Making the Transition from High School to College

High school is over

College is the beginning of a new chapter in your life. Yes, I know that sounds awfully like a greeting card or a sappy graduation speech, but it’s so true. I’m nowhere close to the same person I was when I got to UNC. I really have become a better version of myself.  How did this happen? I was able to hold onto the great things about high school, while realizing that high school was over and that I needed to really let some things go. It can be hard because, for some people, they have been going to school with the same friends since pre-school. Now, they are splitting up and going to different colleges. It’s definitely a balancing act, but you can do it.

First, don’t go home every weekend. How will you ever really be able to establish yourself at a place when you break your rhythm every weekend? Now, for those of you who come from Boise, Idaho, you probably won’t have a problem with this. However, more than 80% of Carolina students are from North Carolina, which really isn’t that big. There are lots of great things happening here over the weekends anyways and this will help you get to know campus. The Carolina Union Activities Board (CUAB) brings big box office movies to the Union for FREE! Granted they come about 3 months after they have left the theaters, but can you really complain? Didn’t get to see Eclipse this summer? You can bet it will be at CUAB.

Photo of girls eating ice cream
New friends enjoy some ice cream together during a WOW event.

Second, expand your friend group to more than just those people that you went to high school with. Once again, I’m mostly talking to us in-state residents. I’m not saying dump your old friends at the Old Well and never look back. I’m just suggesting that maybe you grab lunch with them once or twice a week but go to dinner with your new suite or hall mates during the week. Carolina students network really well, and you never know who you are going to meet that will be a connection into a really great on-campus opportunity. That’s what is great about the residence halls not being divided up by major, year, or athlete/non-athlete. Diversity brings about opportunity.

Third, you do not have to tell your family what you are going to be doing every single day. You are living on your own now. It is time to make your own decisions about whether or not it’s a good idea to hang out at HJ until 2 a.m. on Tuesday night. Call your mom. Call your grandmother. Skype your cousin. Facebook chat with your girlfriend at home. Don’t neglect your family, but don’t isolate yourself from the Carolina family either.

Fourth, if you feel like you are going to be homesick, don’t bring every picture you’ve ever taken with your best friend who is going to the college in your hometown. Pictures are great, plus decorating your room with them make it look really cool. They have the ability to capture moments that you never want to forget. However, don’t stay lost in those memories. Going out and trying new things on campus are a great to make new memories.

Embrace Carolina. Southern hospitality will ensure that Carolina will hug you back. Plus, it makes going home that much sweeter when you haven’t seen it in a while.

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