When you go to college, you'll go through some BIG changes.

Not just moving out of the house for the first time, or having a more freely structured class schedule, or eating Pop-Tarts for dinner whenever you want. There will be some big psychological changes happening, too. Leaving for college is stressful. Your anxiety and stress levels may naturally rise and things might feel scary. Here's some great news, though: your brain is on your side! While you might be stressed, you'll also be growing and becoming even more awesome.

As school starts, your self-efficacy will grow.

Self-efficacy, as defined by psychologist Albert Bandura, is what people believe about "their capabilities to produce designated levels of performance that exercise influence over events that affect their lives." Bandura says that self-efficacy can play a massive role in how individuals approach their goals, tasks, and other challenges in their lives.

You'll start making choices on your own.

Your autonomy score will basically rise from a 4 to a 8.5. What I mean by this is that your ability to be self-directed in your freedom and independence will grow. Your personality will continue to develop, and you'll have time for identity exploration.

But you don't have to wait for college for these changes to happen.

You can start preparing today to make the transition even easier. One way to help prepare yourself mentally for your new college experience is to work on your time management skills. Managing your time is super important in college, and it will help your brain adapt and will help with self-efficacy. So if you don't use a planner already, go get one and start using it today!

Another way to prepare yourself is to maintain your support system. While all of these changes are happening, it will be important to have trusted friends and family to call on.

Want to boost your autonomy before getting to college? Start by working on the things that you aren't so good at doing without being prompted. For example, start a weekly calendar for when you are going to do your laundry and other chores.

Most importantly: Get excited, brace yourself for new opportunities and a new lifestyle, and stay open-minded!

Mike Wazowski gets his college ID


Natalie Tanner