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The 5 Emotional Stages of Preparing for a Big Move

This week I realized I only had four weeks until graduation.Two weeks after graduation, I will be boarding a plane for my newest stage in life: 1,500  miles away from home in Washington D.C. While graduation is intimidating for everyone, it’s even more terrifying when your moving far from home for a job or internship  Processing the next steps in your life is stressful, so here is (from personal experience) the stages of preparing for a big move:


1. Curiosity  

You got that perfect job or internship in an amazing location! Congrats! Now you are faced with the realization that pretty soon you’ll be living in a brand new environment in a new city or state or even a different part of the world! If you are like me, you might find yourself falling down a rabbit-hole of research in order to find out as much information as possible. My recommendation? Don’t let this period of curiosity take over your life, you might just forget to study for that important exam in a few days.


2. Planning

You’ve done ALL the research, so it’s time to start planning. Finding housing accommodations  that won’t break the bank, making travel arrangements, and figuring out how to ship your ridiculous amount of clothes across the country is a tall order. Take your time during this phase but don’t panic. That comes later.


3. Denial

The clock is ticking and none of it seems very real. Rather than going asleep dreaming of your upcoming adventure you might find yourself purposely avoiding the subject all together. Or, like me, keep telling yourself you have more time than you actually do. Whether your holding on to your last few weeks as a student, or trying to avoid the reality that you are about to be very far from you comfort zone you’ll, the denial IS real.  I mean, you have plenty of time….right?


4. Panic

It hits you. Pretty soon everything is changing. Not only are you going to graduate college, you are also going to be in a completely new environment with completely different people. Are you going to make friends? Will you get lost figuring out the public transportation? What if the subway door closes on your backpack and you are late on your very first day of work? All of these thoughts (irrational or not) will eventually flood in. Just be sure to balance out your panic with a bit of de-stressing. Ice cream helps too.



5. Excitement

You’ve panicked about getting lost in the city, you’ve worried about being able to afford to enjoy all the new experiences, and you’ve stressed about forgetting something after you are on the plane. With all that behind you all you have left is excitement! It’s okay to worry and stress, but be sure to remind yourself that you’ve made it this far, and the next big thing will just be another adventure. Take a page out of Elle Wood’s book and go get ‘em.

Bethany Irvine

Georgetown '21

Bethany is a second year graduate student based in Washington D.C. When she's not enjoying the sights and sounds of downtown D.C. she's busy studying the intersection between politics and communication.
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