New Transitions & Feeling Homesick

For many new college students the transition into university life can present many challenges beyond academics. Going from being so close to their families and friends that they have known for so long, to being in a new place with new people and new experience may feel like a lot to take in. It is common for new students to feel homesick or lonely during the first year of college, but this does not always mean that you have made the wrong college choice. This just means that you are adjusting to life on campus. It can take time to find hobbies and clubs and make good friendships.  

As difficult as it may be, do your best not to turn inward during times of loneliness. These emotions may be foreign to you, but it is important that you allow yourself to acknowledge these feelings. It is helpful to be present in the moment and making a point of not being on your phone. Attending dorm events and introducing yourself to new people in the elevator can be small things that help to make new friends. The start of college can also feel overwhelming, with lots of pressure to put yourself out there and join many new clubs. You don’t have to join a bunch of clubs to make new friends, but it might be comforting to join something on campus that reminds you of home. For example, if you played volleyball in high school, you could join the volleyball club here on campus. Everyone makes friends and settles into college at their own pace, so do your best not rush yourself or compare your journey to others.  

If you are struggling to get to know your roommate, or just want to strengthen the bond that has already begun, it could be a great idea to suggest “roommate dates” from time to time. These could just simply be getting lunch at the Pilot House together or making a day trip to St. John’s. This would be a great way to be able to get to know your roommate outside of the room and find similar interests.   

Another tip for settling into college is trying to find friends that have similar study habits as you. FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real thing that everyone feels at one time or another but having friends that have similar study habits to you can help minimize the times that you have to miss out on social events. This will also encourage you to study and stay on top of your own school work. Try talking to the person that you sit next to in class and suggest that you study or do homework together.  

As you go through college, have new experiences, and continuously meet new people, it is important to keep an open mind. Closing yourself off to people and experiences can prevent you from finding new hobbies or meeting new people that could be positive influences in your life. Throughout the course of college, dynamics will change as people do. It is normal for friendships to evolve and for people to grow apart. That does not necessarily mean that anything is wrong, it just means that you and those around you are growing. This growth allows you to better understand the types of friends that you need and foster healthier relationships. It can be helpful to be honest when you are asked “How are you?” We have the tendency to always respond with “good,” despite what we are actually feeling. Responding to this simple question with honesty can help to find people that are going through the same struggles are you and can relate, fostering a new friendship or helping to grow an old one.  

At the Health and Counseling Center, we also want to encourage you to never forget about the resources that you have available to you. It can be helpful to go to your RA or any other upper classman that you may know and ask about their experiences with adjusting to college, how the coped with missing home and making friends, and what helped them to feel settled. You will most likely find that people felt the same way that you are now and have had similar experiences. Their advice may help you find new things on campus that you can get involved in. You also have the staff here at the Health and Counseling Center that are equipped to help you deal with any emotions or feelings that you may be experiencing.  

Most importantly, be patient with yourself and give yourself the time that you need to settle in and adjust. Everyone goes through life at their own pace, so if you feel that those around you are settling into college and doing so much more than you are, just know that your time will come. As you become more comfortable here at the university, you will make lasting friendships and great memories.   

Stay Well, Pilots!