BY ALLISON GUY
With new teachers, new friends and a new lifestyle, trying to fight through the first month of college for a freshman can be exciting and challenging. Some students might be nervous or felt nervous during their first month whether it would be making friends or feeling homesick. Thankfully, there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
The first day, week, or even month of classes brings with it a lot of change for students everywhere. But to say that the first day of college brings a lot of change would be an understatement.
For many freshmen entering college, the experience is daunting. Many of them are living away from home for the first time in their lives. In addition, they are not living with family, and though they may know their roommate before moving in, their residence hall will likely be filled with strangers.
The level of independence is new as well. As a freshman, the student’s family is not there to tell them when to wake up in the morning, when to clean their room, or when their curfew is. As a college students, we get to decide when to go to sleep, when to study, and when (or even if) we go to class.
In their new environment, many freshmen feel homesick. In a study conducted by researchers at Skyfactor and Ball State University in which over 120,000 first-year college students were surveyed (2014-2015), twenty seven percent said that they missed their family back home “extremely,” while fifty-four percent said they missed their family “moderately” and only 18 percent said they missed their family “not at all” (p. 3).
In addition to being away from their families, many college students are also separated from their friends from home. Although we live in a technology-driven world where we can easily contact others through phone calls, text messages, email, and social media sites, these forms of instant communication are not the same as face-to-face communication. This is also evidenced by Skyfactor and Ball State University’s survey (2014-2015), in which thirty-four percent–about a third–of students reported “extremely” missing their old friends who didn’t attend the same college as them (p. 3).
There are some possible solutions to these feelings. Getting involved in clubs and organizations can help. When anyone joins a club, that person might meet people with whom they share common interests, and these common interests often lead to new friendships.
Also, amid all the instabilities of adapting to college life, attending club meetings regularly can offer a sense of stability to new college students, and these meetings are something they can look forward to every week.
Although the transition to college can be tough, it does get better through perseverance and effort. If a student is feeling anxious or homesick or having trouble adjusting, they not alone. They should consider getting involved in a campus club or organization or talking to their Resident Assistant for advice on this topic. Because once a student has that sense of belonging and support, Salisbury University really will become their home.