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Navigating the Cross-Country College Move: Tips for a Smooth Transition

Charlie Fletcher

Navigating the Cross-Country College Move: Tips for a Smooth Transition

You’re likely excited about going to the college of your dreams to get that diploma and start your professional life. However, sometimes that perfect school may be on the other side of the country. After the initial excitement wears off, you may start to worry about what a big move could mean. How will you get there, make friends, and fit in? Put your mind at ease with these tips.

Think About What It Means To Move Somewhere Else

While you’ll likely have your nose stuck in a book during your college courses, you may leave class one day and realize that you’re in an entirely new and strange place. You can try to avoid that awkwardness and get your expectations in check before you leave.

Before the school year starts, it’s a wise idea to fly out to the new city for a weekend so you can get the lay of the land. This is a chance to tour the campus and see where you’ll live, find local gas stations and grocery stores, and learn the best routes. That way, you won’t be so lost when you get there.

Unless you’re moving to a town where you have family you can visit, you need to prepare yourself for the idea that you may not have a social circle to turn to right off the bat. You’ll need to make friends. You can do that by talking to students in your class and the dorms. When you speak to people, be yourself and try to find common ground. Invite them to study or just eat dinner together in the dining hall.

Many college campuses are in smaller towns, and if that’s the case for you, then be prepared. There are many pros and cons of living in a new or smaller town. A big benefit is that it will be easier to learn the area, and you’ll face less traffic if you live off-campus. Since there are fewer vehicles, there’s also less noise pollution. That’s essential when studying.

However, you should research your small town because some have fewer resources, like medical care, and you’ll need to know where to go. Also, there may be fewer demographic representations than you’re used to, so think about that if it’s a concern for you.

Packing And Organizing

Once you decide that a cross-country move is right for you, it’s time to start preparing and packing. Before you move out of your house, you’ll need to get your finances in order. You may have financial aid and be living in the dorm, but will that cover everything you’ll need to buy every week? You’ll also need to determine how much money you have to move. Will you be able to ship your belongings and fly, or will you need to drive a rented truck to your destination? Sit down and hammer out these details.

If you’re moving into the dorms, you’ll likely need to downsize. Create a packing checklist for the essentials. Write down everything you must bring, like bedding, toiletries, and clothing for warmer and cooler weather, and pack it all first. In the worst-case scenario, if you can only initially ship a few boxes, you’ll know which packages are the priority. Of course, you should make a little room for sentimental items that remind you of home. You don’t want to feel alone as you get used to your surroundings.

Take whatever you no longer need to a local charity so it can be recycled and find a new home. It’s a sustainable decision that helps the planet and folks in need.

If you live off-campus in an apartment, you’ll want to get your affairs in order before you arrive, including:

  • Obtain renters insurance to protect your belongings
  • Set up your utilities
  • Find a part-time job to pay for it all

You may be able to work in a place on campus like the kitchen or dining hall. You may also be able to find seasonal work in a local retail store.

Preparing For A Long Drive

Depending on how far you’ll be traveling, you’ll want to make an itinerary. It should include the hotels and rest stops along the way. You don’t want to drive for too long, or you could become exhausted and put yourself in danger. Book hotels in advance so you know how long you have to drive beforehand and that you have a guaranteed place to stay.

If you’re taking your own vehicle, the priority must be to ensure that it’s well-maintained so you have a smooth journey during your road trip. If it’s been a while since you’ve had your vehicle inspected, you should consider bringing it to a mechanic who can check the brakes, the battery, and all of your lights.

This is also a good chance to teach yourself some basic tips about maintaining a vehicle. Tasks like changing your fluids and checking the air pressure in your tires are easy to learn on YouTube. It’s good to know a few tricks in case you break down and help isn’t immediately available.

Remember that distracted driving can be a real hazard when you’re going someplace new. For one, you’re not used to your surroundings and may try texting someone for directions; for another, you could be concentrating on your GPS navigator instead of the road. Keep this on the forefront of your mind and your eyes on the road until you arrive at your destination.

It’s also suggested that you try and bring your parents along for the ride. They may even be able to drive and pay for your food and lodging. Your parents only want what’s best for you. They can be an incredible resource, and since you’re moving away, they’ll likely want to spend some quality time with you. They’ll feel good knowing they can drop you off and that you’re all set up and have everything you need.

Moving away from everything you know is not always easy, but if going to this school will help you accomplish your professional dreams, it’s worth the effort. Consider these tips, and you’ll make traveling stress-free so you can start college on a good note.

SEE ALSO: Thriving in College as an Introvert: Strategies for Success and Personal Growth

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