Leaving Home for the First Time

Leaving home for the first time can be both very exciting and very scary. On the one hand, you may feel like this is your chance to be able to make decisions for yourself without constantly needing to ask for permission from parents. At the same time making decisions and figuring things out on your own can also feel stressful. Leaving home for the first time is a big new experience, especially because you may have to consider doing things that you may not have done before such as cooking, doing laundry, maybe even booking a doctor’s appointment. In addition to that, you may also have to find your way around a big campus, if going to university, meet many new people, and go to lectures where you may have to do a lot more independent work than you probably did in high school.

Tips for Leaving Home

•     Keep an open mind. You will meet all kinds of new people with different lifestyles and perspectives and it is important to be mindful of that.

•     Try new things and explore. When given the time, for example, during orientation week, try to do things you have never done before (and that does not have to involve drinking), maybe trying a new dessert or going to see a performer you have never even heard of on campus. Also explore your campus, get to know some of the buildings you will have lectures in or some of the cool places on campus where you can get food.

•     It is 100% okay to say “no”. University can be a place where people drink and party and you might be in situations where people are asking you to do those things. Remember that it is okay to say “no” regardless of the number of times you are being asked to drink or party. If you would rather not drink or if you would like to go to bed early so you can be awake for that 8:30am lecture, that’s completely fine. If you are over the age of 19 and feel that you might want to drink, however, do so responsibly.

•     Get to know some of the resources on campus. University can be stressful, especially when trying to balance out having good grades, figuring out how to study for exams and doing all of the assignments on time with having a social life. So getting to know some of the resources on campus might be a great idea, if you start to feel overwhelmed. Knowing where on campus you can get help as well as how you can access it can be helpful. You might consider checking out student health services, counselling services, an athletic centre and campus programs that can help you figure out how to study more effectively.

•     Keep in touch with family and friends from home. When feeling overwhelmed it might be a good idea to contact people from home who know you well, whether that may be your parents, a best friend or anyone else you feel comfortable talking to.

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with the new experiences that come once you leave home, you can contact me and we can chat about it.