SummaryAnna Eileen shares four tips to help new college students alleviate homesickness and maintain the same closeness to their families they had before.
College is a big adjustment.
It’s a change for everyone, but especially for former homeschoolers, like me. Most of my articles have talked about the academic adjustment—how to adjust (among other things) one’s schedule and study habits to fit a college lifestyle.
However, for many students, the emotional adjustment is much more complicated and challenging than the academic one.
While I definitely am still learning and a second-year nursing student is a far cry from a mental health professional, my time spent adjusting to life across the country from my entire family has been one of tremendous growth in knowledge, self-awareness, and emotional maturity.
I hope to share some tips for other homeschool graduates who have recently left their loving, close-knit families and are trying to figure out what to do next.
1. Stay busy and distracted.
While it’s not healthy to completely ignore your feelings of homesickness and loneliness, it’s also not good to sit and ruminate. Instead of sitting alone in your dorm room, try to get out and attend campus activities. Go to dances and parties (but beware of illegal or immoral activity, such as drug use). Join a book club, a Bible study, choir, drama club, or a sports team.
Try to surround yourself with Catholic friends who take their faith seriously. Wherever you go to college, there are sure to be fun activities happening. For me, it was helpful to have a certain number of times per week that I would go out and do something social, but you may be more spontaneous and come up with a strategy that works better for you.
However, staying busy does not apply just to social activities, which leads me to number 2.
2. Find places that remind you of home.
You are going to be at school for months at a time for the next four years, so it’s super important to find places that make you feel at home. Being from the Pacific Northwest, I feel comfortable hanging out in coffee shops and biking in neighborhoods filled with trees. Find your places and go there. Often.
3. Don’t be ashamed to call home as much as you need to.
Every family is different and every person is different. Whether it’s every day or twice a week, make the phone call and share your new life with your family. I’m a sophomore and I still call my mom on a daily basis and do a family video chat every week. Most of my peers don’t call home that much, but I have come to accept that I need that daily chat and that’s perfectly ok.
4. Have your goals always in your mind.
In all likelihood, you aren’t just going to college for the heck of it—you want something, whether that something be training in a specific field or acquisition of new and interesting knowledge. When things get rough, remember that goal and how badly you want it.
Think of how you get to spend the happiest times of the year, like Christmas and summer time, with your family, while the rest of the year you can pour your energy into accomplishing the work that you yourself desired and chose.
I really hope that this article finds homesick homeschool graduates and helps them to improve their college experiences.
Have any additional tips? Share in the comments!