Most high schoolers can’t wait to graduate and enjoy the independence that comes with going off to college, but don’t be surprised if you find that a few weeks into your course, you start to miss home!
A study by the UCLA Higher Education Institute found that 49% of first years feel lonely, isolated, and homesick, and this can stop them from enjoying college life to the full. Tackle these feelings proactively, making just a few changes that will have a major positive effect on your life as a student.
Why Do Students Stress Out In Their First Year?
One of the biggest challenges as a freshman, is building a support network similar to the one you could always count on back home. Other triggers include having difficulty getting on with a roommate, being worried about meeting new people, and feeling intimidated by professors.
Around 11.4% of students said they felt unsafe on campus. Some students stress out about college loans and having to juggle their studies alongside a part-time job.
Change Begins With A Step
If you love psychology, then you might have heard of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This is considered a ‘gold standard’ treatment for stress, anxiety, and depression. Its aim is to enlighten you on the intricate connection between how you think, feel, and behave.
Therapists will often guide their patients to make one small change in their behavior. Patients keep a journal and take note of how this change has in turn affected how they think and feel about a situation or person. You can try out the idea behind CBT yourself.
For instance, if you’re shy but you would like to make new friends, you can sign up for a student club. Your aim for the week can be to attend just one social meeting. You may be surprised at the connections you make, which can be particularly strong if you feel passionate about the things that other club members do.
Keeping Creature Comforts At Hand
You can feel more connected to your loved ones at home by filling your living space or daily life with the things you loved from back home. If you always walked the dog, for instance, why not volunteer at a nearby shelter, taking dogs for outdoor escapades?
If you always enjoyed gourmet coffee at home, why not order different flavors and blends to recreate coffee afternoons with your dorm mates? If you loved taking a jog in the morning, do so at college too. Sticking to activities and things that made your life feel special back home will help you pack a bit of joie de vivre into your college experience too.
other valuable tips:
Fighting Stress Through Methods That Work
Stress isn’t something that can just be ‘thought away’. You need to tackle it through scientifically proven methods like yoga, meditation and Tai Chi – all of which have been shown to significantly lower levels of stress hormone, cortisol.
One study by researchers at the University of British Columbia found that therapy dogs are an increasingly popular offering at many American colleges. These dogs have been found to improve student wellness by reducing stress and feelings of negativity.
Everyone has their own idea of liberating, enjoyable, stress-relieving activities so if you’re homesick or feeling lonely, treat yourself to something you enjoy. On a day to day basis, try to embrace a mindful activity such as yoga, meditation or controlled breathing to help control stress when exams and other challenging occasions are approaching.
Finally, work on a daily basis to build friendships, attending social functions and, most importantly, gathering in spots where those with shared interests do.
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