There is a lot to be excited about when beginning a new year in college, especially if you are a freshman. No more waking up at 6 a.m., no more six-hour school days five days a week. You get a fresh start, along with the chance to live on your own. Maybe you’re excited to finally get out of your hometown, or you live close enough to home that you can visit as often as you’d like. No matter the case, you are likely to feel varying degrees of homesickness. You are not alone. It might feel like other students are quickly getting used to college while you’re missing your friends, your old bed, and even your mom’s cooking, but trust me, many students are feeling as homesick as you are. I began my freshman year of college just last month, and I remember how sad and alone I felt after saying goodbye to my parents and siblings. Over the next few days, I talked to other students about it and one girl told me she was so homesick she cried for two days.Other students around you are trying to overcome feelings of homesickness, and your family and friends back home are surely missing you as much as you miss them. It can be hard for them too, to go from seeing you every day to living apart. It’s important to keep in mind that if you are constantly expressing that you want to go home, it may make the separation more difficult for the both of you. You don’t want homesickness to keep you from enjoying college and living your new life. Missing home too much or all of the time could impair you from wanting to make new friends, go out and participate in activities, and study for your classes. It’s normal to be homesick, but if you allow thoughts about home to become too frequent or obsessive, it will keep you from building your new social, educational, and extracurricular life.It’s a good idea to work on getting used to your new environment. Explore the campus or the surrounding city - the more familiar you get with where you are now living, the more comfortable you will feel living there. The more comfortable you feel living there, the more it will feel like home, and viola, less homesickness. Set specific dates to go home, if you can. It will keep you from visiting on impulse. When you do visit, bring back items you might have left behind that are of comfort to you, maybe old stuffed animals, photographs, or a favorite book. Anything that you miss and will make your dorm or apartment feel more like home. I know it can be tough. I still feel pangs of homesickness when I hear about my friends back home getting together for dinner, or when my mom sends me pictures of how she’s remodeling the kitchen.In the end however, we have to keep in mind that change is good. In our case, change is great. We are in college now - building new lives, meeting new people, going through new experiences, and making new memories that in time will hold as much warmth and significance as those that came before them.
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