GOT THE FRESHMAN BLUES?

You couldn’t wait to get to college and now you are here! You’ve survived the first few weeks; finding your classes, settling in with a roommate in a teeny-tiny room, and learning that D2L (Desire 2 Learn) is the essence of your universe.  RU is quickly becoming your home away from home! Well, maybe not quite. As a matter of fact, you might be finding out that you still need those people that raised you for advice, money, or a shoulder to cry on. Some students may talk to the parental units every day, once a week, or hourly (okay, hopefully not!). For some parents they are lucky to even get the one-worded response text for everything they ask you about. “How was your first day of class!” they message excitedly. And you say, “Good.” End of story. Then, this amazing and startling thing happens. You start to realize that the newness of college life has worn off and you sure would like to sleep just one night in your own bed. Would it be totally lame if you missed the folks?

Don’t feel bad if you fall into this category of homebodies pining for the smell of Mom’s home-cooking. Many freshmen feel that a quick jaunt home on a weekend can be refreshing and cure any homesickness you are feeling. Hopping one of the intra- or interstate transit bus systems, carpooling with friends, or driving your own car are the many ways that students make a beeline for the comforts of home. Or maybe your roommate’s mom makes killer blueberry muffins and you are definitely going to their house to be fed for the weekend. Sorry, Mom. See you on RU Family Weekend in September!

I spoke with a few students, in their first semesters on RU’s campus, about their plans to head home this weekend.

What are your plans for the weekend and how will you be traveling? Are there other people in your dorm spaces that are also traveling?

Christine plans to drive with friends and catch up with more friends in another part of Virginia. She lives in the Schoolhouse community on campus. “Most of my friends are traveling this weekend,” she says. “We are a very close-knit group, and everyone loves spending free time together, like eating dinner or doing crafts.”

Liam will be heading out with a family member by car and can’t wait to surprise some friends back home and see his family. “There are a few other students that live near me that are also heading out for the weekend,” he says.

Homesickness is totally natural though and can happen to even the most stoic first-year students. The feelings of missing people and things related to home may not even be symptoms of being homesick but just a side effect of all the big transitions you have made lately. All of these feelings typically diminish within a short amount of time. Be patient and keep communication open back home but try to limit how much you make contact as you slowly build your independence. For students who might not be able to leave campus for a visit, there are things you can do to cope until you are homebound again.

The first thing you do to feel less stressed about missing your tribe back home (and so simple you won’t believe it) is to STAY BUSY!  Radford University and the town of Radford offers many activities that you and your campus confined comrades can do. Check out the Student Recreation Center for outings that you can participate in or the Bonnie for the movies and events they are holding. The website www.nextthreedays.com has lots of local events off-campus as well such as great bands and festivals. This is also a great time to practice some self-care like a spa and movie night or just hanging out with friends and playing games.

Whatever your weekend brings, keep in mind that the semester passes quickly and along with it the many great memories you are making in college. It’s a great time to establish friendships, make professional contacts, and experience the campus environment that comes just one time in your life. Get out and get busy!

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