Resources available for first-year students, how to combat homesickness

September 12, 2017

Rachel Librach

rlibrach@uccs.edu

     Students who are spending this year away from home for the first time may feel homesick for the life they knew in their hometown.

    Whether they flew halfway across the nation or drove just an hour down the road, students can feel the effects of homesickness in different ways and stages. But students can combat these feelings by getting involved on campus and building support networks.

    Even though her family lives an hour away from campus, Achaya Gandy, a freshman psychology major, said the separation has been difficult for her since this is her first time away from home.

    “My family and I are all really close. I have one older brother and two younger brothers that I try to text every couple of days, or so,” said Gandy. “Living in the dorms isn’t that bad since my roommates are pretty cool, and I’m trying to keep myself busy so I don’t think about it too much.”

    Krystal Schiffelbein, coordinator of Student Clubs and Organizations and Leadership Programming, said that students can combat these feelings of homesickness by building relationships.

    “The key is building a support network for yourself and being able to have peers either that share your interest, similar experiences, who you can gravitate towards in class, being able to push yourself a little out of your comfort zone,” said Schiffelbein.

    Freshman visual and performing arts major Braiden Neff traveled all the way from Pittsburg, Pennsylvania to go to college at UCCS. Neff wanted to get more out of his life than what his hometown could offer, but he misses those close to him that he had to leave behind.

    “When I left, I had to say good-bye to my close friends and family, and my girlfriend I’ve known for two years,” said Neff. “Watching all these people thriving and striving for a better life is inspiring to me. I don’t plan on going back home.”

    Neff has learned some valuable lessons in his time away from home as well.

    “You must remember why you are here and what you set out to do. But at the same time, don’t forget your roots or where you come from, don’t lose your identity, and always stay humble,” said Neff.     

    Upperclassmen can relate to what new students are feeling. Junior English major Lauren McDaniel had a similar experience when she moved to Colorado from Mississippi.

    “You definitely feel those days when you just want to pack up your bags and go home. But it’s important to remember that this is a phase, and you can get through,” said McDaniel.

    Being active and socializing with new friends and family can help with the negative feelings, according to McDaniel.

    “The worst thing you can do is stay in your dorm all day, that just prolongs those homesick feelings. College is supposed to be this independent stage of your life, but at the end of the day, you still need to call mom and ask her how to do the laundry,” she said.

    Schiffelbein believes it’s important to keep in mind that students don’t necessarily have to feel like they need to recreate the connections they had back at home. Instead, they should be open to new experiences and growing themselves in this new environment.

    Schiffelbein reminds students that the UCCS campus has so many different resources to offer new students, and there are many events organized to foster interaction and connections between peers and the community.

    “Last year we went from around 174 to ending the year with 196 clubs, and so far, this year we have had 11 new clubs on campus,” said Schiffelbein.

    For more information on student resources, visit the Office of First Year Experience in Main Hall 324 or email fye@uccs.edu.

    For more information on clubs and organizations, visit Mountain Lion Connect at orgsync.com/login/university-of-colorado-colorado-springs or the Student Life and Leadership Office in UC 102.

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