Edited by: Jina Aryaan
Attending university is a huge departure from high school, especially if you’re moving away from your family and friends back home. Maybe you’ve never lived away from home, or even if you have, it hasn’t been for this long at a time. But don’t worry! It’s easy to stay connected and to start making new connections. Follow these tips below, and hopefully they’ll make being away from home a little less difficult.
Schedule Phone Calls
It’s a weird feeling being away from home and not speaking to your parents or your siblings for a long period of time. Planning a weekly phone call with your mom or your sister is a great way to stay connected because you’ll know exactly when it’s happening and you can plan around it! It’s also something that you can look forward to every week.
If you’ve scheduled a phone call with your family or friends, set a reminder for that phone call! You might get caught up with schoolwork and forget about it, so set a reminder for the day before or an hour before the call so you’re ready for it and not caught by surprise.
Set Up Snapchat
When you’re in high school you probably only Snapchat your friends, but setting up an account for your parents is a great way to stay connected! Whether you’re doing it so they can send you daily pics of your cat or you just want to see their lovely faces, it keeps you in touch with them. Once you get a streak going, you’ll want to snap them every day! And don’t worry, you can block them from seeing your story if there’s anything you don’t want them to see.
While nothing beats seeing your loved ones in person, FaceTiming and Skyping them come close! This might not be something you do every week, but it helps when you’re having a tougher time in a class or with friends. Being able to see their face and have them around is the best way to feel comforted and it’s a more personal way to have them reassure you that everything is going to turn out okay.
Send A Text (Or Two or more)
This one might seem super obvious, but sending a text every once in a while, saying ‘I miss you’ or ‘I love you’ or even something super random that you were thinking of, is one of the best ways to stay connected with your family. Whether it’s three words or a super long paragraph, it shows that you’re thinking of them and it means a lot.
Decorating your room with photos of things and people that you care about is one of the easiest ways to feel at home, even when you’re hundreds or maybe even thousands of miles away. Your room will probably have a corkboard to attach them to, or you can put them in picture frames or tape them to your walls. It’s nice to be reminded every day that your family and friends are supporting you, even if it’s from a distance.
Making New Connections
This might seem obvious, but introductions are important. If you go to your first Psych class and sit next to a stranger, try to introduce yourself so they’re not a stranger anymore! They might become someone you study with or share notes with in the future, or they could end up being a great friend!
Say Yes to Invites
If people in your residence ask if you’d like to go out with them to dinner or hang out, say yes! Obviously, there are situations where you might feel uncomfortable and you need to say no, and that’s completely okay. But if you’re not hungry and someone asks you if you want to go to dinner, just go! You don’t have an obligation to order or eat anything, but it’s a good way to start building a new community in your new home.
Join a Club or Intramural
There are over 300 clubs at the University of Toronto, so you’ll be able to find something that interests you. And if you don’t, you can start a new club! This is a really great way to meet new people, since you already know that you share a common interest. There are also tons of intramural teams, and you usually don’t need to be a super experienced player to join (sometimes you don’t need any experience at all).
Hopefully, your transition to university is smooth and painless. If you miss your family or your friends, we promise it gets easier when school is in full swing. You’ll be so busy with schoolwork and getting to know all your new friends, you won’t have enough time to get emotional! Keep an open mind and be open to new experiences, since that’s what university is all about. Just make sure that you’re finding ways to stay connected, but at the same time making new connections with the people you’ll be spending the next four years with at university.