How to Cope With Moving Away From Home

I am an international student attending university at Queens College, CUNY. I am originally from Abuja, Nigeria. So the word “moving” is something that I am just a little too familiar with.

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I come from a diplomatic family. My father is a diplomat, so he works with the foreign affairs ministry. One of my first postings was when our whole family moved to New York from (2000-2005). After that, we went back home to Nigeria. Then, my father was posted to Mexico City, where I attended an international high school called Westhill Institute. Then after that, my father was posted to Budapest, Hungary, so I spent the summer after high school graduation in Budapest. Right now, my parents reside in Nigeria and I am here in New York, living with two of my brothers. It’s safe to say that I am pretty far away from home.

Many people move away from home for different reasons. It can be for college, a job, or simply because you now consider yourself to be an adult and so this is the next stage for you. It’s not an easy process; it’s difficult because when you are home, you have easy access to your family, your support system. Therefore, it’s easy to rely on mom and dad. However, there are definitely benefits to moving away from home – it all depends on how you choose to approach it.

Figure out your niche

Finding your niche is important. When I say “niche,” I mean the things that matter to you. This could be writing, music, dance, human rights issues, etc. Once you know what this is, find a way to participate. Join a college club or a Meetup group for people with common interests. You should take part in activities that interest you around that circle.

This is important because you will not only create a network for yourself but you also surround yourself with people who share your interests and passions. Therein lie your good friends and new family.

When I started college, I became part of a service learning team. I then wrote for the student newspaper. I am now part of a student run club dedicated to the education and empowerment of girls and women.

It’s of utmost importance for me to be part of clubs and organizations because the people that I’ve met through them are people who share my passions and interests. In addition, they are people that I admire and trust. I know that I can lean on them if I need assistance with a particular topic or issue. Also, by being part of these groups, I get to engage with others and therefore create my own family or home away from home.

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Have a check list

Finding your “niche” is important but before you take off, it’s of utmost importance to be prepared. Make sure that you have what you need, especially if you find yourself, as in my case, moving to a different country.

Documents

If you are an international student, make sure you have all the necessary documents and photocopies necessary because it will be costly to replace things. You need your passport at hand always, so make sure you have that and copies of that. Also, make sure you have other necessary documents that pertain to your identity, in addition to your education history.

Even if you are not an international student, if you’re moving away from home, get those documents such as your passport and education history from your parents. If you’re going to be away from home, that means you are an adult, so you should be responsible for these documents.

Clothing & Attire

Depending on where you move to, be sure that you have the necessary clothing. You don’t want a situation where you have to tell your parents or family members to ship things to you. In addition, you do not want to end up spending extra money to buy what you already had at home.

Before I came to New York, I was in Budapest and since I was with my parents, I took advantage of doing the necessary shopping that I needed to do there. I bought all my winter accessories and they are still of great use to me.

Even if you are just moving to a different borough, make sure you still gather all the necessary clothing and attire because you would look irresponsible going back and forth to obtain these things from your parents.

Finances

This is a major factor to moving out. You have to make sure you have enough money to support yourself when you make the move.

This is especially important to those moving for reasons other than college. If you’ve decided to make the move, you have to make sure you can maintain yourself and of course your new home.

So be smart about things. You have to do the necessary work to figure out the kind of lifestyle you can afford. If you know you’ll go broke by eating out every day, start cooking. If you know you can’t afford to purchase a car, or continue to use it because it may eat up money needed to pay rent, start commuting.

The bottom line is that you need to do the math – and if you don’t like math, seek advice from someone who does.

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Keep in Touch

You’re moving away from home but you’re not moving to a different planet, so remember to keep in touch. Call your parents or family members every once a while. It won’t just make them happy; it will make you happy because it’s a reminder that they are still there for you if you need assistance. I speak to my parents at least once a week and it does help because I catch them up on what’s going on in my life. I also let them know if I need advice, help, or assistance in any way. Remember to keep in touch with the people you have moved away from.

Moving away from home is not an easy thing. It may feel lonely, frightening, or frustrating, but you have to learn to approach it the right way. You’ll find that there are benefits to taking that step. I can definitely say that’s it’s made me independent yet engaged in ways that I haven’t always been.

What are some methods you have used to deal with moving away from home? Share them below!

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