I remember being really homesick that first semester of freshman year at Monmouth College. I missed my parents, my sister, and my high school friends. I felt awkward in the cafeteria and didn’t know where to sit at lunch since I’d sat with the same people at same lunch table for the last four years of high school. I missed my step-mom’s cooking, and I wanted to watch “That 70’s Show” with my dad again. It got easier to deal with as time passed, but it really helped me to have reminders that I still had people at home who love and support me and that I had a strong group of friends at college.
1. Display pictures of your friends and family in your room. Having photos of your friends and family either in frames or on a ribbon board or cork board can help you to feel less overwhelmed in a new place, and it will make your dorm seem more like your home. I took my favorite pictures from graduation with me to college to put in a ribbon board by my bed. Seeing myself with my friends and family at such a big point in my life made me feel more comfortable in a new environment. Whenever I felt alone, I would look at those pictures and recall what it was like to become friends with them in high school, and I knew that I could do the same thing in college.
2. Stay in touch with your friends and family by phone and online. My high school friends and I keep in contact mostly through Facebook. We Facebook chat or post on each others’ walls. It’s a great way to keep up with friends even when they are far away from where you are. You could even make a video message for your friends back home and then post it to Facebook for them to watch. Also, texting or calling your friends and family can help you to keep up to date with what they are doing. My mom and I are very close, so we call each other once a week for an update on how we’re both doing. It helps to know that she’s just a phone call away if I need any advice or just want to tell her about what has been going on in my life.
3. Build a strong group of friends at college. I made the majority of my college friends in my freshman year of college. Most of my friends were from my floor in Liedman Hall or from my ILA class, but I also had friends in Cleland and Grier. I met them in halls, classes, the cafeteria, or in clubs. They are all great people who make me laugh and support me no matter what. They helped me to calm down when I was freaking out over a paper or a speech, and it was great to have someone to hang out with on weekends. Don’t be afraid to talk to new people and make friends! The close-knit community in a small college is one of the best parts of Monmouth College!
4. Stay on campus for the weekend. So many freshmen go home every weekend and miss out on all that the campus has to offer on weekends. The weekend is when I get to relax, study, and hang out with friends. Also, there are weekend events that are fun to attend, like the ASAP movies in Dahl Chapel. If you go home every weekend, you are not really experiencing college as much as you could be.
5. Talk to the college counselor if you are feeling really depressed or stressed about homesickness. Going to a counselor for help sometimes gets a bad rap, but everyone needs someone to talk to sometimes. Cindy Beadles is the college counselor, and she’s a great listener. If you ever have a problem or are feeling overly stressed, talking to her can help you get a new perspective on a problem and feel better about your situation. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
If you come to college and feel out of place or homesick, talk to people about it. Monmouth College has been my second home and family for three years, and it should be like that for you, too! There are so many people at the college who want to help you to make your experience at Monmouth College the best that it can possibly be. Give yourself time to settle and adjust, and give us a chance to help you if you need it!