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OTHER ITA SITES:
Being Homesick As A Freshmen
Many freshmen have sudden and fierce longing to turn back the clock. Believe us, we know how you feel, but this is an impossible dream. It can't be done. Accept where you are now and move on from there.
Some of the most pathetic people on any campus are those college freshmen whose thoughts, wishes, and (endless) conversations are all focused on how great high school was. Those big moments of glory (both of them—just kidding, there were three), when they just ruled the place.
You may already have met someone who fits this description. Don't you just want to tell him or her to get over it? Sure you do. And that's probably similar to what your new friends may secretly be wishing to tell you.
This is not to say that your freshman year will be one easy, fun-filled, and personally enriching ride. It probably won't be, because few things are and because freshman year is difficult for almost everybody. Everybody runs into some trouble. Sadly, some freshmen don't make it; they fall through the cracks; they crash and burn. At some colleges, the dropout rate for freshmen is 25 percent or higher.
(This doesn't mean that all of these students are out of college forever. Some enroll in other schools rather quickly—a college nearer home, maybe, or a junior college instead of an overwhelming university—others may do something else for months or even years before trying college again.)
While we're on the subject: If what you're experiencing is going beyond the usual "I miss my home and friends and family" and is leaning more toward "I hate this place, I've made a huge mistake, I wish I'd never come here" (or worse, "I wish I'd gotten into one of my first three choices instead of winding up here at this crummy place"), don't despair. This situation won't last forever; it can't.
One of several things will happen. It might be that you'll settle in, make some friends, enjoy your classes and professors, and actually learn to like the place, if not love it. You may even think back fondly on your freshman year one day. Or maybe a snapshot of the future will pop into your head, and it's a picture of you in a sweatshirt with some other school's name on it. Maybe a transfer to another school is your destiny.
The point here is that if you're not going to your dream school, several options are open to you:
• You can stay where you are and sulk. It's certainly been done; thinking about what might have been is a time-honored tradition. (It's also a huge waste of time, but that's up to you.)
• You can make the best out of your situation. We hate to admit it, but that self-righteous gym teacher with the big gut who always made you gag by saying, "You'll get out of this what you put into it" was right. It's trite, but it's true.
• You can do well during your first year or two here and then transfer someplace else. This also has been done, often with great success.
If, however, you're feeling unusually depressed and just can't "snap out of it" after a week or two, talk to somebody about it—a counselor, your RA, a professor, or the student health service. There is help available; all you have to do is ask for it.
Now, back to homesickness. If you're living away from home for the first time in your life and if your home situation is any good at all, it would be unusual—in fact, it would be downright strange and insulting to your family—if you didn't feel minor or even major homesickness. This is natural. Don't worry about it. You are not an oddball. Be glad you come from a home that's good enough to miss. Know that, like most things, this will get better over time as you adjust to your new surroundings.
How long your homesickness and/or nostalgia lasts depends on you and how determined you are to plunge into your new life at college. One good way to do this—to put down new roots and make new memories—is to pretend that you're going to be on campus for the rest of your life. Forget that you'll be leaving college in a few years. For now, this is your home. So learn about it. Adopt the campus and community as your own. You've made the physical move to college, now make the intellectual and emotional move as well.
This doesn't mean you won't miss your old friends or that you should cut them out of your life. Au contraire! From now on, some of the best times you'll ever have will be on visits home, when you see your friends again, catch up with them, and talk for hours about the new lives you're beginning to make for yourselves. Your friends are growing and changing, too—you hope!—and it will be fascinating for you to watch and see how they turn out.
But in the meantime, you've got your own new world to adjust to. Don't let it pass you by!
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Travel Part B