We’re finally at the point in the year again where a lot of teens will be packing up and moving out of the house for the first time. I remember X number of years ago (that I will not specify for fear of sounding OLD) where I myself packed up everything I thought was important to me and hauled it from Northern California to Southern California. I was 18, naive, wide eyed and (in my mind) indestructible. Making that move away from home was, at the time, the single biggest event that had happened in my life. For the first time I would be completely responsible for my own well being – feeding myself, doing all of my own laundry, making sure I got to where I had to be on time, literally every single mundane thing I had never thought twice about, I now had to. It was the best thing to ever happen to me.
Because I love making lists, here are a few things I wish I had known before I moved away from home for the first time.
- Everything changes. And that’s okay. You’re going to feel like you were spun in a circle, rolled upside down, thrown against a wall and then asked to walk in a straight line – it’s not going to happen. The best thing you can do is take a deep breath and take things one step at a time.
- Trust your instincts. For making friends, for going out, for picking classes, for literally anything – trust yourself.
- Have a portable phone charger. This will save your life more times than you will ever know.
- Try to eat some fruit and vegetables. There are more food groups than just pizza. I wish someone had told me this purely for digestive purposes.
- Take care of your skin. Wash your face, moisturize, exfoliate, wear sunscreen, drink lots of water. Drink so much water that you have to pee every hour. Your older self will thank you later.
- Try to exercise even if it’s just going for a walk. Fresh air is really good for you, who knew? Also endorphins will be your best friend when you’re stressed out while studying for finals.
- Be on time. Learning this now will help you SO much when you have to enter into the adult world post college. Trust me.
- Be nice. Shockingly people respond really well when you’re nice and respectful. Just be a decent human being.
- On the other hand, stand up for yourself when needed. Ain’t nobody got time to be walked all over.
- Find a happy medium with your roommates/suitemates. You have to live with them for nine months out of the year so make the effort to at least try and keep things civil. For some lovely reason, fate decided to shine down on me when I moved into my freshman dorm because my now best friend of seven years ended up being my suitemate.
- Pack toilet paper. This is the easiest thing of them all but honestly DO IT because so many people forget. Seriously.
- Things that you think are the end of the world, aren’t. This is something I’m still working on in my 20’s. So many things (at the time) make your world feel like it’s imploding. Breathe through it, remind yourself that it could always be worse, and find a way to take that next step forward. You’re going to be fine.