Dear Barb – Leaving Home

Dear Barb:

This is my first year of university and I’m finding it difficult to adjust. I just left home and moved into residence with two roommates that are complete strangers. I really miss my family and friends back home. I feel like such a loser. No one else seems to feel the way I do. Some days I just feel like giving up on school and moving back home, but I know that isn’t the right thing to do. Do you have any ideas to help me get over this homesick feeling?

Ryan in Toronto

Thanks for writing Ryan. I’m sure you are not the only one who feels this way. At this time of year, college and university campuses are overflowing with first year students who are feeling very much like you do. It is a confusing time as part of you probably feels so excited to be on your own, yet another part of you wants to run back home where it’s familiar.

Don’t rush things. It takes time to adapt to new situations. If you’ve always lived at home, living in a university residence is a big adjustment. In addition, you have two new roommates that you don’t know at all. It’s going to take time for this to feel like home. You need to get to know your roommates and organize some sort of a routine with them as far as household chores. Also discuss what your expectations are in regard to having people over, partying, etc.

During the first few months away from home you might find it helpful to call home often. Talking to your family and friends will help you make the transition to university life, while still feeling connected to your family. Also, before your school schedule gets overloaded, try to go home as often as possible. This may not be a possibility if you are a long distance from home. Another way to keep in touch is through email if you have a computer or access to one. Eventually you will acquire a new group of friends at university and you may not feel the need to correspond with friends from home as often. Although, I’m sure you will want to keep up these relationships.

Try to integrate yourself into your new life by joining a group or club that reflects your interests. Most communities have hiking clubs. This is a good way to meet people and also get some exercise. As well, check out what clubs or groups are available through your college or university. Most have coffee clubs, sports clubs, and English clubs — just to name a few. If you are of a specific ethnic background, find out how you can get together with other students who share your background. You will be able to discuss common interests and perhaps form long-term friendships. However, as the year progresses you may find yourself quite busy with schoolwork and all those household chores that mom used to do.

Take it slow Ryan. Don’t consider leaving school. This is just a bump in the road and you will get over it. Open up to your fellow students about how you are feeling. This may prompt them to share their feelings with you. I’m sure you will discover what you are feeling is very normal.

Hope this helps, Ryan.