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Ways to Deal With Separation Anxiety in College

      If you’re anything like me, that final goodbye to your family the day they left you at college was dreadful. I remember before leaving my home, bawling with my sister telling one another how much we’d miss each other. I remember my mom and dad hugging me and saying how proud they were and how they were expecting great things from me. Specifically I remember going into my room with a gift bag my parents gave me, reaching in to pull out a card that read “WOW!” with little personalized notes, and feeling completely and entirely empty. It was kind of a feeling of “That’s it?”. That was going to be my final goodbye? I was heartbroken. I had never been away from my family for more than about a month. What was I going to do? How would I fill my loneliness? Would I even make friends? Lastly, how was I going to deal with my anxiety? Here’s a few tips on what made me feel better and continues to help me deal.

      In a place so huge, sometimes you can feel so tiny. Being at one of the greatest HBCU’s, Clark Atlanta University, it is so easy to feel alone. However, there’s so many great people and so many great organizations. The more you get involved around campus the less time you have to think about what you’re missing. You could join an exercise group, a group for your hometown or even a book club. There’s so many things you could get involved in. The key to trying to ease this separation anxiety is staying busy! Perhaps you need to do a little studying, but you feel like you’re not wanting to get out of bed; make plans a week prior so that way, if you back out, someone can hold you accountable. It’s important to not sulk, dwell or be alone when you’re feeling like this. The more people you’re around, the less lonely you’ll feel. Make connections and network so you can also start setting up different opportunities for yourself. Even when you’re down, think of where you want to be and start setting up your future as much as you possibly can.

      Another great way to get over your anxiety is making friends and spending time with those friends. A great friend can help you get your mind off of anything. Participating in movie nights in or going out to parties are great ways to get your mind off of things that can bring you down. I’m also the type of person who likes to talk and cry things out. If you have a friend who is easily understanding and can give you comfort and great advice, that’s the person you would want to talk to. Share what’s been bothering you the most and explain how it’s been hard to adjust. I guarantee if they’re a great friend they’ll want to help in any way possible. One good thing that has helped me is setting up my room and making a room collage of pictures of friends and family back home. Ask your friend to come over and bring some of their favorite snacks. Turn on a movie to watch and you guys can have a night setting up pictures on your wall. After your friend leaves for the night and you wake up in the morning, it’s a guarantee you’ll see the pictures and feel ten times better. It’ll put you in great spirits and help you relieve some of that anxiety.

      Lastly, take care of yourself as well. I know trying to be around others and trying to keep your mind off of these things can be hard. Never forget that at times it is okay to be alone. It is okay to cry, spending time with yourself and loving yourself. Spend time doing your hair, doing face masks, watch movies and making sure you look good. It’s also important to make sure you FEEL good. Your mental health is just as vital as anything else. There’s several hotlines you can call if it gets to that feeling of depression. Most schools also offer therapists for those who may need to talk. It’s important to not keep this all bottled up. Maybe even make sure you have a calling schedule; speak with your family and friends throughout the day. Talk about how things are going and what you plan on doing that week. Share what’s on your heart and I’m sure they’ll comfort you. Being away from home can be absolutely amazing but it can also be very difficult. No one talks about how alone and how sad you can feel. It’s okay to feel this way too, but it’s better to talk these things out and to make sure you’re using this energy in positive ways. Make sure that you know that you’re not alone. We’re all here together trying to achieve greatness in various ways. You don’t have to do it alone. Feel good, look good, and make sure you’re getting all that negative energy out and channel it in positive, productive ways.

Photo Credits: Shutterstock

Hey, my name is Demetri Dulaney. I am currently a sophomore at Clark Atlanta University. I'm from Columbus, Ohio and I am nineteen years old. I am a writer for HerCampus. I am a Mass Media Arts major with a concentration in Journalism.
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