Chris Ware/Lexington Herald/MCT
Chris Ware/Lexington Herald/MCT

Don’t let homesickness define your year

Starting college is scary.

Suddenly, you’re living in a new place away from home for the first time with new people and new experiences. It’s overwhelming, and you’re almost guaranteed to be hit by homesickness at least once in your first semester, if not more.

No worries, though. Homesickness is a totally natural phenomenon that affects everyone, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Next time you’re heartsick for home, remember that everyone around you has felt the same way at one point or another.

Find friends who share common interests.

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You’re not going to get very far in college without making real connections, and handling homesickness is near impossible without at least one or two really solid friends to talk to.

At first, it might seem totally daunting to think about reaching out to others and stepping outside of your comfort zone, but once you do, conquering the issue of homesickness becomes a lot easier, says sophomore Meagan Whritner.

“I think if you can find people who you can identify with and who make you feel that sense of belonging that you’re looking for, the homesickness fades and Wake Forest becomes your home,” Whritner said.

Get involved early on.

This is easily one of the best ways to make good friends with whom you share interests and values. Campus ministries are great for meeting others who have the same spiritual beliefs as you, while The Old Gold & Black is always looking for new writers interested in a variety of topics. There are so many things to do at Wake Forest, and there’s always something for everyone. Senior Evan Potts believes this wholeheartedly.

“I’d say the best way to help that go away quickly is to immerse yourself in activities that you love and more importantly involve yourself in communities that you really identify with, and  don›t be scared to try new things,” Potts said.

“It took me a little while to find this, and I found that the more I waited and thus isolated myself, the worse homesickness got. In time though, I found the rowing team and once I was fully involved in that, the friends and activities completely got rid of homesickness.” 

Getting involved is an important distraction that will help keep you sane throughout your time at Wake Forest, so be sure to visit the student involvement fair that happens at the beginning of each semester.

Don’t be afraid to call home.

Just because you’ve left home and gone off to college doesn’t mean you can’t call to say hi to your family and your dog whenever you’re feeling a little down. It’s totally ok to text Mom when you’re having a rough day or send Dad a Facebook message if you need some dad jokes. However, try not to abuse this outlet. Live in the present to make meaningful connections with those around you.

Seek help.

Wake Forest has a really great counseling center that caters to individual needs.  College can be a culture shock, but the counseling center is a wonderful resource for dealing with that shock.

These are just a few tips to help you as you begin your big adventure at Wake Forest, and they come from people who have been there, done that and gotten the hang of college. It’s normal to feel homesick, but don’t let it take over your life and ruin your freshman year.

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