If you anticipate some homesickness, you are going to be more prepared for the feelings that may overwhelm you during the first month or two of college life. Remember that you are adjusting to a new home, a new roommate, new classes and a new routine. Be patient with yourself. Resist the idea that you have to go home every weekend, but be kind enough to yourself to allow a trip or two to take the edge off your feelings of isolation and loneliness. Here are some things you can do to help you adjust to your new environment:
Jump In – Sign up for study groups, join clubs and go to events. You will meet new people and feel less alone. Go to college sporting events, concerts, and other college sponsored programs. Talk to people in class and in the halls and meet new friends. You will find that everyone feels the same way and you will understand that your feelings are normal.
Treat Yourself Well – Do something familiar that you really like, whether it is a hobby or an interest like movies or concerts. Exercise, get enough rest and eat well. You are going to feel better if your health is good.
Get On a Schedule – Get organized so you feel more in control and less overwhelmed. Use ‘post it’ notes and other tools like your computer calendar to keep you on schedule.
Get Off Campus on Occasion – Go out to an ice cream parlor, coffee shop or pizza parlor and get away from the institutional confines of the campus into an environment that looks more like a home town.
Stay in Touch – You might think this will make you feel worse (and in the beginning, it may) but calling home occasionally will make you and your family feel better. You can get the latest scoop on what is happening with siblings and neighbors. Send email, pictures and other things back and forth so you will feel more ‘in touch’. You can even set up your own website and update friends and family on what is happening at school.
Express Yourself – Talk to a new friend, write in a journal or diary and otherwise offload your feelings of homesickness. You need to get this out in the open so you can move past your feelings and know that you are OK.
Contact an Old High School Friend – Call or email an old friend at THEIR NEW SCHOOL and find out how they are doing. You may be surprised to hear that everyone is going through the same adjustment.
Surround Yourself with Comfort – Bring a piece of home with you in the way of a comforter, a familiar picture or poster, or other items you are used to seeing around your home. This will help you feel less like you are visiting and more like you are home in your new dorm room.
The best thing you can do for yourself as those feelings of homesickness descend is to know that you will get past this, and to know that it is a normal and natural function of your increasing independence and maturity. You will be just fine!