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Advice From A Freshman: Surviving College Far From Home

It has now been nearly a month since I moved out of my childhood home in South Carolina and into my (let’s call it cozy) dorm room at Boston University. I’d like to think that, all things considered, I’m adjusting well. Still, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the course of this incredibly eventful month, it’s that being away from home is difficult. Luckily, there’s a variety of ways I’ve discovered that help make the experience relatively painless. So without further ado, here’s some advice from a freshman.

Keep In Touch

This may seem like a no-brainer, but I cannot stress enough the importance of keeping in touch with friends and family. And when I say “keep in touch,” I definitely do not mean constant phone conversations; those can be tedious and exhausting for everybody involved. In our age of social media, there’s practically a million ways to stay connected with those you left back home. Take advantage of them! Follow family and friends on social media platforms, interact with their posts, or even just post about yourself so that others can comment or like. All of this counts as connection. And, more importantly, all of it helps. Double-tapping someone’s picture on Instagram may not seem like much, but a little goes a long way in situations like these. Of course, I still encourage you to keep up your phone calls and text messages. Just remember that there are other methods of fighting FOMO and feeling up-to-date with the lives of your loved ones.

Incorporate Pieces of Home

This is a much more subtle way to fight off homesickness and make yourself more comfortable in new surroundings, but in my opinion, it works just as well as the previous tip. When decorating your new living space, whether it’s a tiny dorm room or a full apartment, think of ways to include pieces of home in your new decor. Whether it’s cards from family and friends, pictures that used to hang in your bedroom at home, collages of your favorite photos, or even just keeping a similar color scheme to what you’re used to, these little bits add up to make a room you can feel at home in! I know whenever I feel lonely, it helps me immensely to look at my happiest moments and my favorite people, all immortalized in frames and posters.

Meredith Kress-Bedroom Decor
Meredith Kress / Her Campus
Keep Yourself Busy

My third piece of advice is also perhaps my most productive: if you keep yourself preoccupied with all the new and exciting things available to you in your new environment, you’ll find yourself missing home less and less. When you’re having fun, everything seems easier, even living miles upon miles away from those whom you hold dear. Of course, in my case, college itself tends to keep me pretty busy, but I’ve found that “work busy” does not have the same positive impact as “play busy.” That is to say, you need to be busy enjoying yourself for this method to work. Go for a run! Watch a movie! Meet new people and try new things! Joining clubs is a great way to keep yourself the fun kind of busy, and I’ve yet to speak to someone who isn’t thoroughly enjoying all of the new activities they’re experimenting with.

So there you have it, folks! Three easy ways to feel better about your new home, regardless of how far it is from your old one. I hope my tips help, and I wish you all the best of luck in adjusting to your dorm room, apartment, etc. 

I’m sure that, before you know it, you’ll find yourself not just surviving, but thriving! 

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Devan is a freshman at BU majoring in journalism. She's from South Carolina, but considers herself a true New Englander, since that's where she spent her early childhood. This is her first time writing for a publication.
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