Moving out of home and into a brand new environment, especially one as different as college, can feel pretty disorienting. You can feel like you lose all sense of belonging, but that’s not something that’s a permanent change. In fact, you can easily speed up the sense that your college your new place to be with the tips below.

Make it a little more you

While college should be a fresh new experience, that doesn’t mean you have to totally abandon everything you knew and loved before hand. Take the time to find roommates or cultural organizations that have some familiarity to you. Bring a box that has a few reminders and treats from home to give you that emotional impact. As soon as you move into your dorm room or wherever you are staying off-campus, start personalizing your space to let it show a little more of yourself in it.

Get into the spirit

One of the unique things about our education system compared to so many others is the pride and enthusiasm we can develop for the places that help shape our minds as we continue to grow. School spirit culture is a big part of the college experience for many and it can help you connect with so many new friends. It can be as simple as buying some school spiritwear around campus, or getting involved with committees and clubs. Show some enthusiasm and commit yourself to making the college a part of your life and passions, and it will start to grow into the truth.

Disconnect

It’s easier than ever for us to stay connected to our home life and the same perspectives we have always had. However, this can stunt our ability to really engage with and appreciate the new environment that we are in. If you find yourself obsessing over your past lifestyle, a big culprit can be social media. You don’t have to delete your accounts or stay out of touch with people from home to go through a social media detox. You just need to be aware of when you’re too connected and make the effort to cut that connection temporarily.

Get out and explore

Don’t shut yourself off from the world outside your campus simply because you want to get more acclimated with it. A place can really be brought to life when it’s put in the context of its surroundings. For that reason, get out and explore your campus town with some new acquaintances. Be mindful and be safe when you’re venturing off-campus, but take the time to see the attractions, get used to local institutions, and treat it as a bit of a city break. You can find your love of your new environment off-campus just as easily as you can find it in the halls.

You don’t have to “abandon your roots” to fit in at college. Think of it as an opportunity to explore new facets of yourself that you never had the chance to before, and be open to new experiences and perspectives alike.

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