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Moving Away from Home: Advice for living in your 1st apartment or dorm

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By Abi Celaya

High school diplomas have been handed out, fall schedules have been chosen, and now it’s time to move out and attend college.

Freshman year of college is a nerve-wracking time for many students who are leaving home for the first time.

Hearing from former college freshmen about what they wish they would have known can be a helpful way for incoming freshmen to prepare for the upcoming school year.

For students who will soon take their first steps into the world away from home, here is some advice from someone who has been there and done that.

Take your time when choosing a roommate. Housing portals are filled with hundreds of nervous students hoping to find a match. Slow down and take your time. Find someone who will complement not only your personality but your schedule.

It is easy to stay tucked away in your dorm. Make sure to get out of your room once a day. Go to events, go to class, walk around campus and make sure you’re getting out there.

Some residence halls will host events. Make sure to stop by even if you are by yourself. You could meet a new friend or discover a new interest. The possibilities are endless.

The freshman 15 is real. College meal plans make it hard to eat healthy, so make sure to exercise all the good habits you had at home. Make good use of the gyms, and try to cook when you can.

Lastly, this is college. It’s important to focus on your studies, but it’s also important to prioritize your mental health so you can have fun and enjoy yourself. The first year flies by.

Here are some things other college students wish they had known their freshman year.

Autumn Hughes, University of California San Diego

“Long-distance relationships do not work, so do not get a single room or you’ll seclude yourself and be lonely for no reason.”

Ashleyn Billings, NAU

“Make sure you get along well with your roommate before you are stuck with them in the same dorm room for a whole year.”

Hayden Jacobs, ASU

“Dorms are so busy, and it is tough moving around without big boxes to keep everything together.”

Mackenzie Dittmer, UA

“A water pitcher or a bunch of water bottles is a must.”

Abbie Elton, NAU

“Don’t bring a Swiffer Sweeper for a room with only carpet. … Invest in your own vacuum cleaner.”

Ryan McLendon, University of North Texas

“If there is not a communal toilet/sink, you need to buy your own toilet paper, hand soap and bathmat.”

Hayden Kleinschmidt, NAU

“I feel like people talk about how you’re going to be besties with everyone you meet in college, but that is so far from the truth.”

Samantha Adams, Tempe

“The less clutter the better in the communal living space (wall décor doesn’t count). Such a small space can get suffocating really quick, so it’s good to keep it tidy and organized to maximize your space.”

Melissa Gingold, UA

“Laundry sucks in the dorms.”

Katie Cercone, ASU

“I wish I knew to make a secluded space earlier … and tell my roommate not to have her boyfriend sleep over every day.”

Eva Hansen, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

“I wish I knew I did not need so many things. I did not use half of my clothes, a lot of my cooking utensils or the random assortment of things I brought because I swore I would need them.”

Bree Horn, UA

“Something I wish I would have known is the importance of routine when living independently for the first time. For me that mostly entailed figuring out a schedule for when I would grocery shop or how often I wanted to mop or what things in my space were fulfilling me and which things weren’t.” CT

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