Homesickness can hit pretty hard during your first year of college. You’re used to living in a familiar setting with your friends and family, then you get dropped into a new place where you don’t know as many people and you have to live a little more independently.

I definitely felt homesick my first semester and used that as a justification to go home to Pittsburgh the first few weekends. It’s easy to make that choice when you only live two hours down the road.  That’s a big mistake. Instead of finding things to do and meeting new people, students often take the easy way out and put off adjusting to college life.

It works out much better in the long run if you just stay on campus and make an effort to experience different activities. Your parents love seeing you and probably don’t mind you coming home, but they also want to see you succeed and feel comfortable in your new surroundings. So, I would recommend only going home for breaks or special occasions. You can call your family anytime if you start to miss home. I usually call home every weekend just to check in, which gives everyone involved a little piece of mind.

If you take the time to explore your current setting instead of what’s going on at home, you’ll find a way to enjoy it. I have parents who read everything I write – Hi, Mom and Dad! – so I won’t say that I don’t miss home at all or that I want to stay on campus all the time. I will say that Gannon and Erie have become more like home than I ever imagined. Once you feel like you’re somewhere you belong, the homesickness never really hits as hard again.