Sweaty hands, a racing heartbeat, a churning stomach and so many “what if’s” running through my mind. These were some of my thoughts and feelings when I decided to pick a college five hours away and move away from my parents for the first time in my life. I was 18 when I began college, and I decided to live in a dormitory. I selected a school away from everybody and everything I knew because I wanted to experience something new and exciting. I wanted a “new beginning” if you will, a new experience. I grew up in a small country town, and stepping into a city for the first time without my family by my side was nerve wracking. My family was very encouraging with my decision, and I’m thankful that I chose to leave for college.
Here are some tips I would like to share with other NVLDer’s who might also be moving for the first time:
- Make a list: Prioritize things that you will need to avoid becoming overwhelmed and overpacking! I’m always overpacking and I honestly wish I had made myself a list prior to college, to prioritize only the absolute essentials!!
- Labeling your boxes will make your life easier! Organize all your boxes using labels!! Moving can be stressful, but labels will be your best friend!
- Share your contact information with friends and family: In the technology-driven society we live in, I’m sure you already have everybody’s contact information. However, it wouldn’t hurt to create a group chat for your family and friends to stay in touch. I also used to exchange snail mail and care packages with friends and family to make me feel less homesick.
- Have a goodbye party or get together before you move away: Before I moved away from my hometown, I had a BBQ with all my friends and family before I said my farewells.
- Schedule a tour of your campus and Disability Support Office. I cannot stress enough the importance of setting up a visit! Particularly with NVLD, we have a hard time with maps and directions. Once you get to know the layout of all the services and where things are located, you will feel more comfortable finding your way around the campus.
- Attend social events: I really wish I attended more social events in college!! My NVLD makes me feel more socially awkward, shy, and introverted. I would often shy away from some of the events. However, I do encourage you to check out Frosh activities and be sociable on campus! This is a wonderful way to meet new friends! You might actually meet your best friend!
Lastly, if you have the opportunity to move away for college or university do it!! I’ve been living on my own since I was 18 years old, and it was honestly the best decision I made and the first step to independence. You grow as a person, and experience new life experiences. Happy packing and good luck!!
I’m a graduate of the Child & Youth Worker program from Cambrian College and I’m pursuing my degree in Disability Studies at Ryerson University along with a certificate in Aboriginal Knowledges & Experiences. I am a Project Social Ambassador for The NVLD Project.Share your own story