Whether it’s crushes, classes or coed bathrooms on your mind, chances are you’ve already started stressing about your freshman year of college. But don’t worry! This collegiette has been there and done that, and she’s passing along her hard-earned wisdom to you lucky pre-collegiettes. Whether you’re daunted by your packing list (you do not need a label maker, promise), college-level classes (Wikipedia is your new best friend), making friends (easier than it sounds) or running into a one-night stand (honestly, just run the other way), Sophie’s likely encountered it all. Just sit back, relax and let her share the best advice she’s picked up along the way.
How do you get over the homesickness if you go out of state to college? –Whitney
You have come to the right girl. If there is one college-related topic I am qualified to talk about, it’s homesickness.
A little background info: I’m from Rhode Island and I left to go to school in Vermont, about a five-hour drive away. Looking back, all the signs that I would be homesick in college were there: I started crying about leaving home the second I got my acceptance letter and I spent the summer before college listening to “Graduation” by Vitamin C on repeat (I’m sorry for getting that stuck in your head). Needless to say, I had a bit of a rough transition to college.
To make matters even worse, I was diagnosed with separation anxiety, a specific type of anxiety disorder characterized by extreme anxiety and discomfort associated with being separated from familiar places or people (in other words, going away to college). The transition was tough, but once you get past the first couple of weeks, you’ll be surprised at how quickly campus becomes your second home. Here are my top tips for getting over the initial homesickness during your first few weeks at college:
1. Expect it. Don’t let homesickness sneak up on you…anticipate it! Any person who says he or she never had a moment of insecurity or homesickness during his or her freshman year is (probably) lying. It makes total sense that you’d be uneasy about leaving behind everything you know and starting out on your own (well, sort of on your own). It’s nothing to be ashamed of!
2. Establish a support system. The best way to combat homesickness? Have a support system in place before you step foot on campus. Know where the student counseling office is and take the opportunity to connect with your roommate(s) well before orientation week. We all Facebook stalk our future roommates to no end, you know, to see if they look like they’re a similar size for sharing clothes and to make sure they share our affinity for One Direction, but it’s important to actually reach out to your roommate early on. Touching base with your new roomie means you automatically have at least one friend on campus and someone who won’t judge you if they come back from class and find you Skype-crying to your mom (I can speak from experience).
3. Stay connected. Speaking of Skype, this godsend is every homesick collegiette’s best friend. Staying connected to familiar and comforting things is so important, especially during the first few weeks. Set up a regular time to Skype with your ‘rents (Sunday nights worked best for me!) and stay in touch with your high school friends. Chances are they’re also feeling homesick and would love to see a familiar face (plus, you can show off your fabulous, Pinterest-inspired dorm room). As important as it is to make new friends and have new experiences in college, there’s nothing quite like catching up with someone from home when you’re feeling down.
4. Get involved. This tip is a cliché for a reason! I joined the Quidditch team my first week, and even though I was an absolutely terrible Beater and probably looked ridiculous with a broom between my legs, I made some new friends, got to know the campus a little better and got out of my dorm room on the weekends (all good things).
Going to college out of state and experiencing homesickness can be scary and unfamiliar, but it can also be an amazing chance to reinvent yourself and gain more confidence in your ability to be independent. Give it some time and you’ll be on your way to loving your home away from home, I promise.