College: Surviving Homesickness

Ways to get over homesickness in college

When you first go off to college, one of the major things you'll have to deal with is homesickness. For the first time, you're away from home for more than just a night or a week at a time. You really LIVE in another place.

But it isn't as bad as it seems. If you really want to be there, you will settle in. If you really DON'T want to be there - it might be time to start thinking of some alternatives. Most students do want to move away from home, though, and live on their own. And most students miss their homes and families once they've gone.

First, don't listen to traditional wisdom that says you shouldn't call or visit too often. If you try to cut yourself off from the people you love, you'll be much more upset. If you feel really connected to the people you love, you'll feel like you're not missing as much. Go ahead and call/email/IM everyday, if you want to. Visit every other weekend. Never try to force yourself NOT to call or visit if you really, really miss home. It will only make things worse. When you're ready to be in contact less often, you'll know, and you'll do it (when I first left for college, I called my parents everyday. After a few months, I only called them every week or two).

On campus, make some new friends. Talk to the people in your dorm or in your classes; chances are, they're going through the same thing you are. Find people you can really talk to and share your experiences with. Let them talk to you. Have sleepovers with them and go to meals with them. Try to always surround yourself with people. It will keep your mind off missing your friends and family back home, and it will also help you make those new friends you need.

If there are other people on campus that you knew in high school, talk to them. They're familiar faces, and you can help each other settle in. Maybe you weren't really friends in high school, but since both of you have no one else you know on campus, you become friends now. Don't underestimate a familiar face when you feel lost.

Get involved on campus. What's important to you? Find a church or a club to join. Go to concerts or art shows. There are usually tons of things happening around campus. Many have karaoke nights or free movies. Head on out to these events (the first week or so, they'll have tons of events; you can usually find out about clubs and stuff at these). Get involved with the stuff that matters to you. Sitting in your dorm room, bored, will make you more unhappy. Doing what you love will make you feel involved.

Throw yourself into your classes. Hopefully, you're taking classes you like, especially if you've already chosen a major. Go to all your classes, do all your homework, and get excited about what you're doing. This isn't like high school; classes are a lot better. If you get into your work, then you might begin to feel really excited about school.

Keep your room the way you like it. Decorate it with familiar items. Put pictures of friends and family up. Keep cards and other mementos around. Use colors you like. Bring special blankets with you. If you like a little clutter, keep a little clutter around (but don't invade your roommate's space!). If you make your space familiar, then you'll be happier to live in it.

Enjoy the "cool stuff" that only happens in college. You have a lot of free time during the day now, to study on your own, run errands, or do whatever you want. You have to manage your time on your own, so enjoy it! No one's telling you that you have to be in one place for seven hours a day anymore. Enjoy your new-found freedom and do some things you've always wanted to do, but have never been able to.

If you do all of these things, you will find yourself really getting involved with your new life, and happy about it! You will always miss your friends and family, but you won't feel so separated from them anymore. Always enjoy your visits with them, but don't be afraid to keep pursuing your own, awesome life.

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