Tips for Going to College Out of State
Going off to an awesome college is one of the biggest steps of a lifetime. For most students, it’s the first time that they move away from home and become fully independent. This self-sufficiency may sound fun, and it certainly can be, but along with it comes responsibility. Most students fresh out of high school have never had to grocery shop for themselves, maintain a house or dorm, or move across the country. This sudden independence is a major change, but we know you’ll become a master at “adulting” in no time.
Here are five things every college student should know when moving out of state.
Adjust to the culture shock.
Unlike local or in-state schools, you might be in for quite the culture shock when you start interacting with new people in new territories. No matter where you’re from, someone at your new school will probably ask you about your accent. This catches most people off guard because we don’t think of ourselves as having a strange way of speaking. The minor nuances of English, such as “soda” vs. “pop,” or having a signature southern drawl may make you stand out in a room, and that’s okay. It makes you unique.
Even things as small as the Wal-Mart’s not selling your favorite brand of peanut butter will be hard to get used to. It’s best to take these adjustments with a grain of salt and remember that this new place has plenty of awesome things that home does not, you just have to be willing to try new things.
Live like a minimalist.
Downsizing from your home into a dorm or rented space may seem like a drag, but will save you a lot of money in the long run. As an out-of-state student, chances are you don’t plan on living around campus when you graduate. You may end up selling off your furniture at a loss or having to pay for moving expenses. If you go back home, there might not even be a place to store your newly-acquired items. If you do plan on building your professional life in your new state, most people like to upgrade from their dorm furniture anyway.
Live simply to prevent that incoming situation. The minimalist life is quite freeing. Try to get your furniture from craigslist, or help your friends and neighbors move. Chances are, you’ll find free or cheap furniture that you won’t mind giving away when it’s time to go. Remember, anything you plan to keep will have to fit the trip out of there, whether that’s in a truck, a hatchback, or on your person for the flight home.
Prepare for traveling to and from home.
Going away to college will make you realize the little things you love about your home region. That might be mom’s cooking, old friends, or that special peanut butter you’re probably going to get by the pallet for when you go back to school.
Those trips home are a great way to unwind from the stress of school. Your time off usually aligns with holidays, when everyone else is scrambling home at the same time. It’s a good idea to plan your transportation. That might mean reserving flights, budgeting for gas money, and finding a schedule that avoids all the traffic or even shipping a car to your new school.
Manage your finances.
You now fit that “broke college student” life everyone talks about. Everybody’s situation is unique, so it’s up to you to scope out the income and expenses you have. Even if you have scholarship money or help from parents, we 100% recommend creating a budget, so you know where all funds are going. It’s much easier than most people expect and can be done in an app.
Your #1 focus should be school, but it’s a great idea to donate some time to a part-time gig if you can. Having an emergency fund is always smart.
Managing your time and finances are the most important aspect of college life, in state or out.
Time management is key.
You’ve probably heard some version of: “Good grades, social life, enough sleep; pick two.”
It’s hard not to laugh and cry at the same time.
College professors will not constantly remind students to finish assignments or study for exams. It’s up to you to decide your fate. Remember, you get as much out of school as you put into it.
Classes typically meet once or twice a week, with a minimum of 48 hours between to complete assignments. Write down or make a chart of your weekly schedule so you can prioritize deadlines. Plan out when and where you’ll work on homework for each class. If you find it hard to concentrate in your living space, consider knocking out your study hours at a library, where distractions are minimal. If you have a few hours between a couple classes one day, this could be a great time to get right on the work for the class you just finished. It’s also a great feeling to walk in the door with most or all of your work completed, so you can just use the evening to relax or go out with friends.
The best universal advice for any college student is to think about tomorrow. Don’t sleep in though Monday morning, or you won’t be able to fall asleep later and get up for your early Tuesday class. Rank your tasks by importance, and you’ll do awesome!