There’s No Place Like Home: Adjusting to Life in College

I will never forget the feeling of standing on the steps of McGlothlin Hall my freshman year on move-in day and watching my parents drive away, my mom’s car getting smaller and smaller as it disappeared out of the gates to start the 500 mile trek home. I was standing there with tears in my eyes trying to process the fact the event I had been thinking about for the last year was finally happening. I had a hard time grasping the fact that everything I knew and loved was suddenly SO far away. Yes, I would see my family for parents weekend and yes, I could facetime my friends whenever I wanted to, but at first, it can be a scary feeling. That being said, within a few weeks Furman soon became my second home and I even started referring to it as “going home” instead of “going back to Furman” when leaving Orlando to return to Greenville. Although the transition to college has challenging aspects, I’m here to share some tips and tricks that got me through the rollercoaster that is homesickness: 

  1. Understand that feeling homesick is both totally okay and SO normal 

I cannot stress this enough. I kept trying to tell myself that I should just “get over it” but I needed time to process the huge change that was happening in my life– it’s hard to move 500 or 5 miles from home to start a new chapter in your life. And although your family and friends will always support you, you’re most definitely more independent and calling a lot of your own shots. I can’t speak for all moms, but I know my mom definitely wouldn’t be chill with me going to Cookout at 1 am for a milkshake and quesadilla at home. That being said, take time to understand you’re not alone and that so many students are going through the same thing you are. 

2. Bring something that reminds you of home and make your room feel homey 

Your dorm room is your little piece of campus that you can make entirely your own. This is your opportunity to take a rectangle room made of cinderblock and turn it into your cozy, warm, happy, safe place to escape the chaos of college. I decked my room out with all my favorite pics from home, brought the teddy bear that I’ve slept with for my whole 20 years of life, a huge cozy blanket, and throughout the years I pinned letters and cards my family and friends wrote me on my bulletin board. I also had a wall plug-in from Bath and Bodyworks that was the same scent I had in my room at home– gotta keep some things the same!! Knowing your room is comfy and homey will most definitely help with homesickness- I promise. 

3. Remember your home will ALWAYS be waiting for you

If I could tell freshman Alex anything, it would be this. Your hometown isn’t going anywhere! The first time you go home you’ll remember this, and you’ll drive down the same roads you did your whole life, and eat at your favorite local restaurants and realize that everything is still the same as it was before you left. The only thing that would change about leaving for college is you will now have more than one place to call home; Greenville and your hometown. Your fam will be waiting for you with open arms, ready to give you a big welcome home squeeze- the best kind of hugs in my opinion! 

4. Chat with someone on campus from the same area- the same city, state, or even region!

Furman has students representing 48 states and over 22 countries- our school is made up of so many awesome individuals from all over the world. Because there’s so many places represented, there’s a pretty solid chance you’ll be able to find someone from your state or your region that you can talk to and bond with. I know for me, the sweetest girl from my hometown and I would get lunch often and talk about our high school experiences and our mutual friends we didn’t even realize we shared. This made me feel like I had a little piece of home with me at Furman, which made me much less homesick.  

5. Get out of your room and get involved! 

I think the biggest advice I have is to get out on campus and get involved with clubs and organizations. By doing this, you’re familiarizing yourself more with the campus while meeting tons of new people that will turn into friends or even just a friendly wave in the DH. I know the comfort of your own bed is so appealing, trust me- I’ve been there, but sometimes it helps to push yourself outside your comfort zone. The first organization I joined was FUtones (acapella group!) and they quickly turned into a family for me at Furman.  That being said, Furman has so many opportunities to get involved. From reading flyers posted around campus to attending the activities fair, you’ll surely find something that works for you. 

Just like anything, you have to give this transition time and expect growing pains– it’s a pretty significant change.  I hope these tips and tricks help if you’re experiencing / worried about experiencing homesickness in college. Remember that Furman is a community full of individuals who care so deeply about their fellow ‘dins, and you won’t be alone as you adjust to life in beautiful GVL. 

I’m always here to chat too! If you have any questions or concerns about Furman please reach out to me! My insta is @alexandra_rick ! And as always, Roll Dins!

Have a happy week! 

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