From my personal opinion, I feel no one ever talks about how hard the transition between college and home is (and vice versa). I’ve found that not a lot of people write posts about it or share the serious struggle that it is… but it is something that every college student encounters– am I right??? Although COVID has definitely extended this gap + brought a whole new set of challenges pertaining to transitioning, I feel this is a topic that should be discussed more often + I want to help.

I feel this post is timely because of Thanksgiving + Christmas break coming up, as well as it being something that EVERY college student encounters if they live on their college campus. While I’m not perfect at this transition by any means (trust me, it has been a journey), I have learned a few things from my first year of college that I feel may be helpful to make the transition easier.

So here are my top tips + advice pertaining to transitioning from college to school life + vice-versa: 

-establish priorities to maintain consistency 

One of the biggest issues with switching from home and school is lack of consistency. It feels like all your routines get disrupted + you have to completely start over + settle in. For those of you who don’t adapt well to change, its important to establish priorities– regular systems + habits– to maintain consistency + have some sort of familiarity in the chaos.

Some examples of habits to keep in mind are daily bible time, exercising, + your sleep schedule. While the other things around you may be shifting + wavering, you can find some sort of familiarity through prioritizing healthy habits. This will make the transition a lot more manageable + not as overwhelming. 

be intentional where you are 

One of the hardest things relationship-wise when going between school + home is maintaining relationships. My friend brought up one time that you’re always leaving someone + doing long distance, whether you’re going home or leaving home– and I think that’s such a great point. It is difficult to stay in touch with everyone, especially when you’re not with them for long periods of time.

While you probably won’t be perfect in all your relationships, the most important thing you can do is to make the most of where you are. If you are at school focus on those people + what you can do while you’re there. When you’re at home, focus on those people + spend time doing the things you love there. Focus on where your feet are + don’t let your mind wander. 

It’s much easier to be present + available when you are focused on where you are… not back at the other place. Both places probably have benefits (+ major differences) so make the most of the things that are unique to it, that you miss when you are away. While it’s not the most ideal situation, being intentional where you are helps you make the most of the place you’re at. 

Check out my post:  When Friendships Change Because of College…

have grace for yourself 

If I’m being honest, I almost feel like a completely different person when I’m home versus when I’m at school. The different environments pull different parts of my personality out of me + life is just so different. I also get down on myself for not being as productive at home or doing as much with people when compared to college. I start to feel guilty for not being the same… anyone else relate?

 It doesn’t really make sense of how long it takes to get back into a routine + get back to your systems, but it takes a good bit of time when transitioning. At these times when it feels like you’re a failure, have grace for yourself. These changes don’t come naturally, especially at first. It is okay to be learning + adjusting.  It’s okay that you aren’t the same at school as you are at home because you don’t have the same routines + structure. Don’t expect the same from both, but have patience towards yourself + your expectations in these changes.

-try to not switch between the two as much as possible

A tip I always tell people is to not go back and forth as much as possible. While you may miss you family or have a free weekend to go home, going back and forth makes the transition more difficult. It is harder to adjust when you are constantly going back + forth (+ and there are also other downfaults as well). I find that if I am in one place for a long amount of time, I don’t have to go through the transition struggle as often.

I know this looks different for each person + depends on the situation, but if you can limit how many times you switch I feel (or at least for me) that it helps tremendously with my emotions + getting into a routine.

Along with that, I learned this year that going home with a purpose helps as well. This semester I went home one time just for fun + it was really hard to switch between the two because I was just lingering at home (if that makes any sense). I highly recommend coming home for a specific event or task, that way, once that thing ends, you are mentally ready to come back to school + go back to your routine.

-plan things to do to keep you distracted + involved

When I don’t have things planned or tasks to complete, I sometimes feel lonely where I am. If I’m being honest, when I am at home, I start to miss my friends + get jealous of all the fun things they are doing. If I’m at school, I start to get homesick + feel that I’m missing out on the things my family is doing.

I recommend making plans to look forward to when you are home (or at school). This also goes back to being intentional + making the most of where you are. Personally, it is best for me if I just keep myself distracted + busy when I first make the switch to prevent me from overthinking + getting sad. So that may work for you as well.

Overall, the transitions from college + home life are difficult + not talked about enough. Hopefully this post can help you see that you are not alone in the struggle + that there are ways you can get through it. 

I would love it if you comment if you have struggled with this as well or if you have any tips that have helped you through the transition!

-Ainsley <3