Change is Good? It May Take Some Convincing, but Yes.

If your personality is anything like mine, you resist change. Fiercely. Short haircut? No thanks. Furniture re-arrange? Not feeling it. New drink at Starbucks? I think I’ll stick with the usual.

So, as you can probably imagine, the transition to college was tough. New environment, new classes, even a new bed to sleep in. While I knew that I would adjust to all of these things eventually, the change I dreaded the most was leaving my mother. Growing up as an only child of a single mother, I had always had a close relationship with my mom. The week before I left for school, my mom and I tried to remain optimistic. We shopped for my dorm and packed my things into boxes, keeping the conversation lighthearted. I wanted to believe her when she told me that after a few weeks away at college, I wouldn’t even have time to miss her. Still, there was sadness in the air. As she drove away from my dorm on move-in day, I felt tears stinging my eyes. It was time to finally be on my own.

But man, did I fight it. I called my mom every day, sometimes twice a day, for the first few weeks. I counted down the days until Labor Day weekend, when I could finally go home. I realized that I felt guilty for leaving my mom on her own after having been attached at the hip while I was growing up. The feeling nagged at me, and I found myself taking the two and a half hour bus ride home every chance I got.

After a couple of months, though, all of my “new” changes began to feel normal, and the guilt slowly started to fade. I realized that, just like me, Mom had begun to settle into her own routine. She threw herself into her new job, started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer on Netflix, and spent more time with her friends and family.

I missed my mom terribly. I realized,in retrospect, that I spent so much time thinking about her those first couple weeks that I was preventing myself from enjoying all of the new “changes” that my university offered. While homesickness is a part of every student’s transition to college (at least to some degree), giving yourself a chance to be independent from your parents can make a world of difference, helping you to quickly and effectively adjust to the new environment.

Here’s what I wish someone had told me before move-in day:

  • As hard as it is, resist going home for the first couple of months of the semester: Try to stick it out until Thanksgiving break. If you end up going home every chance you get, you’re just interrupting any sort of routine you’ve started and you’ll miss opportunities to hang out with friends. Instead, try to see what the campus is like on days when classes aren’t in session.
  •  Don’t worry about how your parents will handle your move: It is not your responsibility to keep track of how your parents are reacting to your absence. Sure, they will miss you, but don’t make yourself feel guilty for leaving them. They had a life before you, and they can adjust to a life without you for a while.
  •  Embrace change: Did you know, some people actually believe that change is a good thing? I know, shocking. While it’s perfectly fine to keep your hair a certain length or keep ordering your favorite drink at Starbucks, there’s no use resisting a change that you can’t control. Moving out of the house to attend college is one of those changes. The sooner you embrace it, the sooner it will become your normal routine.

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Emma Weissmann

Emma Weissmann

Emma Weissmann is a sophomore at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign pursuing a degree in News-Editorial Journalism with an interdisciplinary minor in Leadership Studies. Emma enjoys traveling, trying new foods, and snuggling up on the couch with her cat, “Louie.” She also spends her time volunteering and hanging out with family and friends.
Emma Weissmann

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