Stories > 5 Things TCK Freshman need to do in August

5 Things TCK Freshman need to do in August

By Megan Norton


Pack the essentials.

Make a list of what you need to pack from toothbrush to bedsheet and everything in between. You may want to contact your roommate to find out if he/she is bringing a floor lamp or area rug before you both show up with duplicates of everything. Find out from your residence director if you are allowed to use command strips or glue dots on the walls to hang your favorite printed photos and postcards. As a TCK, make sure to decide what “sacred object” or “transfer cue” you’ll pack from your living abroad. It could be a small beaded animal figurine you bought at a local market, or your favorite “stuffie” you got on one of your vacations. It could be a mug that you enjoy drinking tea from or your favorite football (soccer) team jersey. These are important objects to help you create a space you enjoy being in.

Thank the parentals.

Arguably, your move to university is one of the hardest transitions for your parents. Take some time to write them a letter or card to share what their support and guidance has meant to you. Treat them to ice cream or to coffee. Thank them specifically for times that have been meaningful to you and memories that are fun and impactful to you. Explain to your parents what you are looking forward to at university. If you haven’t already had the conversation about financial expectations/budgeting and emergency protocols, make sure to do this as well. Thank them for the opportunities to travel the world with them.

Ship the parcels.

If you don’t have the capacity to pack everything in your suitcase, consider what can be shipped directly to your residence hall address. It could be your comforter, storage containers, and gatorade. Learn from your residence director about where and when to pick up the shipped items as there may be specific hours or locations to retrieve your shipped items. An idea for your family: suggest that they gift you Amazon gift cards or credit in order for you to purchase essential items you forgot to bring in your suitcase. Sometimes it’s easier to do 48 hour shipping instead of overpacking. Make sure you sign up for the free Amazon Prime Membership with your school email address!

Celebrate the credentials.

You’ve selected to attend your university for several reasons! Explore, learn, soak in, celebrate all the reasons – and more! – when you arrive. Map out where your classes will be, how to get to the dining hall fastest in the morning, and when the gym hours are. Celebrate the history, ranking, uniqueness, and offerings your campus has. Be inspired by the alumni who have walked these same sidewalks and hallways and residence halls. Connect with staff, faculty, grounds workers, and dining hall servers with a smile, “hello,” and gratitude for their work and service on campus. Be mindful of why you selected this university and be open to all the additional activities and amenities it has to offer. Consider places and spaces on campus that remind you of previous places you’ve lived and how they can be a sanctuary for you when you’re feeling “homesick” for one of those previous homes.

Embrace your differentials.

“Differential” in this context means “things that show a difference or act in different ways.” You being a TCK and having non-TCKs and international students on campus may get differential benefits from being at this university. You may consider asking for or requiring differential treatment on campus as a TCK, especially when it comes to Freshman Orientation options. Consider requesting to attend the international student orientation so that you get information about how transportation systems work, safety measures to take in the community, and where you may be allowed to store your residence hall room “stuff” during semester breaks so that you don’t have to mail them to your grandparents or overseas to your parents. The differences you bring as a TCK are special and valuable. Lean in and embrace your differences to make a difference. .