Excess Baggage: Hang-ups You Need to Leave Behind Before You Head Off to College

By Managing Editor Kara Apel

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You’re moving away to college within the next few weeks, so it’s time for a major reality check: Your life is about to change drastically and that can be a really scary thing to fully comprehend.

Holding on to the past can be comforting, but it's only going to hold YOU back once you start your life as a college student. The best way to make a fresh start is stop being helpless, to let go of what you can't change and to ditch any bad habits you’ve accumulated over the years.

Here are some major hang-ups you’re definitely going to want to leave behind when you start packing for the next chapter of your life:

Depending on Mom and Dad for Everything

Long gone are the days of Mom doing your laundry and having dinner on the table by 5 p.m. every night. You’ll be lucky if you have enough time (or money) to squeeze in laundry and eating in between class, homework and adjusting to college life. It’s now time to be an adult and join the real world. Be prepared to sharpen and improve your time management skills. Trust me, you’ll need them.


For those of you who’ve grown up with siblings and had to share a room growing up, you have an advantage. For those of you who haven’t, it’s time for a reality check: Your room is no longer just yours. You will also have another person living with you who has certain expectations and needs. If you have never been good at compromising, you’d better toss your stubborn streak and start practicing the fine art of negotiation ASAP.


It is extremely unlikely that you will have friends in all of your classes. That being said, it’s time to start relying on yourself to keep track of tests, projects and papers and their due dates. You are responsible for your academic success. It's ultimately your fault if you miss a test or forget to write a paper. As soon as your professor hands out the class syllabus, write down every test and duedate in your Google calendar/personal planner to stay afloat.

The Bad Ex

Everybody has that one person they just can't shake. You know, the one that got away, the one that broke your heart or even the one that swears his or her undying love for you — even if you are going to school hundreds of miles away from each other. This person may always be able to tug on your heart strings, but they're not good for you and you seriously need to move on. Take advantage of this opportunity to purge yourself of your ex. Delete their phone number, text messages, and unfriend them on Facebook. Some things are best left in the past, ESPECIALLY when it has the potential to hold you back and not allow you to go out and meet someone new.

Who You Were in High School

It’s great if you were the cheerleading captain or the leading lady in the musical, but those days are in the past now. Nobody cares who you were in high school because now you are in a completely different world with new people. The same social hierarchy you had BEFORE graduation don't exist anymore, so let it go. Fact: If you pull a Blair Waldorf and try to micromanage everyone just so can end up on top, you will fail. The sooner you realize this, the better.

Bottom line: College is a time of reinvention, so instead of shying away from it, EMBRACE it fully. Putting the past behind you is the first step in becoming a better, more complete you.

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