Join clubs, that’s what they are there for; to keep your mind off your hometown and all the good food you’re missing.
- Practice Small conversations:
Yes, practice makes perfect. I was very confident that I’d be great at it, since I am so chatty all the time. MAJOR FAIL. I stuttered, profusely sweated and made uncountable mistakes while speaking, making myself, and the people around very awkward.
- Don’t pack EVERYTHING
Pack according to season, you will be coming back home after 6 months.
- You’re not weird if you don’t drink:
Drinking is prohibited in Islam, so drinking just to fit in is NOT a valid excuse. I have seen so many muslim students drink due to peer pressure. It makes me very sad that self-control is so rare. You can still have fun, if you’re not drunk!
- Your friend’s circle will change!
You don’t have to be best friends with everyone. Not everyone is worth being in your life. You will find your people. It takes time, no need to stress out.
- Take responsibility for yourself and your actions
Being an adult means taking responsibility for your actions. If you don’t do good on your exam, because you didn’t attend classes, don’t blame your professor.
- Learn the value of money!
A very important lesson I learned in college was the value of money. I understood money that my parents were paying for my education was hard earned, of course, they could save that for their retirement but instead they spent it on me so I could get good quality education and didn’t feel left out. Make a budget of where you spend your money the most. Find work on campus so you can save a little.
My final advice is to acknowledge not many people are fortunate to go to college, so make the most of it. Make memories that you can cherish for the rest of your life. 🙂