I am a freshman in college at a really good LAC. I thought it was my dream school (I applied ED) and I have only been here for 6 weeks or so but I really hate it. I like my classes and my professors for the most part but I am so horribly homesick that I don’t know what to do. I miss my family so much even though they are only a couple hours away. I feel like I have no friends and I can’t help but worry that I’ve made the wrong choice and I am so sad all the time. I cry almost every day and I try so hard to talk to people but I feel like people only want to drink (which is fine but not really my scene). It seems like everyone here already has a friend group and all my hs friends are having a great time at their schools. I’ve lost all confidence in my ability to talk to other people. I haven’t found anyone like me and I don’t know where I went wrong. Do I transfer? I was so sure that this school would be the perfect fit, everyone I met while touring and looking into the school was so awesome, but now that I’m here I feel like I don’t belong at all. What do I do? I keep hoping that it will get better but so far nothing has changed. I am so lonely.
I am sorry you are having a hard time adjusting. Going off to college is a big adjustment, for everyone, even if it doesn’t seem like it.
What you wrote could have been written by my D last year. She called home every day begging me to come get her. I said no, tried to encourage her, and reminded her why she chose the school in the first place. When she was home for the holidays, we had a few talks about transferring and she decided to give it another semester. She called less often in the spring and it was like someone flipped a switch. She went back, made some friends, and is really liking it (not loving it), but she has made the commitment to stay.
Just give yourself time to adjust. It is hard but it will get easier. You can do this!
When you feel lonely for home, surround yourself with the things you like from home: decorations and pictures on the walls, buy a rug like the one at home or even ask your parents to ship it to you (I know some freshmen who hid teddybears, I won’t give names :p); find food “like” what you loved to eat at home and invite your roommate& your freshman corridor to join you. Bond over the food in the cafeteria, missing home or not, missing HS friends or not, stress from midterms, etc.
Go to the “Language Table” for whatever foreign language you’re taking (or took in HS). While there, ask if there’s a foreign language film series on campus and who wants to have a dinner together then go to the film?
If there’s a foreign assistant, you can also ask whether they’d be interested in going to the Arboretum/Aquarium/small on-campus museum with you and whoever else is at the table (you might to go scout it out ahead of time) - whatever is “American” and nearby. Could even be a diner or a IHOP!
Join clubs where you all DO something together - community service group works wonders.
Go talk to the counseling services on-campus, express your loneliness, etc. Don’t stay alone in your room feeling sad and lonely. Moving away to college is a hard transition, it’s even harder for you guys from the “covid generation”. Be kind to yourself and talk about it.
Don’t transfer. Tomorrow say hello to 3 new people. It gets better.
It probably is too early to know whether or not this school is a match for you. Some rural, cold weather LACs have a strong drinking culture so that may always be a significant part of the social scene. The trick is for you to define your interests and to pursue them. However, this can be an issue at certain small schools especially if in an isolated location.
If you are comfortable sharing more information, how many students attend this school and is it located in a rural, isolated area ?
What type of activities are of interest to you ? Do you have a friend or friends with whom you go to meals ?
Unfortunately, some schools are cliquey and have a strong drinking culture. Give it more time & give it your best effort and if things do not change, then it may not be a healthy environment for you.
Hang in there. You need to find your people. Even on campuses where there’s lots of drinking - and that’s hardly only LACS and cold-weather schools - there are other things going on. If you find these - and they are often advertised - you’re likely to be on your way.
Check the campus calendar. Some of the groups that have these events include ones in substance free dorms, international student organizations, outdoors clubs, faith-based organizations/houses, film clubs, exercise classes, etc. Often a job on campus or volunteering will bring you in contact with the same people on a regular basis and can lay the foundation for friendship. You can also form study groups for some of your classes.
You had years to establish high school friendships so give yourself a break on where you are on college friendships- it takes time.
There is definitely winter here and it isn’t a super small town but its not a large city by any means so it is probably considered rural. The number of students is 2000ish . I have a couple people that I know that I occasionally go to meals with. I am on a sports team so I am hoping once that is in season I will meet more people. I like being outdoors/art/reading/baking/movies anything really
Also thank you for all the responses and ideas everyone I really appreciate it
Based on your response, it seems as though you may just be getting off to a slow start. Taking time to adjust to a new environment is common. Once your sport season begins, you will gain a new group of close friends with whom you will interact on a daily basis.
If you avoid alcohol, exercise daily, and study, then your life will become a healthy routine that should raise your level of comfort.
No need to worry about what others are doing. Ignore feelings of “missing out”. Follow your own interests and eventually you will have plenty of like-minded friends.
My daughter is a freshman and it was tough for her in the beginning and it was hard for me as her mom to know she felt alone and was not happy. I think time is your friend here because eventually she started to just organically meet people and now she’s doing great. You haven’t been there that long yet so I feel confident with time you will start to make friendships. The fact you are on a team sport is really going to help! I would definitely learn about the clubs on campus and try a few and see if you click with some of the other students. You are so not alone in how you are feeling. It’s gonna get better!!!
Your team will help! And if it’s any comfort, my kid and his teammates were very “clean” during their season and he said that was true of most athletes he knew.
Maybe you can find out if any of your teammates have an off season fitness routine and if you can participate with them on that.
OP: Another poster shared this letter from 2016 on a thread titled : Middlebury vs. Grinnell.
I thought that this might be of interest to you regarding “drinking culture” at some schools.