I spent this past weekend moving into my new apartment, and doing so brought up a lot of memories of the move I made last year from home to residence. For those of you living in residence next year, move in day is only a few weeks away, and you’re probably pretty anxious. This time last year moving out was constantly on my mind, and I was always worrying about some little aspect of it. Here’s some advice that I wish I’d been told before I moved out.
It’s okay to feel homesick. There’ll be days where you’ll hear a song or see a photo that reminds you of home and makes you feel a knot in your stomach, and that’s completely normal. As you grow comfortable in your new place, you’ll feel homesick less and less often. There’ll also be days where you’ll wonder how you ever lived anywhere else but Toronto, and those are normal as well.
Your dons are there for you. Dons aren’t there to be hall monitors or party police, they’re there to support you. If you need some advice, or just someone to talk to, your don is always there. If you’re not living on residence your college or faculty may offer commuter dons. Another great alternative is Peers are Here, a non-judgemental drop-in space for students to talk about anything with fellow students.
You can still hang out with your friends from back home, even if you’re hundreds or thousands of kilometres apart. My biggest worry this time last year was falling out of touch with my friends from home. My friends went to different schools all around the province, and I was scared that the combination of university academics and geography would push us apart. Thanks to the internet, this didn’t happen. My friends and I decided to video chat together every week or two on Google Hangouts (free group video chats! check it out!), and our Facebook group chat stayed just as active as ever. Though you might not see each other every day, with a little bit of work and planning you can keep your friendships as strong as ever.
Get out of the U of T bubble. During our first house meeting of the year, my don warned us all of the “U of T bubble”: a Bermuda Triangle like stretch of land between College, Bloor, Spadina, and University that residence students rarely venture outside of. I told myself that I wouldn’t get trapped in the bubble, there was so much of the city that I wanted to explore! However, with the exception of a few trips to the Eaton Centre, I rarely left the bubble. As Danielle wrote in her post on moving, one of the best parts of moving is getting to explore the new area you’re living in.
Don’t shut yourself up in your room. What I miss the most about residence was how easy it was to hang out with people. Instead of having to make plans to see my friends, I could just walk down the hall and knock on their door. If you’re in residence sitting in a common room instead of sitting in your room can be a great way to make a new friend. If you’re not living in residence, try hanging out in a college or faculty’s common room, like University College’s JCR. You might just meet someone new!
GO TO CLASS!! Picture this. It’s mid-January, and you wake up fifteen minutes before your 9am class across campus. You look out the window and see snow everywhere, and notice that the windchill is 15 below 0. You have two options: #1 Pull on your snow boots and run through the snow to class or #2 Get back into your warm, snuggly bed. Choose #1. Though it’s alright to miss a class if you really need to, missed classes can pile up very easily. Missing a large number will just lead to stress and regret, and once you’ve missed one it’s easy to rationalize missing another. Your warm snuggly bed will always be there for you when you’re done class.
Have any questions about moving away from home? Leave a comment and we’ll help you out.