A blog post from SOLES MA in Clinical Mental Health Counseling Ambassador, Betty Desta
Moving more than 9100 miles away from home for the first time can be a pretty big adjustment. Fully getting used to my life here took several months. Thinking back, I wish I could go back and tell myself all the things I know now…perhaps find a way to write myself a letter and mail it to my past self. It would go something like this…
Call home as often as you can. Although it may really be fun being away from home and getting to live life as an adult (finally!!!) it can get a bit lonely sometimes. Remember how much your sister used to annoy you when you were back home? Believe it or not, you now talk almost everyday. She has been the person you call when you happy, sad and bored. Sometimes calculating what time it is back home can be hard, but on the other hand, you may find yourself on the phone at 3 am in the morning, laughing hysterically about old memories and trying not to wake up your roommates.
Find a place that sells food from back home. In your first few months, not having food from back home will make you truly homesick. You will try a few shops and restaurants that will leave you disappointed (and slightly more homesick) but then when you do find a place that makes decent food that is reminiscent of back home, it will all be worth it!
Stay in touch with your old friends. Life gets busy, and it’s hard to stay in touch with old friends when life is taking you in such completely different ways. Yes, friends will go through lots of changes while you’re gone and you will experience major FOMO and it’s okay. Make a point of checking in with your friends and catching up at least once in a while.
Explore all the new opportunities you have available now. You will find that the college experience is completely different here. You will feel awkward around the faculty because back home, a casual and warm relationship with professors is unheard of. There will also be so many new opportunities to get involved in research, clubs and other activities both on and off campus. It may feel overwhelming at first, but just make the first step – it’s always the hardest. Email your professors, join that student org, volunteer or get an internship off campus. These will help your career development immensely.
And most of all, don’t forget to have fun!