Coping with homesickness

Caroline is a graduate of the University of Tampa with a B.A. in Communication. After desperately trying to get a job for what felt like too long, she landed her first “big girl” job as a writer for Channel 7 News in Boston. When she’s not trying to avoid being on camera, she can be found playing with her rescue black lab or exploring someplace new. Caroline currently resides in America’s Hometown, Plymouth MA, living right down the street from Plymouth Rock!

When I moved 1400 miles away to attend college, I figured it would be painless. Coming from Massachusetts, I thought I would enjoy the warm air and beaches of Tampa, Florida. It didn’t seem to matter that all of my high school friends were staying in New England; I was brave, I was adventurous.

Well much to my dismay I started having problems as soon as my parents left. It wasn’t until a few weeks in that I started to actually enjoy myself at school. I made a group of friends that pretty much stayed together for the rest of our four years. It did take some work on my part though to get over being homesick; I couldn’t depend on experiences to just come up to me. So if you’re finding yourself in the same boat, try some of these tips:

1) Leave your door open
You’re not the only freshman that doesn’t know many people on campus. Leaving your dormitory door open (during the day, when you’re in there!) is a good way for passersby to glance into your room and visit. Also, hanging posters or other decorations on your wall of things you like are great conversation starters. You never know, maybe someone else is into your favorite movie or band!

2) Venture outside your room
It was easy to sit in my room on Facebook all day talking to people back at home; but I knew that wasn’t going to make me any friends. The beginning of the semester is the best time to try out new clubs because that’s when members are trying to recruit people and before they get too deep into any projects. Just keep your eyes open for banners or signs around campus inviting you to meetings! I made some great friends at clubs I tried out freshman year. I also participated in events I never would have if I weren’t involved. I went swimming with manatees and tubing down a river in two different clubs!

3) Visit the sports teams
College sports games are great places to meet people, because you already share a common interest! (Just make sure you sit next to people wearing your colors) It’s fun to get rowdy with the crowd and cheer on the team. Also, if you head to a game with one, two, or a group of friends, chances are you will all know multiple other people at the game- so that’s one way to make your friendship circle even bigger!

4) Don’t avoid parties on campus
Even if partying isn’t your thing, it doesn’t hurt to check out some of the campus parties. If you get invited to a party, go! The worst that can happen is it’s lame or not your crowd, and then you don’t have too far to get back to your own dorm. Just make sure to be really safe when venturing around campus late at night. My campus was pretty small, but some larger campuses are like their own little town. Always try to have a buddy with you, but if that isn’t possible, most campuses have security that you can call late at night to give you a ride back to your dorm.

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