Don’t come to College with the mentality that it’s the same thing as High School. Almost everyone that comes to the University is here because they want an education, they will take school seriously. Also, from my experience, at first I came in thinking that the workload would be the same from high school. I took AP classes in high school, so I thought I would be fine doing what I did in high school. I didn’t realize that I needed to work a bit harder to get the grades that I wanted.
Get the idea out of your head that college is just like high school. It's NOT! That's the first mistake I made when I came to EIU, I thought that since high school was a breeze so would college be. Within the first three weeks it was noticeable that I was slacking off, not doing my readings, not studying and not paying attention in class. When I got back my first exam, it was obvious that my study habits I had in high school were not going to work in college. After that I studied more, used the library, and got in touch with the resources on campus to help me be a successful student.
It’s not okay to let your homesickness keep you from enjoying your first year at college. Right now, you may feel lonely, or uncomfortable, or out of place—that’s perfectly one-hundred percent okay. You may feel like you’ll never make friends, or that the friends you make won’t compare to the ones you have at home. Maybe you miss your parents. Maybe you miss your dog. Or your bed. I’m here to tell you that missing the place and the people you built your life around is completely normal. There is nothing shameful about being homesick. That being said, I implore you to work through the first month, the first semester, or the first year that homesickness likes to linger in. It may feel good to go home every weekend or spend all your time facebooking your old friends, but that can distract you from enjoying this breathtaking, wonderful experience called college.
With every event you go to, every person you meet, every class you engage in, you will find yourself thinking less about home and more about here. Push yourself to make new connections. Join an organization. Make a home here, and you will always feel comfortable.
No matter what anyone else may tell you, it’s not uncool to miss your parents, pets, or other family members. It’s natural, especially being away from home and being on your own for the first time. Try and go home throughout the semester every now and again, and if you live too far away to do so easily, call often and let your parents know how you’re doing. Ask and see if they’d mail you something from home to make your dorm a little more like home such as pictures, a favorite pillow, or a knick-knack. It may seem silly, but little touches like those are wonderful for helping you to get more comfortable with the idea of being on your own. Everyone’s been homesick at some point!
Your RA should be number one on the “People You Should Get to Know List.” Their job is to assist you in any way they can. When I was a freshman, I talked with my RA often and we became friends. Anytime I needed anything, she was there to help me out. RAs are trained to be able to direct you to almost every resource on campus, so when your computer breaks or you lose your Panthercard, they’ll know exactly where to direct you. Plus, they can recommend fun things to do on campus and RSOs to join. So, utilize your RA!