A new semester is finally beginning. This fresh start ushers in many changes, such as new professors, new friends and new experiences. For many students at Rider, this semester also means having a new home and new, conflicting emotions.
During my first semester living on campus, I was unfortunately plagued by homesickness. Of course, I was excited to meet new people, and for unlimited access to Daly’s food. Still, no matter how I tried to conceal it, I struggled with the fact that this was just not home.
If any student feels this way in the coming weeks, understand that it is normal and you are not alone. Dorming is inherently different than living at home, and adjusting can be particularly difficult if this is your first time experiencing real independence. However, take it from me: homesickness fades if fought hard enough.
One of the most difficult emotions to face at any point in life is loneliness, and combining that with homesickness makes it almost impossible to be happy. One of the best things to do when feeling down is to find a friend. When living on campus, there are always people around. Even if someone is shy, getting yourself out of a slump can be as simple as joining a club and meeting someone with similar interests. With a little support, anything can be overcome.
No dorm room will ever be perfectly like our bedrooms. However, to feel comfortable, we must make our dorms like home. Don’t be afraid to get creative and decorate your rooms with pictures or posters. Keep some food on hand so hunger stays at bay. Be friendly with roommates and remember that this is a strange situation for them as well. If we make our rooms as cozy as we can, we are allowing ourselves to be as comfortable as possible. Just remember to follow the guidelines and restrictions.
Lastly, my biggest piece of advice is to stay positive. It’s almost cliché to write that, as so many people repeat that phrase daily. Regardless, optimism was a major factor in fighting my homesickness. I told myself that I’d eventually get comfortable here and I did. If you feel low and want to go home, just remind yourself that a day will come when this will feel like home. A day will come when going through life here on campus will feel almost instinctual. A day will come when our real homes will feel somehow different than how we left them. Look forward to that day and don’t beat yourself up for feeling a little out of place.
Many new students will feel homesick in the coming weeks. However, staying positive, keeping comfortable, and making new friends are great ways to fight that sadness. By the time my first year of college was over, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to go home. Remember to enjoy your first semester of college, because you don’t get to do it again. Most importantly, welcome to Rider and welcome home!
Sophomore journalism major
Printed in the 09/03/14 issue.