(This is a long post, but it's very important!)
What’s the fastest, least painful way to remove a band aid? You rip it off quickly and soon forget about the “Ouch!” it leaves behind.
I don’t mean for this to sound harsh, but going to college is the exact same way. Constantly visiting home is one of the worst ways to adjust to your new home. Having parents visit all the time can be equally as painful.
My first night at IU, I was almost completely alone on my entire floor. I moved in the Sunday before Welcome Week because of Marching Hundred. When my parents left, I was fine. I had a meeting for Hundred to go to and met a lot of great people. That night however, I discovered that Read’s bathrooms look like they come straight from a 1975 horror/slasher flick and made a new friend stand outside my shower stall so I wouldn’t be terrified. After that entire ordeal, I was drained from both the big day and from my creepy shower experience and was a little bit emotionally vulnerable to say the least.
Side story: At my first ever elementary school Parent-Teacher Conferences, my first grade teacher told my parents that I was built for college. I was very “down to business” and eager to be out on my own, even at the age of seven. My freshman year of high school, I was ready to leave for college. I have literally always wanted to be on my own. My parents and I have a great relationship and had a lot of freedom in high school, so it wasn’t some need to leave and go insane; I was just ready to get out of my home town and make something out of myself.
With that information, let me tell you my first night in Bloomington, I was a MESS. I bawled alone in my room with no one on my floor to talk to. I cried about how I would never really live in my room at home again, how I wouldn’t be home if any of my family (extended or otherwise) was sick or killed, and I cried because despite being so ready to leave, I hate change. But despite all of this, I didn’t ask my parents to come see me that week. I saw them again Friday for Marching Hundred’s public rehearsal, and by then I felt 100 times better. I had a lot of solid friends and I was ready to get my IU experience underway.
So let me tell you this, from experience: you will never function properly here unless you can stay here most weekends. Bloomington is awesome. It’s got the perks of a big city, in a sprawling, smaller form. I’ve never fully understood why kids would want to leave it anyway. But some kids (a lot from my tiny hometown) feel the need to go home every single weekend. That’s bad for you.
This sounds harsh, but Bloomington is home now, and will be for the next four years. You live here more than you live in your hometown, even if you leave on weekends. You have friends and a Hoosier family here. That’s not to say you forget everyone. Skype was invented for a reason, and I know 99.9999999% of you have cell phones. Separating yourself doesn’t mean forgetting home, it means moving on, accepting change, and pulling your friends and family into your new home. Have them visit once a month or write cards and letters. Mail always makes everyone super happy.
I call my dad at work every morning on my way to class and I call my mom every afternoon at lunch. I’ll occasionally Facebook message or text my younger brother. The conversations are brief and I’m sure they’ll tell you I always call asking for money, but even if they’re under two minutes, it’s nice to say hi and is a great way for me to let them know that I love them without making them come here or driving home. That’s not to say I never see them. They come to every football game to watch me march and they come to some basketball games to watch me in the pep band. In the spring semesters, however, I see them four or five times total. But those phone conversations keep us close.
Another bit of harsh news: all of your bffs from high school might not be your bffs by next semester. People fall out of touch. My grandma always told me that the important ones will make an effort to stay in contact (and you’ll find you make more of an effort to talk to specific friends over others). By this year (my senior year), from my group of friends in high school, I only truly kept in touch with two: my best friend since birth and my elementary best friend. I still see the others occasionally, but we’re growing up. I’ll get dinner with my old group when I go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas, but that’s it. I still love them. I would still go out of my way if one of them needed me, but we aren’t nearly as close as we once were.
And while I have a few friends still with their high school sweethearts, mine dumped me in October of my freshman year after three years of dating because the distance wasn’t working. If this happens to you, chin up and press on. There are a LOT of people from a LOT of places here and you never know who you’re going to meet. I’m from a tiny town an hour east of here called North Vernon, my serious boyfriend is from Naperville, Illinois. I would have never met him if I hadn’t come here and spent time single and meeting people.
To wrap up this incredibly long but incredibly important post about moving here, my advice overall is to immerse yourself. Your hometown is far away (even if it’s only a 20 minute drive away). Your friends are doing new things too. Keep in touch with the true friends and keep in touch with your family, but stay here in your new home. The more you go to your hometown, the harder it will be to be here. Keep your chin up, cry a little if you need it, keep an open mind, and attack the school year with a positive attitude and a go getter attitude. You never know where it will lead you; mine has lead me to a sorority full of sisters I love, a super bowl performance, a NCAA Men’s Basketball Tourney, meeting legendary actor Dan Aykroyd (google him, children) and meeting my future bridesmaids.
Keep your chin, standards, and heels high.
Ever seen GhostBusters, Blues Brothers, or The Campaign? Yeah. He's starring in all three of those.