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by Laura D’Ocon
"I’m Laura D’Ocon, from Barcelona, Spain. I moved to Miami, Florida in 2010. As a native from Barcelona, moving to America was a big change in my life that opened my mind and strengthened my heart. I acquired a worldwide perspective on journalism, people, cultures and countries. I am currently a senior majoring in journalism at the University of Florida. I love writing, traveling, and sharing what I have learned from the people and places I featured in my stories. I am open-minded, creative, and compassionate. I found my balance in my life through yoga. It became such a huge component of my life that I strived to become a certified yoga instructor so I could share my newfound peace with others. That is how I do things"and that is what I hope to do for Univision"to learn and write stories that matter, and to share them with the public."
Leaving home for the first time and moving to college can be an exciting moment for any student but also really stressful. Although college will be one of your best experiences, students and parents need to take some time to prepare before the big moving day arrives. Therefore, I thought that some tips might be helpful for packing only what you need, knowing where to register for classes, preparing you for what you are going into"and most importantly, reminding you that college is your time. A moment to be open to learn, meet new people and manage yourself to navigate and dance freely through: dorms, buildings, classes and parties.
Once you applied and got accepted, your journey began. Say good-bye to your nice room, mom's cooking, knowing where everything at home is, asking for constant help and be ready to walk alone. Yes, ALONE. I promise you, it will be fine. Imagine what you would like to achieve after these four years of college, visualize it and work toward your goal. It is simple: enjoy your time while you can as much as possible.
When you know where you are moving, even if is the same state you live in, do some research. Try to find a dorm or apartment next to your college; you will be eternally grateful when you can just run to class if you’re late or take a quick bus back home after a long day. Students do not need fancy apartments, but it is true that making your room comfortable by decorating it with some details will make you feel better and closer to home. Students spend a lot of hours in their room and apartments so make yourself comfortable, this is your sacred space now. Let’s make a quick list:
Dorm utensils: don't forget to bring your favorite mug for your morning coffee"you will need it. Bring your pillow and favorite blankets, and take anything that helps you fall asleep. Fans, alarm clocks, lamps, trashcans, a lamp for late study nights, clothes hooks, a chalkboard or bulletin board can also be helpful to place reminders or information about college events.
Electronic Devices: Dorms and apartments do not come with electronic devices, so make sure you bring your computer, mp3 player, speakers, iPod, webcam to have access to video chat to talk to your family and friends, camera to take pictures of all these memories you will never forget, and a T.V. (sometimes if you share apartment, talk to other students that might bring their own T.V. and let you share it). Finally, extension cords, surge protection and chargers are also useful.
Personal items: Some of the most important items you should not forget to pack for college are hygienic and personal products. Shampoo and conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste and feminine products are some of the most essential items. You should also bring your own toothbrushes, dryers, brushes and combs, towels and shower shoes. You should think about buying a gown for the shower too. Items such as razors, dental floss, tweezers and nail clippers may be forgotten but will be needed. Medications such as analgesics or antacids could also be useful, as well as a first aid kit.
Finally, college material: Universities and college have their own bookstore, but make sure you check other bookstores around"they usually have lower prices and you can also rent the book instead of buying it. The first week of college is a good time to check if you like your classes and ask your professors if the book is mandatory. You can also re-sell your old books once you’re done with the semester to the same bookstore. Pen, folders, post-its, etc., you will find everything there or at Wal-Mart or Target.
Hope this list helps students get ready for college, but just remember, going through the experience yourself will make you grow and mature. If you don't face hard situations yourself, situations that you may think cannot overcome, you will never learn how to swim in the big ocean. Just take it one step at a time.
Good students learn from every experience and work hard for what they are passionate about. Join a club at your University, it is recommended"not only because it will look good on your resume, but because you may find something you like and become really good at it. Every campus has a lot of clubs for different things to do so go ask, explore, and find out. On the other hand, there will be moments were you wish your parents were with you, but remember you have all the tools you need to succeed. The true power resides within you. My final advice to all those new fresh, excited students ready to start a new chapter is to enjoy these four or five years as much as you can, because they can be amazing, it is all on you. Live in the present and let the future be defined as you go. Remember " Students are always the best teachers."