Battling Homesickness: The Perspective of a First Semester Freshman

Story by Jordan Mcgee
Photo by Christina Amato

Here’s a scenario.

An eager 18-year-old girl full of ambition is ready to head off to college. Her best friend of two years offers to help her pack her things after a tearful confession of all the things she will miss. In less than 24 hours, this young adult will be on her way to Mount Pleasant to move into Cobb Hall at Central Michigan University.

She arrives in the morning and spends several hours moving in, promptly forgetting everything that happened that day due to a panic attack. By the end of the night, she’s teary-eyed, wondering if going away to college was really the right fit for her.

This freakout of mine didn’t last any longer than a good 48 hours, and I found out that I dealt with moving in well. I’m a Taurus, born April 28, 1998, so I tend to stick to my consistent routine and detest to any type of change. Even though everyone is different, moving into a new university is a big transition. To reach out to my fellow freshman peers, here’s is how to battle homesickness.

Communicate in Your Shared Living Space
I’m an only child. I have my own bedroom, a large bed and unlimited access to the bathroom. I grew up used to never sharing, but I learned generosity by allowing myself to share.

Of course it is a lot to take in, suddenly sharing a living space with new roommates. The first night was hard, but with week of simple communication between roommates it becomes better.

Learn Your Campus
Second day of Leadership Safari, I was told to go to the Student Activity Center, or The “SAC” as we call it. I somehow ended up near Anspach Hall, the complete opposite direction of the SAC. I freaked out and texted my safari leader, distraught in this new campus.

Eventually arriving to my activity a few minutes late, I made it my goal to take daily walks around campus. Now living in the Towers, I realized that it is only solid five minute walk. Once I could make five minute rounds around the SAC, I realized I was finally becoming acclimated to campus.

Don’t Go Home Every Weekend
I’ve witnessed other new freshmen go home the second they had the chance, which is a mistake. As various freshman went home during Labor Day weekend, I stayed. Besides all of the closed facilities, I was determined to make the best of it by taking daily walks on Washington Street. Pretty soon, I was calling CMU my home rather than the house I grew up in.

The point of university is surrounding yourself with a new sense of freedom outside of your comfort zone, not placing it on the back burner, while continuing to crawl back to a shackled version of home.

Personalize Your Dorm
Back home, I always kept my room organized and bed made. It was as if I had the mentality of a 35-year-old mom at the age of nine.

This mentality didn’y stop when I arrived to campus. Not only do I continue to make my bed every morning in order to feel accomplished at the beginning of the day, but I personalized my living space through the means of rad posters and pictures of me and my favorite friends. The feeling of ownership of your dorm through simple decoration helps the transition process become easier.

Become a Better Version of Yourself
In high school, I stayed quiet and limited myself to a few friends. From the time I arrived on CMU’s campus, I became friends with almost everyone I interacted with during my first week. 

Everyone is looking for friends, so staying out of your dorm and socializing as much as possible will allow yourself to distinguish CMU as your new home, which includes lifelong friends.

Make it a priority to thank the staff on campus, especially those working in food service. No one ever knows how someone’s day is going, and a simple “thank you” might just make their day.

These are just a few experiences that helped me become acclimated to campus so quickly. I am not an expert, however, and everyone has different experiences.