You’ve been accepted to your school of choice — completing another step to your ultimate goal of getting the college or career training you want. Sometimes that means you have to leave your hometown, which includes leaving family, friends, home cooking, as well as other things you love. It’s exciting and terrifying at the same time, going to and living in an unknown place on your own, but be brave, stay excited, and know you can do it!
It's finally time to say your goodbyes and head to your new “home” for the next x-amount of years. You get there and the homesickness settles in. Homesickness can make the experience of moving away nerve-wracking, but it may not be home you miss, but rather what is familiar to you. I have a few tips to help you overcome homesickness:
Make new friends
It's exciting to be somewhere new and to meet new people. Need help meeting new people? Join a club, join groups that have your same interests, or plan a study session with your new classmates. Go to campus events and get involved with campus life. Challenge yourself to get out there and be around people. Go to new places you normally wouldn’t visit to meet new folks. Make the best of meeting new people and sharing hometown stories!
You are not alone
This W-Curve (emotional pattern) is something most incoming freshmen experience and overcome – so you are definitely not alone! Don’t internalize your feelings of homesickness, talk about it with others, whether it be with a close friend back home or a new friend you might’ve made at your school’s new student orientation.
It’s okay to be sad! Let it out of your system, trust me you’ll feel better. However, don’t be sad for too long, think positive thoughts — positive thoughts can lead to a positive attitude, and if being positive doesn’t do the trick, your loved ones are only a video call away to give you that instant-comfort.
Get to know yourself
Learn things about yourself; focus on your health, and your education. Find new interests and hobbies, or delve into an existing craft of yours (art, music, poetry, etc.). Find your constant, for some it might be meditating, running, or just watching a movie.
Stay up-to-date with what’s going on with your family and friends back home. Let them know how you’re doing, and get updates on how they’re doing. Tell them about the new place you’re at and what you like about it. Plan a visit, whether if it’s family or a friend visiting, or you visiting home, that way you have something to look forward to.
Bring a sentimental item
Bring something that is sentimental to you (but not overly valuable – see Tips for Freshman College Bound Students), that way you can take a piece of home with you. If your budget allows it, buy something for yourself that reminds you of home!
Focus on the end goal
You went there with a goal – obtaining a postsecondary credential – and that goal should be at the top of your priority list. Remember, your education (as arduous as it may seem) will have a big return on investment (ROI) if you maintain focus!
Keep a journal
Whether if it’s writing in an actual journal, or through an online platform, document the array of emotions you experience throughout the college experience. When you look back and see how you felt at first, you’ll appreciate the progress.
Home away from home
It can be difficult to readjust to new surroundings, but since you will be there for at least a semester, try to make it your home away from home. Independence is a great thing; you just have to embrace the unknown and make the best of it – adapt to your surroundings and have fun!