How to embrace college if you loved high school

I’m just a girl...standing in front of my college campus...asking it to be my high school.

Confession: I’m 23 years old and I still feel a very strong relationship with my high school. I didn’t know how much I could cry until the summer before my freshman year of college, when it really hit me that I was leaving my life in a town I loved with people I loved.

I was a major theater geek in high school. And, as any theater geeks reading this will know, being a music/drama kid is like being a part of a family. I spent so much time with them, I loved them more than anything, and it helped me get to know a bunch of people and do a bunch of things. I won two yearbook superlatives my senior year: Best Dressed and Most Likely to Brighten Your Day. I was relatively well known and well liked (I think??), and I knew and liked most people.

Transitioning from highschool to college was NOT easy for me, but in the end, I was able to find the balance of staying connected to my hometown while also embracing my “new life.” Here’s how I did it, and ultimately ended up embracing college enough to be crowned Homecoming Queen:

1. Get involved on campus

The reason I had my “family” in high school was because of the extracurricular activities I was involved in, like theater and choir. And the reason I found my family in college was because I was in the Honors Program and lived in Honors housing, and then my other little families came from my involvement things like choir, tour guiding, and thesis class. Getting involved not only distracts you from your initial nervousness, but it helps you immerse yourself in your new home.

2. Go on a contact detox for a week

For your first week of college, while you may want to, try to avoid talking to your friends from home. If you spend all your time on FaceTime with them, rather than going out with your new friends and meeting new people, you’ll never be able to take the training wheels off. Just give it a week, and you’ll be glad you did. And then you can tell them all about your first days of college life. But DO call your mom that first week! She’ll need it!

3. Arrange visits!

One thing I loved about my college career is that my home friends and school friends knew each other. I would have friends visit me, I would visit friends, and it was so nice to feel a connection to my friends’ new lives. Plus, if these are your besties for life, they’ll probably need to know each other so they can mingle at your future wedding...right???

4. Schedule monthly FaceTimes or phone calls

Once you’re settled down in your new home with your new friends, it’ll be nice to have regular calls with your best friends so that you can keep up to date on what’s going on in each other’s lives. Doing them monthly, not super frequently, gives you more to talk about, while also giving you more time to hang with your school friends. This goes for your family too! They’ll want to know what’s going on. But, if they’re anything like my parents, they’ll want to chat a lot more than just once a month!

5. Go home every few months (if you can)

It’s nice to get away every now and then, get some free food, and see the dog (and family, duh). It’s easy to get burnt out if you work yourself too hard and try to keep up an active social life, so taking a chance to breathe and go back to your roots is always nice. And, if you can coordinate with your friends to all visit your hometown the same weekend, you’ll get to kill two birds with one stone!

6. Keep the group chat alive!

Group chats with home friends are another great way to keep in touch without spending too much time actively talking to them and missing out on other things. Plus, you can keep a more consistent log of what’s going on in each other’s lives so you don’t forget all the things you have to tell them when you chat or see each other! Nothing wrong with nurturing your relationships from afar!

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