Approaching month number four in my long distance relationship with home, I've learned a lot about myself, my friends, and my surroundings.
Being in college as a freshman, everything is new. New room, new friends, new experiences, and for a lot of us, new towns sometimes even states. Coming to The University of Alabama all the way from Michigan was the biggest adjustment I have probably ever had to make. I went from having the accessibility of a car, coming home to fresh hot meals made by my mom, seeing my friends all day every day during school to having none of those things.
The first couple months were hard. I was thrown into a huge place with lots of fresh faces... well all fresh faces. I was forced to be independent. But then I realized that everyone is in the same boat as me. It didn't matter if they lived five minutes from home, or in my case eleven and a half hours, everyone was experiencing new beginnings just as much as I was. All I had to do was put myself out there and be the outgoing girl from Michigan I knew I was.
Since that mindset, I have made some of the best friends I could ever ask for, I have learned ramen noodle nights are okay, and that Tuscaloosa is really my home away from home; I belong here. Of course, I miss my family, friends, and my bed, but being so far away makes all of those things that much sweeter when I come home.
With that being said, it is also okay to be sad. Within the first couple weeks, I thought I wanted to transfer, that UA just wasn't for me. My advice: stay strong. Homesickness is a thing and almost everyone goes through it; you're not the only one. Lean on those around you and find things to keep you busy.
As I write this article sitting on the plane on my way home for the very first time, I have realized how fortunate I am to have come to Alabama and the memories I've made thus far with some of my best friends. I wouldn't change those lonely nights when I missed my family or friends because that's how I found the people that truly care and were there for me.
Alabama is my sweet home and I could not be more excited to take on the rest of my time here. So, go the distance; you will become a stronger person because of it.