TRU Future Student Ambassador, Abby – Bachelor of Arts, “How to Move Away for School“, 18 Jan. 2023

I graduated in 2020 from a high school in a town of 800 people. Moving away for my education was my only option and it terrified me. At my graduation ceremony (which was virtual, thanks to the pandemic), our guest speaker stated how necessary it is for young people to go out into the world with their sense of wonder to experience new things. She encouraged me and my gradmates to leave our small town and go somewhere bigger. At seventeen years old, I had no idea what “going out into the world” entailed. I had only ever known my small town as my comfort zone. As many of you reach the end of your school year from various places across the province, country, and even world, I would imagine that you’re feeling about the same as I did – nervous, excited, confused. This next step is a big one, but I promise it’s not as daunting as it seems right now. To help you through this process, here is my step-by-step advice guide to moving away for school.

A photo of Abby in her graduation dress holding a clapboard with the text "Abby 06/20/20" on it.
Here is me on my COVID grad day!

Step 1: Find a place to live

This step is critical since you can’t move until you have a new place to call home. I recommend trying to find a place to live as soon as possible. Not only does this almost guarantee that you’ll have housing, but it will also ease your mind. It’s likely you’ll feel some anxiety around moving, so having this checked off your list will allow you to take a breath and focus on other things. There are so many options in Kamloops for housing. You could choose to live in any four of TRU’s student residences or you could live off campus in an apartment or suite. If you choose to live off campus, do your research on where you’re going to be residing. Look at things such as transit, how far is it from the grocery store, and is there much nature around to explore. Whatever is important to you, you’ll want to know before you move. Once you’ve found a place to live, relax. Take a breath and remember that you’re already halfway through the moving process.

Step 2: Create a list of everything you’ll need and start periodically buying things

When I moved out, I created a master list of everything I would need to survive in a home on my own. Everything from a bed to the plunger was listed (super important not to miss that one!). I then split this list into what I had and what I still needed. In the months leading up to my big move, I would periodically buy things on my “to get” list. This helped take the weight off the expense of buying my furnishings and home supplies. I felt prepared when I moved in because I had everything I needed. There were no last minute runs to the store because I hadn’t purchased a dish rack or something small. My other tip here is to make sure that you bring things from home that make you feel comfortable. You don’t need to buy everything brand new. I made sure that I brought my favourite blanket from home so that way I could cozy up on the couch with it to feel like I’m at home. It saved me some days!

Step 3: Set a realistic budget

Budgeting is the key to living alone. Knowing where your money is going is a part of the responsibility that comes with moving out. Having a realistic budget will also help you be able to do some of the fun social things that pair with student life. If you’re nervous or unsure of budgeting, reach out to TRU’s Student Awards and Financial Aid for guidance. Financial health is crucial to student success, so there are plenty of resources ready to help you. Furthermore, many businesses around Kamloops are eager to help students save money with student discounts. Places such as Save on Foods and the Tournament Capital Center offer discounts with a valid TRU student card that can make quite the difference in the long run.

A photo of a woman using a calculator and writing in a notepad.

Step 4: Research different ways to get involved in your new city

Before you head out to your new city, do some research on ways you can get involved socially. This will help you make friends and give you a sense of community! Social life is an important part of our overall health, so it will make things easier for you if you know what sorts of organizations you would like to be a part of before you move. TRU offers a plethora of clubs for students to get involved in. As well, there are opportunities in Peer Mentorship where you can be a TRU Ambassador. If you’d like to be involved in the city as a whole, there are many sports clubs and volunteer opportunities that would love to have you. All it takes is a quick google search!

Step 5: Have a trip back home planned!

This is what I consider to be the most important part of moving away from home. It’s inevitable that at some point you will feel homesick. To combat that and put yourself at ease, have a trip back home planned before you even move out. Each semester has a break within it, so that’s the perfect time to set a date to look forward to. Having this trip planned will take your mind away from the homesickness blues. I moved in August and had a trip back home planned for Thanksgiving in October. Knowing that I would get to go back in just over a month reassured me that it’s all okay!

A photo taken inside a car while driving on a highway.

Moving away from home is tough. Eventually though, you will look back on it as a good decision for the next part of your life. Through completing any of these steps, you’ll take some stress off yourself which is so important. Anything that will make the process easier, right?

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