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Leaving home for college is a bittersweet moment. It’s scary thinking about moving to a new place, being without old friends and learning how to fend for yourself. But don’t be nervous— you should also be looking forward to new adventures and opportunities in the beautiful town of San Luis Obispo. This journey you are about to embark on as you make your way to college will challenge you but also allow you to grow in ways you never thought possible. To help transition into the college lifestyle, here are five new changes to expect.

1. New environment and relationships

The second you get to college, you make so many new friends. You have a whole town to explore and people to meet. Wine and viticulture junior Nicolas Kent says to “keep an open mind”. Don’t stick to just one place to study or one hiking trail; get out there and see what else is around you.

2. Study Habits

Unfortunately, many of the ways you studied for high school won’t work for college classes. That doesn’t mean college is impossible, that just means you need to find different ways to study that work best for you. Political science junior Myree Butler gives some tips: “plan ahead, don’t wait ’til the last minute to do assignments, go to the library and don’t just read notes.”

3. More Responsibility

With the freedom of living on your own comes the responsibility of taking care of yourself. Making sure you balance academics, social life and health seems daunting, but there are plenty of resources on campus to guide you. These include your academic advisors, Mustang Success Center and Peers Understanding Listening Supporting Educating (PULSE). Political science senior Margaret Barreto said to not be afraid to go to the counseling center because it helps “even going in just one time.” Being responsible for your studies is important, but being responsible for yourself is important too.

4. New Opportunities

Cal Poly provides its students with a variety of outlets to get involved on campus, including clubs that cater to cultural, environmental, political or religious interests. There are also Greek Life chapters and Intramural Sports. “Even if there’s the slightest thing that interests you, there is somewhere on this campus where you can get involved with that hobby” Butler said. And if you can’t find it on campus, create it! Kent adds, “it’s all about finding out what you want to do.”

5. Freedom to be Yourself

Another change moving to college and being away from home is the ability to learn about and be yourself. Butler explains her biggest regret about her first year of college is that she was scared to put herself out there. “Just go for it because it’s college so why not? These are some of the best years of your life.” And they are. So get ready, and don’t forget to have fun.

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