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That College Transition, pt 2: Dear New College Student:

The countdown was on the fridge for months, the senioritis set in about March of the last school year, going off to college was all that your young adult has talked about for months. The graduation ceremony commenced, the open house happened, they worked hard all summer to build up that bank account, and now the time is really here. Off to college they go.

Wait. How did that even happen, and now what?! Soon your home will feel a little less chaotic, or completely empty if this is the last of your children to head to college, and your free time might be spent being just that, free. But it’s never really that easy is it. Reality is about to pendulum swing backward and smack your family right in the face.

Now, on to you ever so ready young adults! If you are anything like me you have had a sign in your room since you were 12 that read “Teenagers, tired of being harassed by your parents? ACT NOW! Move out, get a job, and pay your own way, quick! While you still know everything.” So you feel so beyond ready to move out and get on with it already. If I can have a few minutes of your attention before you go.

· Find a routine. This will be something different for everyone, but try to get a routine through certain activity staples soon. Those activities can be reading a book for leisure not school, journaling, taking a walk, going to church, having lunch with a friend or mentor, calling home, workout, cook, etc. But find a few activities that help you feel relax, centered, and mindful and do them regularly, in fact do them so consistently they make a routine.

· Find your people. Find a group of solid friendships at your new home. If some of them come from your past stellar, if some of them are brand new spectacular, if you have to physically go out and find some super. But find your people, people who lift you up, advocate for you, talk you through all the phases of adjustment, and check you when you are talking crazy, because we all do. Use your supports and be a support in return.

· Stay connected. Reach out to old high school friends and check in on them, even more importantly if they traveled to the same college as you. Call home, connect with extended family, they would all love to hear how it’s all going for you. Find connections though sports teams or clubs. Get a job at a local business. Travel off campus. Find a new community because the benefits of connection to community far exceed the benefits of staying in your bubble.

· Talk, really talk. When someone asks how you are doing or how your day is, take that opportunity to be real. No one has perfect days every day, also, no one is fine all the time – it’s just not humanly possible. More importantly, when something is truly bothering you in a way that you cannot shake it, talk. Talk to everyone about it until you find the right person if that is what it takes. All campuses carry a counseling center or some form for students for this exact reason. Adjustment to college comes will all the bells and whistles of awesome-ness but it also comes with the terrifying reality of being an adult.

· Finally, be kind, love, and care for yourself. This is going to be an ultimate transition for you. Go on dates, not just with a significant other, with friends, with yourself. Find a new hobby or rekindle an old hobby. Find a support group or start your own, book clubs can be so much more than reading books, start a “life is changing club” and invite anyone who has, is, or will experience change (eh-hem, so everyone you know).

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