So… Is this normal?
Going away to college is terrifying. Not to mention, going to college out of state without knowing anyone beforehand. I am from a small town in Washington, born and raised, so I haven't experienced moving in general. Many people from my graduating class are going off to in-state colleges such as Washington State University, Western Washington University, and the University of Washington. This makes sense for them because paying out of state tuition is definitely not ideal. However, I took advantage of Western Undergraduate Exchange, so moving out of state wasn't a huge difference from paying in-state tuition. This was a huge benefit! The downside? Moving to an entirely new place, in an entirely new climate, with very little family around.
From the start, I knew I wouldn't know anybody when I moved to Arizona, aside from my roommates who I had connected with via social media. I believe this greatly impacted my transition. Getting to know my roommates alleviated so much pressure, and by the time move-in day finally came, I was excited to live with them! Having roommates that you click with causes a lot of anxious feelings to disappear. The first night wasn't weird. I followed my typical routine and ended up passing out fairly early. The weird part was when I woke up in a completely unfamiliar place, panicked for a minute, then realized it was my new dorm. So far that has been the most anxiety I have experienced throughout the whole moving situation.
For those who are also feeling like total odd-balls for not experiencing the tough transition most freshmen do, take it as a positive. For us, it can mean many things.
We may be good at transitioning.
Some people take significant changes a lot more gracefully than others. Whether you are good at transitioning or not, you shouldn't feel bad about yourselves either way. For those having a smoother transition, you may have already been mentally preparing for weeks, months, or even years for this significant change. This may cause your mind to trick itself, thus creating a seamless transition into college life. Unfortunately, this isn't always the case.
It may hit us later than normal.
You may have thought you tricked your mind, and that you are well adjusted, and then it hits. You start to feel that looming reminder of home, and it can hurt, but it can also bring you to recollecting memories from your experiences back home. These stories and memories you have are important, and you may find that sharing a funny or impactful story with your roommates or new friends helps ease the stress from the transition and create stronger bonds overall.
Maybe it already has hit, on a much smaller scale.
We often picture being homesick as an explosion of emotions and crawling away from the rest of society to hide in our dorms all day. However, this feeling can take many forms. Feeling homesick for one person could mean crying, but for another person, it could mean a simple thought about missing home. This is all a matter of severity, and how everyone takes things differently.
It may not even hit.
This option is one of the tougher ones to grasp. Depending on how busy you are in day to day life, it may not even be much of a difference to have a major transition like this. Similar to the possibility of being good at transitioning, you may have already tricked your mind far enough in advance that it had already processed the necessary information. A major downside to this is it can cause people to feel inadequate, when in reality what they are experiencing is as normal as someone who is experiencing the feelings immediately.
In the end, you shouldn't feel like the odd man out for not experiencing the homesick feeling many people say you will experience. Everyone reacts differently to specific scenarios and life experiences, and as long as you are adjusting well, that is what matters. For those who aren't adjusting well to college life, or moving in general, I strongly encourage you to reach out to your campus resources. They are here to ensure you are successful, happy, and healthy during your time at University.