Posts filed under 'homesickness'

5 Things Every Freshman Should Know

1. If You Need Help, It’s Probably Available. Mom and Dad may not be just down the hall anymore, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get help when you need it. Most campuses have set up great support systems for their students.

Trouble with academics? Talk to an academic adviser, look in to free tutoring (offered on many campuses), or stop by your professor’s office hours. Feeling sick, homesick, or overwhelmed? Head to the campus medical clinic and ask about seeing a doctor or counselor. Many schools have support groups for students in all different types of situations, too. Can’t figure out the laundry thing, or want a recommendation for a fun off-campus excursion? Talk to your resident advisor (RA)!

2. Watch Your Wallet. It’s easy to get swept up in the swirl of social events and the freedom of managing your own cash, but don’t get spendy too quickly! According to an article at our sister blog, the Pay for College Blog, the average college student has over $3,000 in credit card debt–and that is on top of the debt you may already be racking up in student loan debts.

But don’t worry–you can definitely take control of your cash flow. Learn more about managing your finances and learning to budget here, and consider whether you should get a job during the school year.

3. Plan Your Time. One of the trickiest parts of adjusting to college is discovering how different it is from high school. Your class schedule can be different every day of the week, your professors probably aren’t taking role in every class, and you might even find yourself with huge hour blocks with nothing scheduled–or even entire class-free days. Building yourself a schedule can help you make time for a job, social life, study time, and all those to-do list items in between.

While you’re at it, learn how to create an easy semester study calendar so you don’t get (too) behind in class.

4. Get Involved. If this is your first time away from your family, friends, and everything familiar, homesickness is bound to strike at some point. Getting involved in your college community can help you beat homesickness, make new friends, and (bonus) give you something new to add to your resume. Talk to your RA to find out what kinds of clubs, religious groups, service organizations, and other activities you can get involved with on or near campus, and give a few of them a shot.

And remember–be active when it comes to meeting new people. Even the simple act of leaving your door open when you’re in your room can help you get to know the other students on your floor.

5. Have a Little Faith. Maybe it sounds cheesy, but have a little faith in yourself. College is a big, exciting, and often overwhelming experience, so give yourself time to adjust. The campus may seem huge, but you will learn your way around. The same applies for new roommates, classes, and friendships: give yourself time to learn and adjust, and be patient! All your freshman peers are feeling the pressure, too.

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4 comments October 11th, 2010

Bump the Post-Break Blues!

By now most of you are heading back to school, settling into the dorms with your new toys from the break, and if you’re anything like me, you’re feeling a little post-winter-break slump. Sure its great to be back (well, minus the homework bit), but all that bonding with family & friends you did over the holidays might leave you feeling a little lonely.

Make a Skype Date

I have just gotten on the video-chatting bandwagon (I picked up a webcam on a Black Friday shopping trip), and it is so much better than talking on the phone! The coolest part? Motorola has a video phone that costs about $800, but you can get a pretty good webcam for only $30.

Then just hook up to a free service like Skype or Gmail Voice & Video chat and start talking face to face–and don’t forget to make sure you get some face time with Rover if you’re missing your pup! (I was super homesick for my dogs, and I am not afraid to admit it!) Moms & dads tend to be pretty excited about video chat, too–I just showed my dad and he thought it was awesome.

Mail an Old Fashioned Snail Mail Letter

I am a firm believer that a good piece of mail can turn a bad day into a good one–so give someone’s day a lift (and help ensure you’ll get some mail of your own) by sending off a bit of snail mail. Send mom a postcard, write a letter to your BFF during class, or pen a love note to your crush–then stamp it and send it off!

Have a Long-Distance TV Party

Lost of shows are just starting up after the holiday break, but being apart doesn’t mean you can’t watch LOST with your kid brother anymore. Make a phone date and watch together, or if you’re in a different time zone, wait until the next day and log on to the web to watch the latest episodes together. Most TV stations air full episodes on their websites, or you can try one of my new fav sites, hulu.com, which has full TV shows (new and classic) and even full length movies.

How are you kicking the post-break slump? Help me out–I need to do it, too!

a girl with a phone by mzacha

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2 comments January 14th, 2009

5 Ways to Kick the College Homesickness Bug

Fighting off homesickness is often one of the biggest challenges of moving away from home-especially your first year of college-which is why I’ve written a couple of articles about how to deal with it already (see the first one here and the second one here).  So if you’re feeling a little out of your element, or just missing your summer crush, here are a few ideas to help you out of the slump:

1.  Connect

Meeting new people in college can make a huge difference in your comfort level-a friendly face in the caf or having someone to talk to in class really takes the edge off a bad day.  Wondering how to go about forming these connections?  Check out my past post about how to meet people in college.

2.  Reconnect

Moving away from home doesn’t mean you have to cut all ties with your family & friends.  It seems like every day there are new ways to keep in touch.  You’re undoubtedly IMing and emailing already, and I’ve suggested phone calls, a group blog, and text/pix messaging before, but why stop there?

Keep your friends updated (and keep up on their news) in real time with Twitter, connect with groups & old friends on Facebook, and if you just need to see a friendly face, try using Skype to make free video calls from your computer.

3.  Make Yourself at Home

Feeling out of place in your new environment usually makes homesickness worse, so try to make your dorm room “home” ASAP.  Make your side of the room your own with familiar photos, bedding, and knick-knacks, and try to learn your way around campus so it feels natural for you to be there. (Check out my post about dorm décor on the cheap for inspiration!)

4.  Journal

It’s perfectly normal to feel some apprehension or loneliness when you find yourself in such a brand-new situation, but that doesn’t mean you’re itching to spill your sorrows to your roommate.  If you’re too shy or uncomfortable to talk about missing home, don’t bottle it up!  Get your feelings out on paper (or computer screen) by keeping an informal journal.  You don’t even have to keep what you’ve written-sometimes writing just helps you get it out of your system.

If you aren’t the paper-and-pen type, try Xanga, Blogger, WordPress, or LiveJournal-you can make all of them private if you want to.

5.  Plan a Party

Having trouble meeting people or getting enough interaction with your peers?  Plan a party!  (Not only will it help you meet people, the planning process will keep your mind occupied during quiet hours).  It can be anything from the traditional definition to a casual movie night or a screening of the season premiere of your favorite show.  Your campus should have space available for you to reserve, or you can talk to your RA about using a common area in the dorms (they could probably help you publicize it, too).

Make sure the word gets out via email, posters around campus, Facebook, Twitter, etc. (and if you can, get people to bring food)!

photo: dear memories 2 by lusi

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4 comments September 8th, 2008

Tests and Tragedy: Coping with College when Trouble Hits at Home

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I tried to write a detailed post this morning about how to cope with trouble back home while you are away at school, but I struggled to really put into words what it feels like, how much it hurts, and how to cope with it.

Two years ago this week, I was preparing for finals as my dad prepared to go into a surgery that we hoped would remove all traces of cancer from his body. Though I took all my finals and my dad made it safely through surgery, the weeks leading up to those days—and the months of hospitalizations, chemotherapy, and pain that my dad experienced afterward—were some of the hardest of my life.

Though its hard to give good general advice when everyone copes differently, there are a few things you should know if you find yourself in this situation:

  • Know Your Limits. You need to decide how much you will struggle in school based on whatever is going on with your family or friend. Decide if you think you can make it through the quarter/semester, or if this is such an extreme situation that you need to drop a class or take a break from school. Talk to a parent or adult that you trust to help you make this decision.
  • Tell Your Professors and/or Employer. Don’t feel like it is a cop-out to explain your personal situation to your professors and/or employer. Your professor may be able to offer you additional help, or refer you to someone who can tutor you if you find yourself struggling to keep up in class. Your employer needs to understand your situation because he/she may notice a change in your mood, and because you may need time off to visit home.
  • Search Out Support. The best support I got was from a friend who had been through a similar situation—he was able to help me understand that my feelings were normal, and was empathetic. You should also find out what your school has to offer. UCSD’s Student Health Services offered free sessions with a psychologist to all students, and also had student support groups for all different kinds of issues.
  • Reach Out to Others. One thing that is almost guaranteed to lift your spirits is to focus on helping other people instead of on your own worries. I made a lot of phone calls to my mom to cheer her up, and they cheered me up, too. Don’t feel that you have to help just one person or that you have to do a lot of big things—small, random acts of kindness to others will help you get outside your own pain, and even a small break from worrying is worth the effort.
  • Rest and Nourish. The health of your body affects your emotional state—you are much more likely to feel sad or fearful if you are tired. Worry, fear, and depression all take a lot out of you, so take good care of your body. Pay attention to what you eat, and try to keep eating healthily and on a regular basis. Also, understand that you might need more rest during stressful times—you might need to go to bed earlier or take a nap.

Remember, everyone copes in different ways. My younger brother couldn’t stand to go visit my dad in the hospital—it was just too painful for him. I was on the opposite side of the spectrum, and only felt good when I was sitting by Dad’s bed in the hospital.

If you have been through something like this, I encourage you to leave thoughts, ideas, and experiences in comments for your fellow readers—it really helps to know you’re not alone.

Photo: together by scol22

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4 comments December 10th, 2007

Three MORE Ideas to Help Beat College Homesickness

A couple posts ago I gave you some tips about how to get through homesickness in college. I hope they’re helping you, and today I have a few more ways you can give yourself a happiness boost when you’re feeling lonely.

  1. Hang Around on Weekends
    You might be wondering how not going home can help you get over homesickness, but it really can make a difference. Most of the major socializing in college goes on over the weekend, so by going home to visit you miss out on hanging out with people you meet on campus during the week. I had a really hard time being away from home, so I made myself a promise not to go home until Thanksgiving—it gave me time to adjust to being away from Mom & Dad, and helped get me motivated to meet new people so I would have something to do on the weekend.
  2. Ask for (or Send!) a Care Package
    If there is something you really miss from home—Mom’s chocolate chip cookies, your vintage Converse, or a blanket your best friend made you—ask someone to send it out to you. Why would I suggest sending care packages yourself? My mom sent me a box every finals week, and quite a few in between, so one time I returned the favor and sent her one—she loved it. Working to make someone else happy is one of the very best ways to make yourself feel better. It helps you focus on something other than feeling sad, and it can be pretty fun getting creative enough to put together a box on a college budget.
  3. Invite Someone from Home to Visit
    This one is a double-whammy. Inviting someone to visit not only gets you some quality time with someone you miss from home—a boyfriend/girlfriend, relative, or friend—but also helps you get excited about sharing your new life with them. Spend some time thinking about the cool things you want to show them–like your dorm room, the best place to get Mexican food at 2 a.m., some weird sculpture in the art department, or the best view in the city.

Have more suggestions? I’d love to hear them! Email me at questions@survivingcollegelife.com with your suggestions or questions, or leave a comment below!

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3 comments October 2nd, 2007

Three Ways to Beat Homesickness

Feeling a little homesick? Yeah. That’s normal. Even if you’re really enjoying life on your own, there can still be days where you feel a bit down or out of place. My first year I had a couple bouts of homesickness. I wasn’t sure if my roommate liked me, and even though my best friend from high school lived one floor above me, she decided she wanted to make new friends and not hold on to high school relationships. So I felt pretty lonely at first.

Living away from home is definitely an adjustment—sometimes a hard one—but it gets easier as you get more involved with your new life. In the mean time, though, here are a few things that made me feel better:

  1. Pictures from Home
    In addition to having some framed photos on my desk, I plastered a huge collage of pictures of my friends, family, and even my dogs on the wall over my bed. I added to it magazine clippings, movie tickets, and anything else that made me happy to look at.
  2. Blogging with my Friends
    When we started college, I started a blog with a few of my closest friends from high school. It was easier than sending a bunch of personal emails, and it let us keep up with each others’ news. Over four years later, the blog is still alive and well. Start your own group blog at http://www.blogger.com.
  3. Calling Home
    Okay, I admit it. I called my mom every day until I got adjusted. I think it helped her adjust, too. If you’re not close to mom, you can still put in a call to your brother/aunt/grandma/best friend when you’re feeling down. Even texting, pix messaging, IMing, or a quick email can make a difference.

Hopefully these ideas help. (And if they don’t, don’t worry! I have more ideas that you’ll see later.) Just remember, though, that while it can be good to stay in touch with home, it’s important to get to know new people, too. (I posted some tips about how to meet new people a couple days ago.) If you’re having a hard time, stick with it—it gets easier!

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2 comments September 20th, 2007


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