Making the move mellow: how to make moving far away from home less stressful


Staff Photo by Nic Cazin

As the school year comes to an end, seniors are preparing to move away from home to campus. This time is full of anxiety and nerves, as well as excitement.

Nic Cazin, Co-Editor-in-Chief

The months of April and May are a stressful time for seniors, with final decisions for colleges coming out, meeting roommates and saying goodbye to friends. Mixed with stress is the excitement of being independent and practically starting life over. 

Ella Raftery is experiencing this firsthand. Raftery is attending the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, where she will major in engineering this fall.  

“I’m excited to meet new people and try new things,” said Raftery. “I feel like everyone I know [now] I’ve known since elementary school, so it’s going to be totally different to be in a whole new place and not really know anyone.” 

However, becoming independent isn’t always fun and games. For people in any walk of life, moving is incredibly stressful and tiring. Going from a familiar environment to a foreign one takes a long time to get used to, and being on your own for the first time can make it even harder. 

Wakefield High School alum Maddie Policastro goes to school at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Any nerves Policastro had about moving away from home dissipated a few minutes after arriving on campus. 

“[Carolina is] a very fun atmosphere, so there were activities going on the first two weeks [of school]. We had this big thing called Fall Feast where you get [to see] all the clubs and there’s a ton of free stuff,” Policastro said.  “It’s a very exciting and exhilarating time, and you almost forget that you’re sad that you moved away and that you miss your family.”

It’s a very exciting and exhilarating time, and you almost forget that you’re sad that you moved away and that you miss your family.

— Policastro

Those days that you miss your family can be difficult; homesickness can be harmful to both social and academic life, causing mental disorders such as anxiety or depression. Jessica OBerto, a counselor at Wakefield, comes from New Jersey. She went to North Carolina State University for college, so she experienced being far away from home at the beginning of a new chapter in life. 

“I [would] preplan calls with my family ahead of time just so that I knew that I could chat with them,” OBerto said. “We also preplanned when they were going to come down [to North Carolina], so I knew that during my fall break my family was going to come down. Having set times when I knew I was going to see my family again was kind of nice to not feel like I was so far away.”

While keeping in touch with family is important, it may not be available 24/7. Creating a community at school, a second family, is highly recommended. 

“I’m very lucky I have affectionate friends; anytime anybody is sad we don’t hide that or keep it to ourselves. We text each other and check up on each other, so I’m very lucky in the sense that I have a strong community of people,” Policastro said.

With all the extracurriculars in college, it’s quite simple to meet people. Sarah Joyner, the Career Development Coordinator at Wakefield, has an in-depth perception on making new connections.

“I would suggest [to] get involved with things,” Joyner said. “You feel like you’re kind of forced to get involved in high school with all the clubs and honor societies, but they have that in college too and it helps you get to know other people and [make a] community base for you.”

If someone is not interested in any clubs or extracurricular activities, meeting fellow hallmates is always an option. 

Having set times when I knew I was going to see my family again was kind of nice to not feel like I was so far away.

— Oberto

“They do a good job [connecting people], your RA will try to get you to know 20 people in the first week of college, just who you live near,” OBerto said. 

In the end, college is an exciting time for everyone involved and you have the opportunity to make it the best four years of your life. Nerves and anxiety are normal, and the entire freshmen class is in the same spot you are. 

“Be open to every opportunity. Say yes to things even if they seem weird, even if you’ve never done that. If your friends want to go out for cookies at one am, say yes,” Policastro said. “Enjoy life because college is only four years and this experience is new, enjoy that, embrace some of the weirdness of it all and just do things.”