5 tips every military kid going to college should know

5 tips every military kid going to college should know

by Alejandra Flores
Stripes Europe

As a military kid, moving becomes a state of mind. It’s not unusual or unnatural to finish high school having attended at least two high schools or realize your vernacular has changed based on where you’ve lived. That’s just the life of a military kid. But, what happens when it’s finally the move. The move where you stay and your parents leave? Here are 5 things every military kid should know about going to college.  

1. Don’t be scared to ask for help. 

This is definitely the most important one. Come move-in day, or check out, or any holiday where you have to leave campus and don’t have a car can be difficult. Your friend’s family members come to pick them up, help them take all their belongings down to the car, and it might happen you find yourself having to do it all on your own. Don’t panic; ask for help. You’ve made friends, have connections, don’t be scared to use them. Phone a friend, ask your college. Trust me it all goes a lot smoother if you don’t tackle college on your own.  

2.  No, you’re not weird, you just adapt a lot faster. 

Many times with all the ebbs and flows of moving, military kids become quite adaptable, even sometimes craving change every couple years. Don’t freak out if a significant amount of your friends have a hard time adjusting or are having difficulty figuring things out. Now I’m not saying it’s going to be smooth sailing for you, but I do think military kids do adapt a lot faster, simply because that’s your life. You’re used to making new friends every other year or living in different places, so college becomes just another move, just another wheel in the cog.  

3. Get plugged into the community! 

Honestly, this tip goes for anyone! It’s so important to find people that have the same interests as you, share similar experiences, or simply you mix well with. I think we can all say, having moved multiple times, it’s the people that make the place. That’s exactly how it is at college. Your time there depends on you. Find things you love, try things that scare you, and make connections.  

4. Plan what you’re packing.  

My freshman year, I made the mistake of packing the night before. Don’t do that, especially if you’re like me and live overseas. It’s just not ideal. Make sure you’ve researched the weather and climate changes in your school's area. Many students go home for the holidays and switch out their wardrobes, but sometimes, you simply can’t because your family is overseas. So, take the time to plan what you’re going to need. Extra tip: buy a diffuser, living with someone else can be smelly at times, so you’ll want to freshen your room. Also, don’t overpack! In the worst-case scenario, your parents can mail you those extra pair of shoes you need. Trust me, you don’t need to bring your whole closet!     

5. Don’t forget about your parents! 

This one again goes out to all the kids at college. It can get pretty crazy that first semester of college. New friends, new classes, living on your own, professors that don’t seem to understand you have other classes and other homework, roommates who either make your life better or worse, and the realization that you really have to start getting your life together, can be more than overwhelming at times, even daunting. And hey, I get it, sometimes you’re up until three a.m. finishing that paper, or sometimes you’re up with a friend dealing with drama. It happens, life happens. But in those quiet moments don’t forget about your parents, especially if they’re using the GI bill to pay for college! Trust me, they miss you and want to know how you’re doing. It’s as scary for them that you’re away as it is for you.  

College. It’s that in-between from being an adult and still being a kid. It’s where you’re supposed to figure out what you want. It’s where you finally start living on your own, or maybe it’s just where you survive until the next final. Whatever the case may be, take these tips into consideration and don’t forget to enjoy it, the next four years will pass you by in a blink of an eye.  

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