Going into freshman year, most people expect to be sad the first few weeks, as you adjust to a new and uncomfortable surrounding away from all of your friends and family. However, during my first few weeks at Tulane, you would never guess that a lot of my classmates were homesick. A flood of Instagram posts, complete with captions like “get used to this” and the even more in your face “I love my school,” can disguise the very real stress most freshmen endure.
After the first couple of weeks, we are expected to have found “our people” while easily dealing with communal bathrooms, adjusting to #AtTheCommons food, and taking college level classes. But when you actually talk to people going through first semester, you realize just how overwhelmed everyone truly is well after orientation week. From roommate problems, to failing test grades, to not feeling like you have a stable friend group yet, many freshmen continue to struggle months into the school year. Some might even be questioning their choice in schools, as this was not the experience they may have pictured when they committed to college.
Even though Tulane had been my dream school since sophomore year of high school, I started to doubt myself during the first few weeks here. All of my expectations of the non-stop fun things like tailgates, Voodoo, Mardi Gras, and Crawfest felt more and more unrealistic and far away. The hardest part about this rude awakening, though, was that no one ever talks about it. We suffer in silence and feel like there’s something wrong with us since we aren’t “thriving” like everyone else appears to be on their Snapchat stories. Even within my own friend group, we all found ourselves sitting alone in our rooms instead of reaching out to each other when we felt in over our heads; we were scared of judgment. The stigma and sense of failure that’s too often attached to being homesick needs to be addressed continuously throughout the semester so college students don’t feel like they’re alone if they’re not immediately happy and well-adjusted in this completely foreign situation.
The next time you wish you were home eating bagels and pizza with your family, try talking to your friends about your homesickness and see what happens. I guarantee they really miss those same things from home and you can all commiserate together. While it’s not a good idea to have a total pity party, there is something to be said for the bonding that often happens when you and a friend find something to complain about together. Together, we can vent our way through freshman year and eventually really mean it when we post “happiest here!”
Cover Photo: WSJ