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How to cope with being away from home

Submitted by Taylor Hoffard on September 9, 2011 – 3:36 pmNo Comment

Going to college and being away from home for the first time can bring up a lot of new feelings, and everyone reacts differently, but there are ways to cope with homesickness and adjust to campus life.

Being away from home for the first time gives one a new independence. Your parents don’t tell you what to eat or when to do your homework; you do it on your own.  Breanna Moses, freshman English major, lives on campus. She said, “I don’t think about home because it makes me wish I was there.”

The “freshman 15″ is a common weight gain problem some first-year students face. It is very easy to give up the fruit and veggies for cake and French fries. For some, eating can be comforting for stress and other negative feelings you may have.

Depression may also surface due to the fact that your old friends from high school are no longer around. Take advantage of this situation and make new friends. Chances are they are going through the same thing and also need support.

Being involved on campus will also make you feel more at home. Being socially active helps to beat the “freshman blues” and more than likely, there is a campus club or sorority/fraternity out there for you. If not, UALR’s Office of Campus Life allows you the opportunity to make your own club, as long as you have at least 15 members.

Another thing that helps is to go home every now and then. This can be a way to mend your heart until you become fully adjusted to living on your own. However, if you abuse the privilege, chances are you will just prolong the adjustment, which is worse in the long run.

Nannette Daniels,freshman pre-med major, said “It is hard. I recently went home for the weekend and did not want to come back. But I have my friends to help me.”

Bring something that reminds you of home such as pictures, pillows, stuffed animals or even plants that you would typically see around your house. Seeing familiar items or faces can make your homesickness better. When you start missing a person or thing about home, you have a piece of it right there beside you.

Roommates can also be great support systems because they are experiencing the same things you are. They miss their family and feel alone at times too. Supporting each other will make adjusting a lot easier and you may even make a lifetime friend.

Boring though it may be, studying may also distract you from feeling homesick because it keeps you busy. Studying is a necessity for college, but it’s also important that you have some fun. After all, that’s what college is all about. Study during the week, and have fun on the weekends or when you have time.

It is very important to realize that home sickness is common, and if you feel that your homesickness has turned into depression, seek immediate attention. UALR has personal counseling services available to everyone. Health Services also offers appointments for depression.

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