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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Gettysburg chapter.

Before the semester started I was so excited to come back and see my friends, my favorite professors, and overall get back into my school routine. We upperclassmen/returning students are some of the lucky few that have the privilege of being immediately comfortable on move-in day. So while we caught up with friends, new students were attempting to find their way in this new scary place.

I actually realized the other day that first-years were new (shocking, I know) to college, and I remembered my own freshman year. I was horribly homesick and had a hard time adjusting to college and being away from home. As you can hopefully tell, I’ve gotten over my homesickness, and I would love to share some of my tips to help anyone who’s struggling!

Stay in touch… a little

If you live close by, you may be tempted to go home and escape as often as you can. While this feels good at the moment, it won’t help you. You’ll only get used to this new environment if you stick it out! Similarly, don’t call your home friends or family that often! It’s important to stay in touch, but like going home, calling too often prevents you from getting used to college.

You can try to set up a schedule that pushes you to get involved while still maintaining your sanity. I live in New York, so it’s manageable for me to go home once a month or so. This period is long enough for me to fully enjoy a month at school, and then recharge for a long weekend at home. My partner and I try to FaceTime often, but we make it a point to have a longer, more fulfilling call every few days.

What works for me may not work for you, but it’s important to set goals to create balance for yourself. It’ll help you stay involved on campus, foster routine, and hopefully make friends!

Bring Home to Gettysburg

Part of your homesickness may stem from the fact that you’re in such a new environment with no routine. Nothing is familiar to you, but you can change that! Think about your routines at home and how you can replicate them here. For example, each morning for breakfast I would always have a bagel and an iced coffee. I found a lot of comfort in my breakfast routine at home, so I simply ate a bagel from Servo every day. Working in little things that remind you of home can go a long way.

If you like to run, go for a jog on the battlefield! If you love painting, buy some supplies and get to work! If it’s not an activity you miss, you can try to get decor for your dorm that reminds you of home. Perhaps pictures of family and friends, pillows that match the colors of your childhood bedroom, or anything else that makes you feel comfortable.

Speak to a counselor

Did you know Gettysburg College students have access to Counselors through our Health Center? You can set up a meeting with one of our Counselors or an outside provider. It can be helpful to have someone new listen to how you’re feeling, especially if you aren’t ready to open up to new friends. Counselors can give you some more specific advice and help you feel more stable during such a difficult time.

reach out

When I was a freshman I didn’t want to tell anyone that I was homesick. Seeing everyone else having fun and making friends put even more pressure on me to keep up appearances. I desperately wanted to have close friends at school that I could rely on. And honestly, I wanted to tell someone how I was feeling.

The only way you can do that is to reach out to people! I know this is a difficult step (it was for me). But I actually met one of my closest friends over an Instagram DM! You can reach out to people in your classes, on your floor, or even people that you just see on Instagram. Even if you don’t end up becoming friends with the person, hanging out with them even once can help you take your mind off of your homesickness.

After I made some friends in my first year, I eventually felt comfortable enough to tell them about my homesickness. And after a little while, I felt better.

If you want more tips on how to make friends, check out my last article!

Stay busy

Do you think about home when you do homework? Probably not. When you’re busy doing something, your brain doesn’t have time to make you upset because it’s trying to figure out how to write that paper or finish a problem set. Finding some clubs and organizations to take up some free time in your schedule can help keep homesick thoughts away.

After a while, these obligations can actually become reasons why you love Gettysburg! Even when I’m home I’m working on something for Her Campus, and it has become a part of my identity as a college student. Staying busy actually gave me a purpose and made me want to be here! Of course, joining some organizations can also help you make friends, and it gives you something to write home about!

What organization will you join? Maybe Her Campus? We’re always looking for new members! Reach out to us on our social media or come to a meeting!

know this is temporary

If all else fails, I promise you that the feeling will eventually go away. You’ll meet friends, get involved, and you might even suddenly feel sad at the end of the semester when it’s time to go home. Just wait it out and try to make the most of the semester!

With that said, no one’s college experience is exactly the same. Everyone thinks that college is supposed to be the best years of your life. For some people they are, and for others, they’re not. And that’s okay! Social media makes it seem like everyone is having the best time, but no one’s life is perfect. The perfect college experience doesn’t exist, and it looks different for every person. Find joy in the simple things, and take time to appreciate this little town and school.

I wish all the first-year and transfer students luck in finding their home away from home. I’m here for anyone if they need a friend, and Her Campus at Gettysburg is of course always here to support you!

Sophia Kenny

Gettysburg '24

Sophia Kenny graduated in May of 2024. During her time in Her Campus, she served as the President of Her Campus Gettysburg and former Vice President of Social Media. She covered many aspects of culture and college life, such as things to do around campus and ways to get acclimated. Sophia studied English and Business, Organization, and Management at Gettysburg College from 2020-2024. She was an Undergraduate Fellow of the Eisenhower Institute, served as Sooth's Gen Z Audience Council Chair, and completed an English Honors Thesis. Sophia's work has been published in the Gettysburg Connection and the Mercury. She has served as an intern for the Gettysburg Connection, Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger, First & First Consulting, and Sooth. In her free time, Sophia enjoys hanging out with friends and her cat, Star. You can find her procrastinating in the library, or listening to a podcast and painting her nails at home. You can keep up with her on LinkedIn.