Sun. Jan 16th, 2022

After months of applications, researching, planning, shopping and countless good byes, the time has finally come for the class of 2022—the start of college. I, like most first-year students, did all I could to prepare for college, but nothing could prepare me for the feeling in my gut as I realized that I was all alone for the first time.

Most college students will experience homesickness at some point in their college career. According to NBC News, homesickness is defined as “the absence of security and familiarity.” The change in culture can cause a student to begin to feel anxious and stressed, which can increase the severity of pre-existing mental disorders.

Some, like me, experience this feeling immediately at the start of the year. For others, it doesn’t come until well into the semester when the stress of midterms and finals gets the best of them. Either way, it is important to know how to cope with these emotions and how to take care of your grades while also taking care of yourself.

One suggestion given to many students is to become involved on campus. By immersing themselves in the endless activities offered, students can begin to feel like they are a part of something, and in addition can begin to make friends. West Chester especially offers a variety of clubs, sports and residence life activities that can allow students to strengthen their interests or gain new ones.

Another suggestion I have heard from older students is to try to stay on campus for extended periods of time. They suggest that once you go home, coming back is like starting on the first day again—you must readjust, which can be extremely difficult.

Although some students must leave for obligations at home, those who don’t should consider spending their first few weekends exploring campus, attending sessions and discovering new clubs and activities.

Finally, experts suggest balancing time between contacting your old friends and family while still trying to make friends and socialize with new peers. By scheduling calls with your loved ones at home, you can look forward to the contact without missing out on the happenings of campus.

Although the feeling of homesickness can be overwhelming and exhausting, I have learned in my first few days here to remember that it is a part of the transition, and a part of life. Allow yourself to feel sad, but at the same time, remember to put your best effort in beginning to mold your new life here at West Chester. This is just the beginning of one of the most exciting, scary and crucial stages of life. Embrace it.

Erica Belovich a first-year student majoring in communication studies. ✉

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