New School, New Place

I’ve moved around a large majority of my life; my dad was part of the Navy, so we were constantly packing up and heading to new places. I was born in Texas, but after about two years we moved to South Carolina. After another year, we moved to Japan, where we lived on a military base for three months. For all these reasons, I was homeschooled for my pre-school years. But I had fun and enjoyed each new place.

Now, before I started kindergarten, we moved from Japan to New Orleans, Louisiana. We lived a couple blocks from one of my favorite Uncles and from my school as well. I walked there each morning with my mum, and I made friends easily. We always played around with our tri-fold napping mats, and we played tag with some of the big kids on the black top. I absolutely loved it!

And then my parents told me and my two younger siblings that we’d be moving to Alabama. I was devastated, but that didn’t bother my parents a single bit. The beginning of that summer, we packed up all the boxes of our things and made the drive out to our new home in Birmingham, Alabama. I made new friends there just as easily, and I loved our neighbors. At the end of my second grade year, my parents told us (and our two year old brother) that we were moving again.

So, I began my third grade school year in our new home in Healdsburg, California. It was a little harder to make friendships that time, because third grade is around the time that most people have already kind of made friends. But I eventually found a nice group of people; and we’ve lived there ever since, so apart from high school, there weren’t any major changes that required to really make new friends. Except for spending my entire Junior year of high school in Germany.

With all that moving around, college wasn’t really that big of a change for me. People are always so surprised that I chose to move all the way from California to Pennsylvania for a university, but moving has already really defined who I am. I love learning to adapt to new places, love meeting new people, and love to embrace all the change that the whole experience comes along with.

That being said, of course I miss my family and friends, but because they are that — my friends and family — I know that they’ll always be there for me when I go back home, or when I’m super down and need someone to talk to about things that are really upsetting me.

I know that there are many people who feel uncomfortable in such a new environment. In many cases, people are no longer with their friends they’ve known for as long as they can remember. They may no longer be with their parents, and feel like they are lacking support they no longer thought they truly needed or still wanted. I myself even find myself feeling homesick or lonely or anxious at times.

My advice for anyone feeling this way — as someone who has lots of first-hand experience in this department — is to try first to figure out the things that make you happy on your own. Find a hobby, for example that you truly enjoy; reading, writing, drawing, writing music! That way, you have something to do that you love whenever you feel lonely at all. Exploring the area is also a great way to lessen those feelings. It allows you to really explore the place you’ll be spending a large amount of your time in.

Another major thing is to get out of your comfort zone. In some cases, this is much easier said than done. However, you can’t really get to know people if you never put yourself out there to meet anyone. It might seem a little frightening, but chances are the person is feeling the same as you; they want to get to know more people, but they’re just a bit to anxious to make that first conversation. Be that person!

Other than that, my last bit of advice is to just remember that even though you may be a ways from home at your new college campus, you always have friends and family back home who love you and will be there to cheer you up whenever you need it. The advantages of modern-age technology are at your fingertips so that they are never more than a call, text, or facetime away!

Enjoy your new experiences, embrace them, and feel free to share any additional advice in the comment section.

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