If you’re far from home attending college in a new city or state, you may be experiencing a burst of all kinds of emotions from the bitter sweet to the intense amazement. You’ve prepped and taken your SAT, got excepted to college and now you’re off to the races.
But as Milton Friedman says, “There’s no such thing as a free lunch”. With all this independence comes the remains of your hometown and a good knock at the door from reality to remind you that you’re not in Kansas anymore.
If you’ve chosen to go far away from home for college, here’s how to cope.
Though you may be ultimately excited and mesmerized by the new culture and terrain, you still may have significant feelings of homesickness. This is especially true for out of state students. Work on brushing the feelings of homesickness aside and look to others (locally) to build a relationship with.
You’ll most definitely be out of your comfort zone at times but be open to new ways of thinking and definitely don’t cast judgment to those that are different but instead embrace the diversity.
Be grateful for your experience and gather as many positive moments you possibly can. According to a study on cognition and behavior, expressing gratitude creates more satisfaction in relationships. Working to build long lasting relationships with gratitude will create memories that’ll be cherished for a lifetime, no matter where you were living at the time.
Get involved in as many programs and extracurricular activities possible. Don’t overwhelm yourself by overflowing your plate but get involved in programs that you’re passionate about. These experiences will enhance your developmental skills and you’ll take these traits with you forever.
Volunteering is an excellent way to keep you on a productive path. Take the time to look up volunteer programs in the area or ask your university office which volunteer programs they’re affiliated with.
Thank goodness for Skype and FaceTime, because today students can see their friends and family just by having wifi. Be sure to keep in touch as much as possible with positive news about the experiences you’re enjoying. Your long distant relationships can thrive off the good experiences.
Though the internet can’t bake you Mom’s cookies, you’ll be able to see her face and get the therapy you need.
You’ve made a big decision to head to college far away, regardless of what you’re feeling, stay focused on succeeding in your curriculum. After all, having the opportunity to go to college and obtain a degree is a treasure to the map of your life — make it count for the good.
Whether you’re willing to stick it out on the campus or you feel you want to transfer, make sure you’re shooting for the best grades possible. Marinate in the wealth of information your professors are feeding you and build your experience around that. Acknowledge your feelings and if you’re leaning towards heading back home, then make a solid plan on doing so. Don’t just give up and go home. Home will always be there when you graduate or when your solid plan to head home follows through.
If you’re one of the 13.7% of students who go out of state for college, know that you’re not alone. Remember to remind yourself that the experience you’re obtaining is one that will enrich your character and expand your horizons.