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It’s not unusual for new students to miss home-family, friends, teachers, and even pets. It’s natural to long for face-to-face time with people who know you well and the comforts of your usual routine. You might call this homesickness or feeling “friend sick.”

According to the American College Health Association’s 2012 National College Health Assessment, more than 25 percent of students felt homesick in the last year, and about the same percentage felt lonely in the last two weeks.

With time, the adjustment to school will feel easier. In the meantime, here are 10 things you can do to feel more at home:

  1. Establish a routine. This will help you get into the swing of things.
  2. Decorate. Fill your room with pictures of places and people that make you smile.
  3. Be creative about making new friends.Talk to people in your classes, in the dining hall, when waiting in line-you’re not the only one looking to connect.
  4. Get involved. Activities (clubs, fitness classes, volunteering) will not only keep you busy but also introduce you to new people.
  5. Follow your interests. Other students who like Ping-Pong, music, or whatever you’re into will help you feel like there’s a niche for you. Accept invitations or ask people yourself.
  6. Reach out for support. Residential life staff, advisors, clergy, and counselors are all available if you need to talk.
  7. Appreciate alone time. It can be hard to find privacy at school. Times to relax or study quietly are healthy.
  8. Immerse yourself. Find classes and projects that get you excited.
  9. Connect with people back home. Catch up regularly and plan some visits. Your friends and family miss you too!
  10. Reminisce. Tell people what it’s like in your hometown and ask about their experiences.

More Tips from Students

Kate B., a junior at Winona State University in Minnesota, says, “Sometimes all you hear is, ‘Get connected and get involved!’ We can’t forget ‘me time’ alone to relax and reflect.”

Margaret K, a junior at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, notes, “I met some of my best friends while waiting for classes to begin or in line at the cafeteria!”

Larissa B., a student at George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, says, “My RA and school challenged us to not go home for the first two months of the school year. When students went home on weekends, they missed out on social events and meeting new friends. It was harder for them to get established on campus and meet new friends. I thought this was interesting and important to keep in mind.”

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