Before you head to campus: simple steps to ease the transition back to college life.

By Sarah Wylde

It is that time of year again…back to school. As a reminder with that in mind, this month, I will be focusing on the various topics to help with the transition. So, are you prepared for back to school?

To start, here is a bit about my times in college.

The first time I went to college; I was living at home, and it had been quite a few years since I graduated from high school. I was not sure what to expect going into my program, I didn’t know how many people would be in my classes if I would get along with my instructors, and if I even would like the program. I had done a lot of research online, but I still had no idea what I was walking into. It took a bit to get used to the schedule and course load, but I ended up loving the course, instructors, and graduated with honours.

Years later, after moving back home due to losing my father, I went back to college to take accounting. Go figure I have disliked math my whole high school time, but enjoyed accounting. It was a struggle to get through the course and the course load but did eventually graduate. Honestly, I think it was too soon, and I was using this as a distraction.

I did also go to university for a semester, that I will talk about in next weeks post about back to school and mental health.

 Everyone’s experience will be different, whether you are going to be living at home or living in a dorm setting. There are some things that I wish I had known and listened to when I was going through school – all three times.

–      You will get homesick. It will not hit you right away since you will be running around busy. But once classes start and a schedule happens, you will miss home. Your new surrounding can feel overwhelming, and it will pass as you settle. Just give yourself time, but if you need to, look into your school’s counselling if you want to talk to someone.

–      Don’t take too much with you. While moving away from school is significant, and you want to take your room with you to make it comfortable and homey, don’t. Dorm rooms are small and do not have a lot of space for belongings. To start, bring the necessities with you to set up, later you can add more if you want to. Honestly, I was only in my dorm room to sleep and relax, a lot of my time was spent at the library or studying in a common area.

–      Budget. School is pricey, and some costs will come up that is not listed on the financial pages. Try saving what you can before going off to college/university as well, it will help in the long run. Write down your expenses each month and keep track of your spending so if a social outing comes up, you can go. Some schools have budgeting seminar as part of their welcome week to check out.

–      Go to class. Attendance may not be mandatory, but you are paying a lot of money to be there, and most instructors have a minimum number of missed classes before they mark you as having dropped the class. Not to mention that depending on the course, it may only be once a week, so a lot of content is covered.

–      Meet with your instructors. They have a lot of students that they teach, which means they receive a lot of emails from them as well with questions. Make a habit out of going to their office during office hours to ask your questions.

Don’t forget to enjoy this experience, make friends and try new things. Happy studies!

Until next time!

Sarah Wylde

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