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August 26th, 2011

Back To College: What To Pack and What Not To Pack

 
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What Not To Pack:

1. Your judgments:
You’ll find that some of your professors and classmates have a completely different perspective about political, social, religious, or spiritual issues than you do. While your reaction might be to dismiss these ideas as incorrect or misguided, remember that there’s a good chance that those who hold these different viewpoints feel the same way. So, take the time to really listen to people’s opinions — more likely than not, you’ll find some common ground, and learn something new.

2. Your bad habits:
This is the perfect time to get rid of all those negative routines you’ve been clinging to. Whether you’re addicted to nail biting, Cheeto-binging, or procrastinating, try as hard as you can to break away. Replace these practices with positive ones, like eating healthy, getting organized, or giving meditation a try. Find your own personal, productive ritual that makes you happy and doesn’t have a negative effect on school, social life, or your body.

3. The stuff you don’t need:
You think you need everything, but then get to your closet of a dorm room and find that only half of it fits. So, take the time to sort through your personal belongings to figure out what is important. You don’t need six pillows, your whole wardrobe, and all of your stuffed animals from childhood. Don’t leave behind the things that have sentimental value, though. Bring things like family photos or a souvenir from your favorite vacation, and leave all the extra stuff. Because that’s all it really is: stuff.

4. Your family:
As hard as it might be for you (and your parents) to come to terms with, you have to leave your family behind. Being away from your family is really hard at first, but dwelling on homesickness and how much you miss them will make it much more difficult for you to put yourself out there. While family is obviously really important, it is also important to begin moving on and away so you can take the first baby steps toward being an independent young adult.


What To Pack:

1. Your friendships:
The people you’ve become close with as you grew up will all be going their separate ways. In the blur of orientation week and all those new faces, don’t forget your friends. Make an effort to keep in touch — that way, you’ll always feel closer to home and to your support system. But just because its important to hold on to your old friends, that doesn’t mean you should be afraid to make new ones. Chances are, you’ll find a lot that these new friends have in common with your friends from home.

2. Your values:
Most of your teenage years are spent forming your own set of morals and values. But just because you’re leaving the stricter, parent-controlled life you had at home, you don’t need to sacrifice the important things that you believe in. At college your values will be challenged and pushed, and it’s okay to try new things. Just remember, even though you’ll want to make new friends and cultivate your college personality, go with your gut. If something feels like it pushes you too far, it’s probably best to remove yourself from the situation.

3. Your faith:
You don’t have to be super religious or brought up in a particular tradition to have some sort of faith. But you have faith in something, and that is important to hang on to. With so much potential drama, hurt feelings, and peer pressure that comes with the college experience, you’re going to need something to turn to at the end of the day. And remember that there are resources on campus, no matter what your faith, religion, or spiritual beliefs might be.

4. Everything you’ve learned in school so far (with a grain of salt):
Amidst the partying, sporting events, and fun extra-curriculars that inevitably come with the college experience, it is easy to sometimes forget that school is there, in the end, to support your intellectual growth. New ideas are built upon prior knowledge and experience, so keep in mind all those lessons and readings from high school. Apply the new things you learn to the old, and begin building a strong mind with intelligent, informed ideas.

5: Your copy of The Freshman Survival Guide:
Pretty much everything you need to know about going to college is included in this book, written by the editors of Busted Halo. The Freshman Survival Guide is an invaluable source of good advice and comfort for any incoming college freshman. It will help you get ready physically, emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually, but also be a consistent resource for you as you navigate your first year away from home and begin a part of your life that’s one step closer to being a real-world adult.

 
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The Author : Allison Dilyard
Allison Dilyard, a current Busted Halo intern, lives in New York City while studying undergraduate religious studies at Barnard College. In her spare time she reads whatever she can get her hands on and goes to as many movies as possible. She wants to get a Ph.D. and become either a professor or novelist -- or both.
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