Make college feel more like home with these five tips

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Jeffrey Hsu

Students step onto a MTD bus at the Illinois terminal on Oct. 20, 2019.

By Carolina Garibay

College can seem incredibly overwhelming at first. Entering a campus that is so large, unique and new, all while being in the middle of a pandemic, can seem scary at first. One struggle international students may face is homesickness and having to jump into a new routine while being so far away from family. Luckily, homesickness has remedies, and below are some of the best ways to bring some of home to Illinois. 

Bring the scents of home to college

One effective way to feel more connected to home is by bringing scents from home with you to college. Most dorms don’t allow candles, so if you’re staying in a dorm, try seeing if your favorite candle comes as an air freshener. If you’re unable to find the exact scent, you can also try to find a scent similar to the one you like. If you have a favorite perfume you wear at home, bringing that to school can also help bring a sense of home to college. 

Find a place on campus to make your new home

Another way to bring home to campus is by finding a particularly comforting or relaxing spot on campus that you can frequently return to. Maybe a place on campus reminds you of a spot from home or just brings you comfort. You can even schedule phone calls or FaceTime calls with your family and have them at this spot to remind you of your family. This will help you become more familiar with the campus and encourage you to explore some of the University’s best places.

Bring your daily routine to college as best you can 

Something that can make the college transition so tricky is the new routine you have to build as a college student in a completely new environment. Sometimes being in a new place with people you’ve never met before can throw you off your routine. Incorporating your normal daily routine from home into your college routine can help maintain some of the normalcy from home and can make the transition more comfortable, especially if you have certain activities you do in the morning or at night.  

Bring little things from home with you to college to feel connected to home 

This may seem obvious, but we can underestimate how big of an impact the little things in life can have. If you have little trinkets or decorations in your home or your room, bring some of those or purchase items that resemble your belongings from home if you can’t bring them with you. You may not think much of these items as you pass them by at home, but when you’re in college and are still getting used to the new environment, those little things will help remind you of home.

Participate in the welcome activities (safely, of course)

Skipping out on these activities and staying in your dorm is a simple thing to do, but these activities can be enjoyable, and they’re a great way to meet new people. Because of the COVID-19 situation, welcome activities and opportunities to meet new people may be limited, so really try to take advantage of any welcome activities the school or your dorms offer that you can participate in safely and with social distancing. You never know; you could meet your future best friend at one of these events.

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