I still remember when we were kids, in all reality babies and all we knew was debate is life, family gatherings are chaotic, and coffee needed to be available in an IV drip.
Some has changed while a few still remain. Debate helped mold us into the people we are. It shaped us and gave us a home when a lot of us felt like we did not have one. For that, it will forever hold a place sincerely in our hearts but we now know life doesn't stop and end with this activity. Instead, it is forever in our bones and that doesn't change when the season is over. Family gatherings are still hectic but in a much different way. We are loud with our voices but not with our feet. The one thing that hasn't changed is we can all agree on coffee needs to come in an IV drip but I promise you that statement will never be truer than after your first early morning class.
You will be experiencing so many changes this year. They are scary. I won't lie. Moving into the dorm is terrifying if you have never really left home. Even more terrifying if you move across state lines. Don't worry. I know it is easy for me to say have done all of the things you will enviably do or at least some of them but it really does get better. Everyone tells you it just kind of happens and sometimes it does but it is okay to be homesick. The first weekend in the dorms I came home and I don't regret it.
For me, it didn't happen overnight. In fact, it wasn't until I got involved with campus activities until I felt connected. That is a big part of the whole transition. Get involved on campus or around campus if you are living in the area. My freshman semester I didn't do that and in turn, had a massive sense of loss just in my well being. It does not have to be big. It can be as simple as writing in the newspaper or the Odyssey for example. It could be getting a job at your local hipster coffee shop.
A lot of times when people say student involvement it's important to understand it does not have to be something as extroverted as rushing. If that is something you are in to go for it but if not that is okay. Don't alienate yourself just because you might not get into school spirit. Take your time to find where you want your voice to go. That is completely okay. People should do it a lot more often.
Move-in day will be exhausting. First because of the overwhelming amount of school spirit you will run into. Get ready to see a lot of school colors everywhere. Also, overexcited RA's. Cut them a little slack though. Just like you, they are also a little nervous and excited. The second reason why you will be exhausted is that you are legitimately moving. That could involve lifting a mini fridge, drawers, way too many clothes, shower caddy supplies, and so many much other stuff that lists might tell you to pack but you might not actually need. For example, I used my coffee maker more than my actual fridge. Even with help at the end of the day all, you will want to do is move into that barely made semi comfy mattress and go to sleep.
At first, you will think everything is going really slow but I promise you that it is going fast. You will blink and it will be fall break. It can get pretty overwhelming but never underestimate the power of FaceTime when you enviably get homesick or stressed out. If you don't have FaceTime download Skype ASAP. They will be lifesavers.
Over time it gets better and easier even though the classes get harder. Take a deep breath. Seriously, download a meditation app. It will help.
I cry as I'm writing this because it has finally hit me: you are not little anymore. You are going to be going into this scary world and I can't protect you. What I can do and will do is be that FaceTime or Skype call. Be that person you call when you are slowly slipping into a mental breakdown during midterm week. I will be there. No matter what, during all the difficult moments and some of the happiest in your life.
I love you all. You will always have a home in my heart even if your physical locations are 305, 502, or 1475 miles away from your physical home.