Handling HomesicknessBy Elizabeth Boock on January 17, 2020
You've waited all four years of high school to go to college. You've spent the past several weeks shopping for dorm decor, snacks and all the things that you know you'll need. You've had all of your lasts with your high school friends. You're ready to go to college—ready for whatever comes next.
But then it's move-in day, and you're saying goodbye to your parents. You didn't think this would be too hard, but when the moment actually comes, you realize something: it really won't be the same. You won't be coming home at the end of the day; you'll be going back to your dorm. Instead of your parents being around, it'll be hundreds of other people your age.
While homesickness is a reality for many college students, it's not the end of the world. There are many ways to avoid homesickness and make the most out of your experience.
At Cornerstone University, as soon as you're all moved into your new dorm and have sent your parents off, you'll begin Terra Firma, the university's orientation program. Terra Firma lasts for five days. During that time you will be with a group of eight to 12 other freshmen, led by upperclassmen. This gives you a built-in group to go through orientation week with. Throughout the first-year class (CU Foundations), you will be with the same group.
Terra Firma helps a lot of people avoid homesickness that first week. If you choose to embrace your group and all of the traditions (there are a bunch of really fun ones!), it makes the transition so much easier. Your Terra Firma leaders are also a fantastic resource for support. All of them have been where you are and are there to help in any way you need.
There are always so many things going on for freshmen to be a part of, especially in the residence halls. Most guys live in Quincer Hall and most girls live in Pickitt Hall. Each section of the dorm has a Resident Assistant—or RA for short. They are students that have been hired to enforce and communicate the rules, plan and coordinate events and most importantly, to be there for you. Every year, many students interview to be RAs because they desire to pour into the community, and more specifically their residents (that's you!).
RAs at Cornerstone genuinely care about their residents and try their best to create vibrant community in the dorms. From late-night conversations to section events like movie nights, Steak 'n Shake runs, ping pong tournaments and more, you will never have a lack of things to do.
What's more, the relationships that you build in the dorms will make it seem so much homier. While you may not be coming home to your family, it will begin to feel like you have a family at Cornerstone as you get to do life with some amazing people.
On top of having so many things to do in your dorm, you will have events to go to on campus. Our student government is called CUSO, and they are responsible for planning events like Late Night Breakfast, which is just what it sounds like—a breakfast held late the first night of finals week. They also plan our dances, such as Thriftmas when everyone wears ugly Christmas sweaters, and a formal dance in the spring called the Soiree.
CUSO is also responsible for student organizations like Enactus, the board gamers club, 737 (open mic night) and so many more.
There are always games to go to. A lot of the basketball games have a theme for the student section, like Hawaiian night, flannel out or white out. Several of the teams have Night of Nets games, where they raise money for bednets to prevent malaria by selling shirts at the game.
If you are struggling throughout the semester, there is support for you at The Well. The Well is a counseling service that Cornerstone offers for little to no cost. I have used their services in my time at Cornerstone, and I am so glad I did. I know that I needed it. It's completely confidential like any other counselor, and they are willing to work with your schedule.
This is a great resource to make the transition from high school to college a smooth one.
Make it Your Own!
My first year, I stayed so busy and was involved in so much. Some people thrive in a fast-paced environment while others need their space and time to adjust. It's your experience, so you can make it whatever you want! My advice would be to stay busy and be involved to make the most of it, especially if you want to avoid homesickness. Also, know your limits and take time to care for yourself. Use resources like The Well, talk to your RA and make friends!
Going from high school to college and on top of that going from living with your family to living on campus is a big change, but Cornerstone is a place where you can thrive. With so many things to keep you busy and so many people around you who really care, Cornerstone will become your home away from home.