Going off to college is an exciting, yet stressful time. Leaving the carefree days of high school and the comforts of home can be intimidating. Perhaps you were once the big man on campus. The big fish in a small pond. Soon you will find yourself being the little fish in a big pond.
No longer will your parents handle issues that come up, you’ll have to take care of them on your own. Hanging out with your friends is not an option because they are attending other schools. You’ll soon find yourself making some major life adjustments after you move away from home.
Tips to help you cope
There will be times when waves of nostalgia and loneliness will sweep over you once the reality hits that you are away from all that is familiar to you. Realize that this is going to happen and be prepared to deal with it. To help you through this process, here are four tips to follow that will make the transition go smoother:
1. Attend on-campus social functions.
Often, schools and student organizations sponsor "mixers" or "meet-and-greets" as a way of welcoming new students and helping them meet new people. Missing your friends and family contributes to homesickness. While you can never replace those who are close to you, it’s important to expand your social circle. Who knows? You may meet your future spouse or business partner at one of these social gathering on campus.
2. Find employment or volunteer your services.
Look for part-time work on campus or near campus. This is a good way to pick up extra money. If you do not feel the need to work, volunteer at a non-profit organization that serves the community. Juggling classes with part-time work or community service will help fill the empty slots in your daily schedule. This is also another way to meet new people and broaden your social circle.
3. Move into pedestrian-friendly housing
Finding “pedestrian-friendly districts," means you don’t have to worry about finding transportation because you can walk to your destinations. Surrounding the apartments are coffee shops, book stores, restaurants, entertainment venues, and grocery stores. Since the apartment residents are primarily students, you’ll probably have other students as your roommates. Having others with whom you can relate will help you in adjusting to being away from home.
4. Maintain your health.
Developing a daily regimen of eating healthy foods and exercising on campus or at a local recreational center helps to alleviate stress and keep off the pounds. Maintaining your physical well-being leads to improvements in your emotional and mental health as well. Keeping a detailed daily journal of your progress will aid you greatly in achieving your health and fitness goals.
Keep moving forward
The way to handle a major life change is to keep moving forward and not long for the past. Keeping yourself occupied with positive activities will keep your mind off of your loneliness. Don’t turn to drugs or alcohol for comfort. Meet new people and forge new relationships instead, this shows your willingness to grow.
Don’t be too hard on yourself if it’s taking you a while to adjust to college life. Just give yourself some time. Before you know it, you’ll be back home for a holiday visit.