You know that feeling of freedom you felt when your parents left you home alone as a kid followed by the fear that you'll play out the Home Alone movie in your own place? That's how college might feel initially. If you’re in college and are living outside of your home, on or off campus, you are probably in the process of moving in or may have just finished moving in recently. Homesickness is a feeling that washes over A LOT of people. If you’re in the same boat, don’t feel alone. The boat is VERY full. If you’re someone who cried initially, there are so many people who can empathize, so we get it. It’s a scary feeling when your life experiences such a large change. Not only are you moving out, but you’re also starting college, possibly in a new place, and may have to start over completely when building your life. It can be overwhelming. If this isn’t your first year on campus, maybe you’re experiencing a feeling of homesickness because your life just switched from summer mode to school mode. I’m sure I am speaking for a lot of people when I say summer was incredibly relaxing for my brain without the stress of classes.
Set Up Your New Place:
Don’t procrastinate unpacking. I know it can be a difficult task, but the faster your dorm, room, apartment, or home (or wherever you live) develops a homie feeling, the faster you will become more comfortable. Personally, when I first saw my empty room, I initially lost any positivity in my mood. I spent the next day working on unpacking to set up my room and guess what? I’m feeling so much better, and my room doesn’t make me sad anymore. I do miss my bed and shower at home, though. I just made my room more tolerable now 😊. For anyone who is missing furniture, go on a quick shopping run with your friends or roommates. Retail therapy is real. If shopping and spending money stresses you out, try to use platforms for gently used/secondhand items. It will be much more affordable and the drive there will help you calm your mind a bit.
Build a Routine:
Creating routine for certain aspects of your life will help you combat homesickness. If you’re constantly busy with classes, the gym, homework, or spending time with you friends, it makes it easier to take your mind off of missing home. Try to throw in daily things for you to do for yourself. A quick mental break everyday. This can be many things.
Go to the gym: Whether you partake in heavy lifting, cardio, or any of the group classes your school offers, it’ll be a great way to tune out while working on your mental and physical being.
Reading a book: Challenge yourself to read a book every month and spend 15 minutes a day doing so.
Writing: Start a journal, create a to-do list, write out poetry or creative stories.
Self-care: Get into a facial or hair routine and take care of your body.
Finding a Job:
If you’re an expensive person, you know you need the money to pay for those gym fits, your fast food, protein, supplements, shopping, or whatever else you spend your money on. Getting a job will help you establish your independence financially, which is an empowering feeling on its own, but it will also give you the ability to use retail therapy to feel more comfortable in your new life. If you have a work study, I recommend finding a job on campus because that income doesn’t affect your EFC with FAFSA in the next couple years. You still pay taxes, but you won’t have to pay more to your school unless your other income sources increase in their monetary amounts.
INVOLVE YOURSELF AT SCHOOL!!! I can’t emphasize this enough. While it’s great for your resume, it also helps you settle into the new place. Your extracurriculars help you find people who are like minded and share your interests. It’s an automatic conversation starter for my introverts or those who struggle making friends. (I feel you though, so don’t worry. The extrovert in me died a bit during COVID and we are working on reviving her slowly). If you aren’t already in your campus’ Girl Gains’ chapter… what are you doing? See how cool I am? I just found you a club to join. BAM! Feel free to start your own chapter if your campus doesn’t have one yet!
Don’t focus on all clubs that look good on a resume or for grad school. Don’t disregard them completely, but try to also join a club or two that involve something that you love. This could be a club surrounding a hobby, passion, or anything that doesn’t completely pertain to school. You’ll burn yourself out if your entire life revolves around school. Trust me, I’ve been there. Find time for yourself and things that help you relax.
Change will always be difficult. It’s never a fun thing and brings many challenges. If you try to accept change and work around it, you will thrive. Take everything in a positive way and it will translate into a positive turnout. Try to not stress yourself out and find ways to make this new setting feel like home. If you get to a point where you feel like you are distracting yourself from how you feel, speak to someone about how you feel. It may help you find new ways to become comfortable with your new life. If there’s anything you need, feel free to reach out to me if needed as well. May this change be ever in your favor!
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