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  • Katrina Lorenzo, M.S., LMFT

Navigating Moving from Home to College

You have graduated high school, you are packing up your childhood bedroom, and getting ready to move to your new college dorm room and say goodbye to your family and friends. Exciting? Yes! Nerve-racking? Absolutely! This time can bring up a great deal of emotions and feelings. The main concerns I have heard in my therapy room have been, “I’m scared that I won’t make deep friendships”, “I’m worried I won’t like my roommate(s)”, “I’m going to miss my family and friends”, etc. As usual, I do not have the perfect answer.

What I will say is that when we are feeling nervous, worried, anxious, overwhelmed…the best thing we can do is to focus on what we can control. By focusing on what we can control and accepting that the rest is out of our control, it helps us be able to move forward. I like to remind my clients that they did not enter elementary school, middle school or maybe even high school with friends. Friendships will come organically. A helpful tip is to join clubs or organizations with like-minded people. This will give you a head start on finding people you can engage with in meaningful conversations.

As far as roommates go, it is okay if your roommate is not your best friend. Unless they are, and that is wonderful. If you find yourself getting frustrated, focus on that this rooming situation is temporary. Also, your schedules may not align, and you may not see much of each other. Like any relationship, as long as there is respect and communication, it should work. Of course, if there are bigger issues that will not withstand, know there are always options. Utilize your support system and resources.

For missing family and friends, this may differ for each individual. The feeling may be overwhelming initially or may come after a couple months. Plan ahead when family will visit. Knowing you will see your family soon may provide some comfort. Utilize technology, video chats provide closeness when you need the comfort and support of your loved ones. Also, luckily in the first semester, there are a few holidays and a long break.

The feelings and emotions will come and go like a rollercoaster. Having a support system is important in how you navigate this new life transition. Your support system may consist of your parents, siblings, friends from home, new friends, or even your therapist. Be transparent and communicate, your support system should be there to listen and provide comfort.

All in all, this is time for you to have new experiences and create lasting memories! Know that you are not alone, and you will find your way. Give yourself some grace!

Stay tuned for how to navigate experiencing college while living at home.

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