It’s the season of college freshmen. My social media feeds are full of excited students swarming campuses across the nation. As a homeschool guidance counselor, their enthusiasm warms my heart! Moving away to attend college is an exciting transition. But not everyone chooses to attend college post-high school – some choose to go into missions, start a business, or work. In each of these cases, moving away is part of the launch into God’s calling. If this is your first time moving away from home, here are some things to know.
Moving away gets you out of your comfort zone.
For homeschoolers, moving away from home is a significant transition. But regardless of your educational background, moving out forces you to step out of your comfort zone. This first step into life apart from your parents forces you to make independent decisions. Before, you had the option of independence – within the safety net of your parents’ presence. Though your parents will only be a phone call away, you’re now fully responsible for your wellbeing. That can be scary!
You’re going to have to make friends from scratch. You’ll have to make calls when your car breaks down. You’re going to manage your own time, check your own schedule, and give your own answers. Even if you’ve done these things while living at home, they bear more weight once you move out. Prepare to get out of your comfort zone and into this new life!
It’s okay to get homesick – but not everyone does.
When my sister moved to Kentucky to work for Answers in Genesis, she was extremely homesick the first month. When I moved to Virginia to work for Liberty University, I wasn’t homesick for four years. Everybody handles change differently, and there’s no right or wrong way! It’s okay to get homesick. It’s good to work through those emotions and mourn the change. But don’t romanticize the past, making it bigger and better than it was. There is a reason God has you where you are. Now is the time to put down roots.
Conversely, if you don’t feel homesick, refuse to let guilt reign in your heart. Guilt is not of God! Not missing home isn’t a sign you never appreciated it. It’s a sign that you’re where you need to be.
Comparison will defeat you.
Wherever you’re called, do not compare your present calling with your former place. You can’t expect this new season to be just like the old one! Don’t try to replicate life at home in a new city with new people. Embrace the newness! Get to know how things are done in your new place. Seek out friends who stretch you a little. Accept people for who they are and embrace your place for what it is – not what it isn’t.
Making friends takes effort.
I’ve lived in four states, three of them at least a twelve-hour drive from my Michigan hometown. Moving away took me out of my normal circle of friends, and moving around the nation did the same thing. I’ve had to learn how to make friends (which is basically like dating, just more often, and more work!). Some friends will fall into your life naturally. They’ll sit beside your cubicle and life will never be the same. Others you’ll have to seek out, meeting through friends-of-friends or, like me, online (many of my “real life” friends I met through blogging).
Regardless of how you meet, maintaining friendships takes effort. Don’t make a habit of hiding in your apartment with Netflix. Set a precedent your first few months: get out of the house, meet people for coffee, go to the bonfire, and attend the Bible study. You might not want to do it, but it’s an investment in yourself and your relationships – one you won’t regret.
You’ll be as happy as you choose to be.
Moving away is a huge transition. You might be homesick. You’ll be on your own. But you can also be happy! This season has so much potential. Don’t miss it by hiding out, comparing, or wishing it away.
I’m currently packing boxes to move back to my Michigan hometown. In the five years I’ve been gone I met my husband, established my career, had a baby, and so much more. Moving away taught me independence, creativity, resourcefulness, and trust in the Lord. It forced me to think outside the boxes I’d created for people around me. It taught me how to make friends. Now I’m going home, taking all this wisdom with me. God’s timing is perfect.
Don’t let fear ruin this exciting season! Make the most of moving away. It may only happen once.