Going off to college can be tough. You’re at the bottom of the heap once again, are confronted with new unfamiliar faces, and may be miles away from your parents (not to mention their money, home cooking and those pretty princess sheets from your youth!). While going to school away from home is an amazing way for young adults to grow and really claim independence, it can be a bit overwhelming at times. Here are some tips to kick the homesick habit and make the most out of your four years of university life!
Tip #1: Don’t go home on the weekends
Limit your visits home to special occasions or long weekends. If you have to, leave your car at home and make it hard for yourself to leave campus, or sign up for student groups or activities that require your time on weekends. Do you want to miss awesome tailgate party? No! Do you want to miss hungover Sunday lunches bonding with your friends over last night’s ragefest? No! Do you want to tell that cute hockey player you can’t make a Saturday night date because you’re going to be 100 miles away? Absolutely not. You can miss out on so much by leaving campus for even a few days. Although it may be hard at first, think of your college as your primary home for the next four years, and your real home as a vacation spot better left for the holidays — or when you run out of clean clothes.
Tip #2: Get out of your dorm room
Now that we’ve established you should be on campus as much as possible, you shouldn’t spend the majority of that time stuck in your dorm! (Chances are, it’s small, messy, and maybe smells a little funky anyway). There’s always so much action going on around college campus, so don’t be afraid to seek it out; plays, a capella concerts, charity dances, sports games, guest lectures. You need to invest yourself in your school and take advantage of everything it offers to really make it feel like a home-away-from-home. Even if you’re not into going to an event, go to the gym, study in the library, or eat in the dining hall instead of in your own little space. You need to develop a connection to the people and places that make up your school, and the best way to do that is to get out there and mingle with the masses!
Tip #3: Take advantage of today’s technology
Between Facebook, email, text messaging, Twitter, and Skype, we are now closer together than ever before ––even when we’re far apart! You can reach your friends from home in a moment with a text or an instant message to share a funny story or a random comment about your delicious lunch (or that cute guy you saw walking across the quad). You can plan a weekly Skype session with your parents so you can fill them in on your latest test scores and other PG-13 activities around campus. Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of living and dying for each call or text, though. If you casually keep in contact, write funny emails, and organize occasional ichat appointments, you’ll feel much closer to the people that matter most to you, but won’t get caught up in the all the hometown drama you were hoping to escape to begin with.
–– By Kylie Thompson, Harvard University