Those first-year blues
Homesickness: an inevitable epidemic that strikes first-year students. Even if it is for a week or only a brief moment during a daydream, thoughts of home sneak up on you and sometimes make you wish you were back there. I’ll admit my second day at Colby was a tough one. Classes hadn’t even started yet and I wanted to pack up and head back to my house in Massachusetts, where I knew air conditioning and a private bathroom awaited me. But, things are far better now. Three weeks later, I have fully recovered from my homesickness and love being here at Colby.
That second day was really the only time homesickness hit me hard, though I met many other first-years with worst cases during those first few days. Two factors seem vital in determining how homesick one becomes: the actual distance he/she is from home and how many mementos he/she brought from home to Colby. Surprisingly, those who live closest to Colby seem more homesick than those who traveled from farther distances. Maybe it’s the idea that home is so close and that going there is so easy that makes it harder. I know if I could have hopped in a car and driven home within an hour that second day, I would have.
This physical distance can’t really be helped, but how much of home makes it to Colby can. It is good to bring a few things from home; a couple of pictures or other knick-knacks that hold sentimental value, yet your dorm room shouldn’t be a replica of your room back home. I avoided the urge to pack all the objects I hold dear to me with the idea that I wanted my college experience to bring things to me, to make new memories and have new things covering my desk from those memories. My collection has already started with blue dice (mysteriously placed outside first-year dorm rooms late in the night), my class of 2015 water bottle and some homework that needs doing. It’s not much, but it’s enough to get me excited about what’s to come.
I have never felt this freedom before. I could easily be in the running for the most sheltered child award, growing up with over-protective parents in a town that isn’t dangerous to begin with. I know they did it because they love me, but I get so much more done now because I can plan my own day out. If I need to go somewhere, I can go, no permission or escort needed. I feel like a busy little housewife listing errands. I need to buy a notebook at the bookstore, check my mailbox and then meet up with some friends for lunch at Bobs… You get the idea. I never thought I’d get that much joy out of such mundane activities. It’s fun to feel out this new college lifestyle after 18 years of doing the same thing.
Another strange feeling is to finally be able to create my own identity. Prior to the last three weeks I always had to be associated with a preconceived notion when going anywhere. Now when I introduce myself I’m just Melissa, a person you know nothing about. Not a label I got back in middle school or someone you think you know because we went to kindergarten together; just another new person out of the hundreds it feels like you’ve met in the last few weeks.
Showing my personality to others has not been as difficult as I thought it would be. Everyone here is so kind, it makes you less self-conscious. A feeling that generally makes you happier, perpetuating more kindness since you’re in a good mood. It’s a system that definitely works, and the proof is in the smiles all over campus.
Hopefully all cases of homesickness have subsided by now; if not, the best remedy is to get out there and become a part of Colby. Join a club, try a sport or just hang out with new people. You chose this place to be your new home and you can’t miss home if you’re already there.