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College Blues: How to Beat Homesickness

We all feel the exhilaration that comes with being at a large university like University of Texas at Austin on our own, and not having to always explain everything to our parents. We picture lounging in the Main Mallin perfect view of the UT Tower, watching adorably tanned college boys playing Frisbee. We may soon realize, however, that nothing can be as perfect as we picture them to be in our minds. Studying on our campus lawns may be distracting with the many jumping insects around. And that adorable tanned college boy may not always turn out to be Mr. Right. With the pressure of being on your own and living close to your friends, balancing your social and academic life may seem a bit overwhelming and crazy. It’s not surprising that some people’s college experiences do not live up to their expectations. If you find yourself wanting to curl into a blanket-covered ball on your dorm bed, watching Gossip Girl reruns, sinking into a deeper pool of nostalgia and missing your old friends while trying to forget your impossible economics test in less than a week, realize that you are not alone and can do something proactive! You can beat the college blues, and, contrary to what you think, homesickness is fairly common and can be fixed. Here are some tips on how to beat homesickness:
 

  1. Get involved. Joining organizations that interest you is an easy way to meet people you already have something in common with. Many people who join organizations are not only looking to continue with a hobby or activity they enjoy, but also to meet new people. If you are into theater and love watching Glee, chances are, many others in the theater club would love to join you Tuesday nights! Also, many organizations offer many fun activities for cheaper costs, so not only will you make new friends, but you will also have new experiences. Who knows, you might turn out to be a kayaking pro!
  2. Balance old and new friends: Of course it is great to stay in touch with close high school friends and to compare college experiences. But constantly Skyping, calling and texting your old friends for four-hour time periods may not be the best way to meet new people. Remember, you are in a new environment where endless opportunities lie! The more you focus on how much you miss your old friends, the harder it will be for you to accept and find close friends at UT. Remember, everything takes time! You just have to give the new people you meet a chance. While staying in touch with many of your high school friends who are at the same college as you, keep an open mind and engage in opportunities to meet new people.
  3. Remember, you tend to remember only good memories. Thinking back to high school, you most likely only remember the fun times: senior year, prom, graduation and your memories with high school friends. You would not remember your junior year of high school whenyou would have traded anything to go to college, the overwhelming feeling you had about being treated like a child, when you felt like an adult! Remember, your nostalgia is very biased, and you just have to keep an open mind and realize nothing is perfect. As Audrey Hepburn once said, “don’t fret, it will happen differently anyway.” Just relax, think positive and have fun!
  4. Do not stay huddled in your dorm room. While your room is always the best source of comfort and relaxation, remember to frequently change your environment. Instead of always studying at your dorm alone, get together with a study group or friends and go to the PCL! Another way to keep yourself from always being cooped up in your dorm is to have a regular exercise routine. Going to the gym is not only a great way to spend time with friends and socialize, but it also will leave you feeling healthy and less stressed. Exercising will make you feel fresh and offers a great break from studying and doing homework.

 
Every once in a while, a combination of schoolwork, a new environment and self-responsibility mayoverwhelm you and lead you to become homesick. Just remember that this feeling is completely normal, and it is important to deal with it positively. Remember, college is some of the best years of your life. Make sure to make your experience balanced and healthy, maintaining schoolwork, your social life, and your own health. Even though the idea of being at a university as big as UT may sound intimidating at first, realize that this also means you have the opportunity meet a diverse group of people and try many different things. So instead of planning a proposal to your parents involving you living at home, take a deep breath, think positively, and get involved! 

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