To the homesick freshman,
You expected it to be more, or at least something different than it actually is. It seemed surreal at first, exciting as you made the multiple trips to your room that first day to fill it up with the objects you thought would make it feel like your house. As your parents and friends left you in the foreign place, you realized nothing reminded you of the place that was previously your haven, your home. No matter what people say, they cannot deny they will get homesick or have been homesick at some point in time. Don’t feel like a social pariah if you are the first one on your hall to experience it. Being labeled as a homebody was a foreign thing to me before going off to school. People never truly realize that they can miss the comfort of a daily routine, even if all they want is to leave home and start their new life. College is an adjustment, but if I handled it and found my way out of the difficult beginning, there is definitely hope for all of you.
Keep your habits.
The first couple of weeks are filled with event after event, an overwhelming chaos that will make you feel very elated and stranded in the sea of college life simultaneously. Take some time for yourself. Keep up with that show you were binge-watching over the summer. Call your sister before you go to bed and ask her about her day. Finish that book you started before you left. Listen to your favorite songs on repeat. Incorporating the things you normally do and the things that make you feel at home will help keep you grounded.
Fall in love with your campus.
Try to walk everywhere that first week. If you are attending a school with a big campus, even better. Get those steps in and explore every new inch of the campus. Start claiming those little coffee shops, spots in the dining hall, and nooks in the library as yours. Fall in love with your new home. It’s a college town; there will be endless places to explore and experience. Make it special and make it yours.
Keep your old friends, but make new ones.
This cannot be stressed enough: do not forget about your high school friends, especially the ones that are going to your college. Please never forget where you come from. Just because “new place, new you” is apparently a thing, doesn’t mean you should forget about the people that grew up with you. Your old friends, may just help you make new ones too. As you adjust, branch out with meeting people. It is vital to make new connections because this is a fresh start without knowing everybody. Though, do not get a false sense of reality and think you will be besties with your roommate or the people on your hall. While that might happen, it also might not and take some time to find your group. There will be people like you, people you can truly connect with, even if it takes a little time to find them. You may not be best friends right away, but that is okay. Everyone is meeting everyone, and the relationships you make will solidify through time. Do not believe the crap that people have already found their best friends after a couple of weeks. PSA: Also remember social media only shows the highlights of people’s lives.
Just a tip: do not try to join every club on campus. From personal experience, also do not write down your email on every piece of paper you can get your hands on at the club fair. You will still be getting emails in October from that water-rafting club you don’t even remember signing up for. Explore your interests and connect with the events, people, and experiences that clubs can offer. Spending a Thursday night at some Relay For Life barbecue tops taking a three hour nap on your futon (for the most part). Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone will get you more used to the college life.
Visiting home isn’t such a bad idea.
They say you shouldn’t visit home so soon, but do whatever makes you feel right. If you are able to, drive home for a weekend. Maybe that home-cooked meal from mom or seeing your dogs is all you need to lift your spirits. It’s also good to see that life goes on without you at home even when you’re gone. Friends and family have their own lives too, and so should you. Do not get hung up on your life before. Your home and the people from it will still be there for you, but it is time to move on and live in the present, in this new phase.
All it takes is time. The best advice I can give is fake it until you make it. There will be a point when you will forget how much you miss your old home. There will also eventually be a point when you visit your parent’s house and miss the dorm you left behind. You will find your people and your niche at college, and it will be totally worth it. Adulting is hard, but now is the time where you are able to grow as an individual away from the place where you grew up, figure out things about yourself, and plan for the future. Treasure this time and make it yours.