The excited anticipation that comes with college move-in season is a special one. The sense of new beginnings and possibilities is one that causes great joy and anxiety in the minds of incoming college students. Similar to the clicking of a roller coaster creeping to the top, prepping for a college move-in feels like looming over the top of the drop of a rollercoaster, exciting and terrifying all at once. Though moving to college is quite the adjustment, there is so much to be excited about, whether you’re coming from far or near. Unlike many other universities in Texas, only 43% of our student population at SMU hails from the Lone Star State, with the majority of our students coming from another one of the 50 states. Even though I was only moving 30 minutes away from my home – moving into college was still a big and exciting step for me, and I was chomping at the bit for the independence and freedom of college. As exciting of a task as it can be to move into college, there is lots of preparation needed, even more for all my friends traveling farther than just 30 minutes away, so I’ve compiled a few things you need to know about moving out of state for college.
It’s okay to be scared. Everyone is, but don’t let it stop you from putting yourself out there!
Moving away from home and support systems can be scary, but as frightening as being in a new place is, you can’t let that fear keep you from going out and meeting people. Make sure to put yourself out there and make new friends so that you can begin to build your new college home and new support systems. Make sure to attend as many first-year/new student events as possible! Stampede is one aspect of first-year orientation that happens once new Mustangs finally arrive on the Hilltop and is a great place to meet new people in your class and join organizations. One of the many amazing events that happen during Stampede is Night at the Club, a fair where many of the 200+ student clubs gather, and students can walk around and learn about ways they can be active on campus. But if you miss out on Stampede, there are still tons of ways you can become involved on campus during the semester. One of the great things about the SMU campus is that there is rarely a week when clubs and organizations aren’t holding some kind of event where you’ll have the opportunity to meet fellow students and other community members in low-stress, fun environments. Also, your Residential Commons is an amazing community, you don’t have to travel far to be involved in, whether it’s participating in your Common’s Council or by becoming a regular at your FiR’s Weekly Event, there are so many avenues to meet new people and make friends just in your own residence hall. I remember, as a first-year student, feeling completely out of my depth or nervous about putting myself out there – with so many new people and the new environment, it can be jarring. But, I constantly reminded myself that everyone was just as nervous as I was and that if I just took a chance and was brave, it would all be okay. And despite fears that it wouldn’t be, it was; and before you know it, campus will start feeling like home.
Get to know the beautiful and vibrant city of Dallas!
One of the most enticing aspects of moving out of state is being in a new environment and all the fun new opportunities, people, and places you have access to – and it’s no different in Dallas. The city of Dallas has so much to offer SMU students regarding career opportunities and weekend fun. SMU is about a 15 minutes drive from Downtown Dallas and other vibrant social areas, so make sure to take some of your new friends and explore the new city you are in. As a Dallas native, I’ve loved being able to experience new aspects of my hometown with my out-of-state friends and exploring together, but also getting to show them my favorite parts of Dallas. Some of my favorite memories from my first year at SMU came from taking my classmates to Gonzales, my favorite restaurant, and showed them around Oak Cliff, a neighborhood I’d grown up around. If you ever need any recommendations on places or restaurants to visit in Dallas, the SMU website has a ton of amazing resources and suggestions, or if you have a friend from Dallas, you can ask them to show you around and make a day out of exploring the city.
Everything is bigger in Texas, even the weather!
Everything is bigger and better in Texas, from the food, atmosphere, and people, and it even applies to our weather! Texas is infamous for having a quick Southern temper and can go from dark rolling rain clouds to a perfect sunny day within the hour, so it’s essential to prepare yourself. It would also be a good idea to pack an umbrella and raincoat for whenever Texas surprises us with rain showers. It always rains when you least expect it to, so even if there is a slight chance of rain, err on the side of caution and bring your umbrella or rain jacket. One incredibly notable aspect of the weather in Texas is the heat which settles in around March and stays all the way until the middle of October, with the hottest months being July and August. Though all the residence halls come equipped with functional thermostats students can control in order to make their rooms hotter or colder according to their preference, you might want a fan if you’re not accustomed to the heat. While many students can typically adjust to the heat and luckily don’t have to deal with it too long, most students spend a little more time adjusting to the Texas pollen in their first year. A friend of mine who moved from California recommends making a ‘sick kit’ for your room where you can keep any medicine in case you get sick or, like others who call Dallas and Texas home, start experiencing allergies. Pro Universal College Tip: It’s always better to be prepared rather than having to catch up.
Stuffed Animals are NOT as embarrassing as you think. Go ahead, and bring them.
Last year, a friend of mine was starting to feel, as she explained, “painfully homesick.” She was from New Jersey, and though she had made lots of friends at SMU and was enjoying all of her classes- she just couldn’t shake the feeling. After a month of feeling like that, her mom sent her a care package with her favorite snacks, knick-knacks, and memories from home, in hopes it would raise her spirits. I remember when she told me, with a gleaming smile, about the care package and how her favorite thing in it was her dinosaur plush from home. She explained to me how she’d had it since she was younger, and she’d left it at home because she thought it would be embarrassing to bring her stuffed animal to college. It turned out, it was exactly what she was missing- the first night she slept with her stuffed animal after having it sent to her at SMU, she described it as the “best sleep of her life.” Sometimes we have to put in a little work to adjust to our new surroundings, so it’s helpful to bring pieces of home with you to make the transition a little easier. Whether it’s a blanket, picture, or dinosaur plush, don’t be afraid to bring the comforts of home into your new space at SMU!
So whether you’re moving from 30 minutes or 3,000 miles away, the adjustment to college is a big one. Just remember that here at SMU, there is a wonderful community of students and staff that understand your situation and are more than happy to be a shoulder or helping hand if you need support. Hopefully, some of the tips above can help you in your journey to the Hilltop, or if you need more resources, make sure to check the Residence Life and Student Housing website for more specific information.