Article by Megan Simpson (Chapman University) — So you’re leaving home, working your way towards a Masters in Public Health. You’re taking your first steps into adulthood. You’re moving into a building littered with kids your age hell-bent on making Friday night chaos, but hey, baby steps.
Chances are, you’re psyched to get away from rules and curfews and eating what your parents feed you. But there may come a time this fall when you pause for a moment–whether you’re walking to class, doing laundry, or getting in bed–and think to yourself, “I really miss home.”
So, incoming freshmen, I have created a few tips on how to combat this horrible feeling that could potentially get in the way of enjoying your red-cup glory in September. Here’s the list:
1. Talk about it. Sorry, guys. You’re going to hate this one. But it could really help. If you’re missing your mom a little, your roommates or friends might be, too. You all could be having the time of your lives and still feel a little weird about not checking in with your parents at night. It doesn’t have to be a cry-fest if you don’t want it to be, but seriously, bring it up. Maybe getting some of your homesickness out there will help you to get over it faster. Trust me, you will get over it eventually. College is awesome.
2. Call home. This is kind of a no-brainer, but the key is to do this in moderation. If you’re constantly on the phone with them, you’re not helping the separation. But, calling them a few times a week just to update them will slowly make the separation easier. It’s really important that you remember to call them. Parents are parents, and they will always want to know how their child is doing. If you don’t call much, they’ll probably get mad. If your parents get mad, you’ll have crappy holiday breaks. If you have crappy holiday breaks, you’re never going to want to call home. If you give a mouse a cookie…
3. Keep momentos. I’m not saying you should build a shrine to your family, (honestly, your roommate(s) would probably be a little freaked out) but duct-taping that one funny picture the bus driver took of all of you in Hawaii to the wall can serve as a reminder of those awesome people you’re related to. Pack a few objects that mean something to you and your family and set them by your bed. If nothing else, they can serve as great conversation starters with your roommate(s) and new dorms friends.
4. Keep your family involved. Does your school have a “parents program?” How about a “grandparents program?” Many schools have online “clubs” that your relatives can join that keep them updated on happenings at the college, send weekly/monthly newsletters, and more. Plus, if you decide to join Greek life, sororities (and many fraternities, too) are known for having family get-togethers like lunches or trips. For those families who live too far away to travel to these functions, many Greek chapters have Facebook pages and websites where they put up photos and videos from some of their events. Get your family to come for parent’s weekend, convince them to take a vacation to where your university is. If they’re as involved (okay, almost as involved) in your school as you are, the distance will seem to shrink.
As I said, you will eventually get over homesickness. But remember to ensure your family that no matter how much fun you’re having, you still miss them. Parents love that.
But let’s face it, you really do miss them.
Article by Megan Simpson
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