Adjusting to life in college can be hard, but it doesn’t have to be

Though few students are eager to admit it, homesickness is a common affliction in college, particularly among freshmen in their first few weeks of school. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by the academic, financial and social demands of college and to yearn for a simple and familiar life like you had back home. Going from a small high school where you knew everyone’s name to a huge college campus where you get lost and feel alienated can be very hard. You may even (gasp) miss your parents.

Coping With Homesickness

There are a few strategies you can implement to overcome your feelings of homesickness and save the expense of traveling home every weekend. They include:

  • Bring home with you. Whether you live in a dorm room or an off-campus apartment, you can decorate your living space so that it has some of the comforts of home. Pictures of your parents, high school friends and even pets can be put on the walls. Your favorite teddy bear can make the trip to college with you. You can even invite a friend or sibling from home to visit you at college.
  • Make a schedule. Plan your phone calls and visits home. Try scheduling one phone call a week (Sunday nights work well for most) to catch up with your parents and siblings. That way, you have something to look forward to and you won’t rack up a big phone bill with random calls “just to chat.” It’s okay to visit home every once in a while, but try to limit it to two or three times per semester. You don’t want to miss on-campus events, which are great places to make friends and become more comfortable with life away from home.
  • Get involved on campus. Don’t give yourself any time to be homesick. Stay busy with social events that will help you meet friends on campus. Try signing up for an intramural sports team or other extracurricular activity.
  • Express your feelings. Try writing about your homesickness in a journal or, even better, find someone on your residence floor or in one of your classes who feels the same and would like to talk about it.

Remember that no matter how homesick you are, the feeling will eventually fade. As you become more comfortable in college and form new friendships, you’ll grow out of your old lifestyle. Before you know it, you’ll be having so much fun with your new friends that you’ll go weeks without thinking of life back home.

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