Making the most of your college experience

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By: Carly Phillips

After throwing your cap in the air on your high school graduation day, nothing but thoughts of the next chapter of your life run through your head. Finishing high school and becoming a college student seems like the greatest thing that will ever happen and you can’t wait to start this new chapter of your life. As fun and exciting as it sounds, making the transition into a whole new realm and saying goodbye to your hometown isn’t easy.

According to a recent study conducted by NBC News, 70 percent of college freshman feel homesick after their first full week of college. Though this may be normal among these students, many don’t realize there are numerous ways to alleviate feeling homesick while away at college to make the most of your college experience.

1. Join Clubs/Extra Curricular Activities 

If you’re anything like me, I barely had time to breathe when I was in high school. I was constantly running back and forth from every club, sport and activity I was involved in.

When I got to college, I was really nervous about my workload and didn’t want to overwhelm myself with too many things. Surprisingly, by the middle of my first week on campus, I was bored. I had absolutely nothing to do and realized I had much more free time than I thought I would.

I made myself proactive by joining three clubs, an athletic team and a social sorority. By doing so, not only did I feel like I always had something to do, but I also met hundreds of people and became much more acclimated to college life.

By no means do you have to be apart of every single organization on campus, but you have to start somewhere. And the sooner you do, the happier you’ll be.

2. Venture outside your dorm room

As wonderful and comforting your bed may be, being locked up in your dorm room all day can be suffocating.

Instead of studying in your room, try sitting in the library or common area. Sit down in the cafeteria to each lunch or dinner rather than eating in bed. Go to the gym and get your body moving. Being exposed to the wonderful sights and people on your campus can make it feel much more like home than you thought it ever could.

3. Broaden your horizons

College years are meant for experimenting and discovering. Instead of worrying about life back home, focus on the now. Challenge yourself and try things you never thought you could do. And when you find these things, find new people to do them with. College has the power to shape your life in ways you may never have thought possible, but that only happens if you let it.

4. Be social

Everybody needs alone timeI get that. Sometimes life can be stressful and you just need to get away from everyone. But spending a lot of time alone, especially in a place you barely know anything about, can be downright unhealthy.

One of the most important things you have to do during college is talk to people. Yup. That’s it. Just talk to people. Just a simple “hello” can lead to a life-long friendship. The more you talk and socialize, the more comfortable you come with your environment. Remember, everyone is in the same boat and will be looking for friends as well. 

5. Have fun

Though you chose to go to college to get an education (or at least I hope you did), becoming overwhelming focused on your school work can take a toll on your mind and body. It’s okay to let loose every once in a while.

Grab some friends and go shopping. Go see a movie. Find a local coffee shop or go get yourself some donuts. Sleep in if you’re not feeling up to going to your 8 a.m. class. Stay up all night binge watching your favorite Netflix shows. Grab some friends and check out some parties on the weekends and just live your life.

You’re going to remember moments like those rather than how many hours you studied for your psychology midterm, though please pass your psychology midterm.

It’s natural to feel homesick in a new environment, but don’t let it impact your college experience. Your family still loves you and supports you no matter how far away you are. Growing up and becoming independent is one of the many things college students have no choice but to learn to do, so don’t dwell on life at home. Make the most out of your college experience and be proactive. You’ll be thankful you did in the long run.

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