The first lesson:
It is okay that I'm a mess. Because just about everyone else is too. Move-in was smooth, but organizing took time. It's a new place, a new life, and a new structure. New adventures await, and some have already happened. For example, we wanted to go the beach fifteen minutes away from campus and it was about two hours before we actually got to the beach. Even so, it was a good day. My roommate likes precise organization, I like that less so. Everything I have with me has its place, but sometimes I like having a little chaos to remind me that sometimes life is messy, and that's okay. Because at some point, everything returns to its proper place.
I came to school after hearing horror stories of failed friendships and difficult classes. I came to school terrified for what lay ahead. I was happy to move on to a new chapter, but I couldn't quite put everything that could possibly go wrong out of my mind. I am pretty experienced when it comes to anxiety, so I packed everything that I thought would help keep me calm, from my mermaid tail blanket to an oil diffuser with an assortment of essential oils. Knowing yourself is important when you're leaving home, and stick to the generic packing list as much as possible, but know what else you are going to need, because it can make a pretty big difference, especially this first week.
The second lesson:
Go with the flow. You're not going to love everything, and you don't have to. But try what you haven't tried and talk to people you wouldn't normally talk to. This is a time to be someone new, so embrace it. If someone suggests an impromptu adventure, go with them, even if it's going to turn out in some weird, unanticipated way, like trying to find parking at Wrightsville beach for 45 minutes and then instead turning and driving all the way to Carolina Beach. Go with the flow, because otherwise, you aren't going to have any stories to tell. Have your stories about dumb mistakes so that when you make bigger ones you can think about how annoyed you were at the little things and laugh.
The third lesson:
My final two cents is this: you are here for a reason. Wherever you are, you chose to be there and there was a reason for that. Whenever you're homesick and missing your family or your high school friends, take a breath and remember why you picked here, instead of anywhere else. Remember that everyone else here also made that choice, which means there is bound to be someone just as scared as you are. You're not alone, you will always be able to find someone who will talk to you, and help you. If you're like me, and you have officially made it through the first week, congratulations. Only 207 weeks to go.