Lessons From My First Semester 1,500 Miles From Home
Start writing a post

Wait so where are you from? Idaho… is that like by Iowa? These are just a few of the questions I commonly get asked as a student at the University of Alabama. As far as I know, I am one of two people from Idaho that attend here, and I actually know the other guy. It was definitely a last-minute decision to come here and essentially displace myself from everything I knew. However, I've learned some valuable lessons.

1. Homesickness WILL Hit

I always stubbornly insisted I was ready to leave Boise, as I had lived there for 18 years. Oh boy… was I wrong! The first month or so was fresh, new, and interesting, so it didn't hit as hard. Once October hit, I wanted to see my family, boyfriend, and friends more than anything. I found myself missing my car, my favorite coffee shop, and the mountains. My situation is mildly unique, in that I did not go home ONCE the whole semester. I have never been more excited to go back home to Boise for Christmas in my life.

2. Communication Is Key

When I first got here, I started getting annoyed with the amount my mom was texting me because I felt excited and independent. It wasn't before long that I realized I wanted to talk with her as much as I could. I text her when my coffee was great, lunch was good, I stubbed my toe, I got a good grade, or I start feeling homesick. When you're so far from home, you HAVE to put in an effort to keep the ties you have with your friends or significant other. The ones that loved you before you left want to keep in touch and support you through the adjustment.

3. You Are Your Own Advocate

Your parents are not there to take care of you. Your significant other and friends are not there to watch out for you. They can't just drive down for a few hours and come help you with a problem. YOU are responsible for your own safety. Whether it is academic issues, going to parties, spending time with new people, etc., it is completely on you to make sure you are safe. Try not to learn this one the hard way.

4. You Probably Won't Find Your Best Friend

This is especially true if you were not able to do formal sorority recruitment, like me. On a massive campus such as Alabama, it is extremely difficult to find a person just like your best friend from back home. You'll certainly make acquaintances and friends to hang out with, but the majority of your most personal support will probably come from those at home. Getting involved with a church ministry, major based group or special interest group will be your best bet at finding people to click with.

5. You'll Wish You'd Been More Grateful For Your Car

Unless you're willing to make a week-long cross-country drive, you likely won't have your car on campus. Until I didn't have it, I never realized how truly dependent I was on that thing. Going to the grocery store, out to eat, or running errands can become a real chore when you have to coordinate it with other people. I am also the person that would turn the music up and drive around aimlessly for stress release, and now I often feel trapped on campus 24/7. I wish I'd been more grateful for the freedom my car provided to me.

6. In The End, You'll Be Grateful For It

It might sound like the whole first semester was a depressing sh*tshow. However, there are things I'm grateful for. I've gotten to be submerged in southern culture in the most explicit way. I've become more in tune with my priorities and the kind of people I want to surround myself with. I've had amazing experiences at Crimson Tide football games, late night Waffle House runs, and peaceful Starbucks study sessions. Overall, I don't think I would trade this semester for anything.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

Ready or not, here come the holidays, friends, and if you're as obsessed with the spirit of the season as I am, you are much more ready than not. Thanks to Hallmark Channel's Monopoly game making it possible to celebrate all year long, you can be ready now, too!

Keep Reading... Show less
Stephanie Tango

The pandemic has been in our world for more than half of 2020 and people are still acting stupid. If anything, they're getting stupider. They think that the virus is gone. It's not. Stop going to frat parties. Stop trying to go places without a mask. I wish things were normal, too. They're not.

Keep Reading... Show less
Kai Parlett

In the summer of 2017, 20 type 1 diabetics completed a 10-week 4,000+ mile bike ride from New York to California. They biked against the advice of doctors, family, and friends. Many were skeptical that people with diabetes could complete such a physically challenging trip without putting themselves in danger due to their disease.

Keep Reading... Show less

That's right, you heard that correctly: Demi Lovato and Max Ehrich called off their engagement after the couple originally announced their engagement in July after beginning to date in March.

Keep Reading... Show less

Demi Lovato's Called-Off Engagement Reminds Us Of The Importance Of Taking Our Time In Relationships

While this may be another hardship she sadly has to endure, I know she will find a way to inspire and help others through it.


I am heartbroken.

Keep Reading... Show less

We all love a good ol' sappy Christmas movie and this year, the Hallmark Channel is finally giving us what we want: diversity.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Seasonal Depression Is Real And It Deserves Our Attention

Check in on your friends throughout the winter season, it can be brutal.


As we transition seasons and enter the last few months of the year, some are feeling grand about this natural shift. But that doesn't mean everyone is thrilled that the weather is cooling down — it's important to extend your knowledge to the phenomenon that is seasonal depression.

The lack of sunlight during the later seasons of the year, beginning with autumn, triggers a state of depression for about 15% of the population. This results in the lack of serotonin provided by the sun, causing it to be hard for some to do a lot of the things that would normally be deemed simple tasks to do during the earlier times in the year like getting out of bed, showering, going to work/school, etc. A major difference is an intense need for sleep similar to a hibernation effect.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

September Is Suicide Awareness Month, But Mental H​ealth Is An Everyday Discussion

Mental illnesses deserve our attention 365 days a year.


September is Suicide Awareness Month, providing an opportunity to raise awareness, further educate yourself, and remember the reality that mental illnesses present. Yet it's critical to understand that suicide awareness is not an annual Instagram hashtag to use and forget. Actively advocating for mental health resources, progress in education, and a broken stigma is an everyday ask — an activity that we can each participate in.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments