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How to Make Your Small College Feel Less Like High School

While the transition from high school to college can be difficult for all of us, one thing that makes it harder is feeling like you never really left high school. As someone who wanted a smaller school, this was not something I had considered. My college is about the same size as my high school population-wise, and this has allowed for both ups and downs of making the change, but when looking forward to a new experience started to feel like deja vu, there were a few things to help everything feel less familiar, in a good way. 

The first thing was to decorate my dorm differently than my room at home. After a long day at school, I would come back to my house, to my familiar bedroom. When making the change to college, I wanted a room that felt comfortable and like it was mine, but not the same as my room at home. This meant some different decor, and a different layout. I also started using my desk as opposed to doing work in my bed, which was what I normally did in high school. 

This brings me to the next thing I did, which was to change my routine. In high school, every day was the same. I woke up at the same time, and followed the same schedule. When I came to college, I made sure to change this. The change in schedule made the whole experience feel more independent, and like my classes were my own, and not the same as everyone else’s. This also allowed for me to sleep in some days, or get work done at different times of the day. I also have been able to get a job, and work in the mornings which I was never able to do in high school. Everyone works differently, so doing what works best for you is an important thing to figure out. 

The last thing I did was become much more independent. In high school, I often walked to class and lunch with friends. Now, I walk to class by myself usually, and only have a few meals a week with my friends. Again, this is about preference, but it makes me feel like I’m here for myself, and not because everyone else is. This has also lead to doing small things for myself, like getting lunch after the same class every week, and coffee before classes on some days. 

Overall, college is most definitely what you make it, so finding out what works for you is a process, but also important to the experience!

Jade is a psychology major graduating with the class of 2024. In her free time, you can find Jade listening to music, cooking, or hanging out with friends
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