Whether it be commuting or going back home on weekends, students who don’t commit themselves to their new life at school are missing out on an amazing opportunity to grow, find their crowd and find their sense of identity.
Being a freshmen at a university might just be one of the most anxious times in any persons life. You’re in a new area, surrounded by unfamiliar faces and a schedule packed of unknown curriculum. It’s enough to make anyone want to rush back to their hometown where nothing is unknown and you can even get a home cooked meal.
This type of anxiety is understandable. A study down by HAP tells us, “Over 30 percent of college students experience low-level homesickness. And about 69 percent of first year college students experience severe homesickness,” it’s totally normal to deal with this inner conflict but homesickness can accelerate to drastic heights.
Homesickness can lead a person to feel high levels of depression and anxiety. It’s similar to the feelings of mourning, as a person has to deal with the grief of losing their old life and making a new one. It can lead a person to feeling emotional, mental and even physical pain. However, it gets worse when a person continues to give in and go home rather than create a new scene where they are.
Students who still keep one foot out the door when attending their first year of college are going to have a harder time adapting to adult responsibilities, such as learning to care for themselves, deal with their finances and overall not have that security net anymore. They aren’t giving themselves a proper chance to let the homesickness heal and adapt by feeding into it constantly. It restricts students from forming a new life by still clinging onto the old role they used to have.
In high school, typically a person is surrounded by the same people for over a decade. Even if they feel out of place or want to experiment with who they are, it’s hard when they’ve had the same set of eyes on them since they were in elementary school. College is the perfect way to break out of that pattern and do some self discovery.
Regardless if someone is commuting or just leaving on weekends to be back in their hometown, they are actually putting themselves under more emotional strain than if they fully committed their time to their new school. It’s exhausting to not have one true home.
“When I went home every weekend, I was limiting myself to having two separate lives that I was putting 50 percent into. It only resulted in feeling 50 percent empty 100 percent of the time. Once I made my life purely at Eastern, I fell in love with college,” says Caleb Burlingame, EMU sophomore.
A person misses out on so much when they don’t stay on campus or give it a proper chance. Late-night hang outs, clubs, the overall living-on-you-own experience; You don’t experience all of these when you don’t fully live on campus.
NBC News also tells us that students who commute or go home too often are more likely to drop-out or not feel as prideful about their school, since they don’t actually give themselves a chance to grow a connection to it.
Moving away and devoting time to being in a new city, or on a new campus, is one of the scariest things a person can do, especially at only 18 years old. But once a person has put themselves out there, I believe that is when they can truly figure out their own identity. It’s an amazing journey to grow and self discover and the ones who continue to go back to their hometown on weekends are depriving themselves of this once in a lifetime opportunity.