I come from a Latin household so naturally, I’m quite attached to my parents. Typically kids don’t leave home until marriage. So you can imagine how hard it was on everyone when I left home for my first semester of college. No matter what culture you come from, leaving home for the first time is difficult. Homesickness hits you like a truck and you wonder how to survive without your parents physically waiting on you hand and foot. On the bright side, you’re not alone. Overcoming homesickness has been done before, and you can do it, too.
1. Don’t go back home for at least a month
So you miss your dog. You can talk to your parents all you want, but how will you communicate with the one creature that just gets you? You just have to go home before Sparky forgets who you even are, right? Don’t give into your homesickness right away. Spend the first month getting used to this new space, and eventually it will feel just like a home.
2. Create a routine
Don’t worry, we don’t mean a workout routine. Instead think more along the lines of a schedule–something to look forward to and distract you from homesick thoughts. Try to wake up around the same time every day, fit in a daily workout, class time, homework time and social time.
3. Limit phone calls
If your mom is like any other mom, she will call at least three times a day and demand to know where you are at all times. Talk to your parents once a day and text them regularly to let them know that you’re still breathing, but don’t let it go overboard. You will never make friends if the only person on your recent call list is your mother.
4. Make your own decision on important matters
This is the real world—it’s bound to happen eventually. You have to make choices that will best benefit you. It’s fine to seek advice from your parents, but put your big boy/girl pants on and make your own decisions.
5. Don’t be afraid to try new things
Ever wanted to do something that didn’t receive parent approval? Welcome to the wonderful world of being a legal adult. Maybe back away from crazy drugs or nipple piercings (unless that is something you’ve had in mind for a while. In that case, you do you). Go on a spontaneous date or stay out dancing until 2 a.m. As long as you’re responsible, there’s no harm.
6. Join a club/sport/organization
Laugh at the quidditch team all you want, but rumor has it that they’re the closest bunch on campus (plus, we know you’re intrigued as to how they run with a broom stick). You’re bound to make a group of friends by joining a club, and you’ll be surprised how the club turns into a little family. Turn to them instead of mommy and daddy for support and comfort when you need it.
7. Keep busy
Chances are, you aren’t quite ready to sleep away 40 percent of the day. Keep up that crazed high school mentality. Focus on school, be active in a club, go out with your friends, hit the gym—anything. Keeping yourself busy gives you less time to miss home and more time to enjoy college.
8. Learn to take after your parents
The first time you turn you favorite white shirt pink, you will cry. Prevent this inevitable mistake early and start learning the basics before you leave. Mom isn’t there to do your laundry and dad isn’t going to cook his delicious burgers for dinner any more. You have to learn how to do things on your own. Nothing fancy, just enough to get by; you’ll get better with time.
9. Decorate your room with a piece of home
You don’t have to go Martha Stewart on your room, but dress it up with things that remind you of home. Familiarity can bring you comfort when you need it. A frame with a picture of your family or the same candles your parents use back home can go a long way.
10. Find things to do in your new location
You’re in a new city; don’t spend your nights binge watching Netflix. Check out the local bars, see what people like to do for fun in your new area–explore the unknown. This place will be your home for the next four years, so get to know every inch of it.