Alright freshmen, you’ve made it through your first week. You’ve slept (or overslept) in a tiny twin bed, survived a series of awkward bedtime exchanges with your new roommate and you finally understand the casual references to “Plums.”
For seven days, you have relished in this long-awaited freedom. Unapologetically, I’m sure, because for the first time in your life, you really are free. And for those of us who’ve kissed our first year goodbye, your newfound independence is a happy nostalgia.
But amid all of the crazy distractions, I have a few words of advice: call your mom; not because you want to, but because balance is good. Familiarity is a happy reminder that life as you know it may not be the same, but you still are. And pretty soon, you’re going to miss home.
When I left for college, I was under the impression that I would be happy and carefree at any given moment. I assumed that independence would be an easy transition because it’s college, and everyone loves college. What they don’t tell you is that when the party’s over, and Monday rolls around, it’s a huge adjustment that takes a lot of getting used to.
Now, before you get your lululemon in a bunch, I know that feeling probably hasn’t hit you just yet. You’ve likely been far too captivated with all the perks of this new lifestyle to miss home.
A 2011 survey conducted by University of California-Los Angeles reported that 80 percent of students felt a sense of belonging on campus. That’s probably because you’re all in the same boat, and you’re all really, really excited. Just like I was.
But I also remember experiencing a sheer panic when I overslept not once, but twice in my first week for a Tuesday/Thursday class. I missed a quiz that I couldn’t make up, and no, my mom could not call in to explain my comatose-like sleeping habits. That’s probably where a few other of UCLA’s stats began ringing true for me: 51 percent of students felt overwhelmed by all that they had to do. 36 percent of students had difficulty adjusting to the demands of coursework. 61 percent felt lonely or homesick.
Lonely or homesick? Yes, you heard me, and I think it’s totally normal.
To our collective surprise, you probably won’t love every second of college life. The novelty of college life will wear off, and you’ll have days where being an adult really sucks. Maybe it’ll hit you when you’re staring down at a bowl of microwave macaroni, or when you waltz into the wrong lecture, or when you mix up the deadline on a 10-page research paper that requires AP Style (what does that even mean?!).
When that day comes, call your mom. Until then? Call her anyway. She misses you and before you know it, you’ll feel just the same.
Probably not before Thursday, but you’ll get there.
Carly Samuelson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.