I'm here to be honest and transparent about my time at Ole Miss so far. College is a huge, scary thing for some people. It'll be the best/worst four (or more) years of your life. I've only been here about two full months, and I have already formulated a long list of things I wish I knew or should have done, and I'll be sharing a few of those in this article.
Disclaimer: These statements are made from personal experiences and do not account for every single person.
1. Homesickness is okay and absolutely normal
Having lived at a residential high school for two years, I thought I was prepared to be away from home, three hours to be exact. However, I immediately discovered I was absolutely wrong. I spent my first week crying almost every night and telling my mom I didn't want to be here. Sometimes I still feel that sense of longing to return home and never come back. Everyone around me seems so happy and satisfied with being at Ole Miss, even people from the other side of the country. I had to learn that everyone is different, and homesickness is absolutely okay and normal. Don't be too prideful to discuss it with your parents and close friends; you can even talk to your advisers about it. College campuses offer so many resources for emotional support. It's your choice to utilize them.
2. Be productive with your free time
My high school began classes at 8 a.m. and didn't finish until 5 p.m. Even after the school day was over, you still had club meetings, practices, and rehearsals. Sleep was the only amount of free time you had. "College isn't hard. Girl, you're going to have so much free time to get assignments done." This was the saying you heard from all the past graduates of MSA... It was all a scam. At least for me, it was. All that freedom means nothing if you aren't managing it efficiently. If you're like me and you spend over four hours binging Netflix shows every day, you're definitely not putting your free time to good use. Productivity is a very important concept in college and life. Make schedules, create reminders, or set alarms. We literally have our phones stuck to our faces 75% of the day. Why not use them in a productive way? Creating a schedule that works may come easily to some people and the complete opposite for others. Reach out to your professors, upperclassmen friends, or research ways to maximize your time.
3. The dark hole
No matter how many throw pillows and Pinterest quotes we hang on our dorm walls to make it feel like home, sometimes it still feels like you're trapped inside a small rectangular room. For me, this aspect tied with feeling homesick. Most of us want to isolate ourselves when we're feeling down. However, in the end, it just makes things worse. Find a group, go outside and acknowledge your surroundings, or take a run/walk. Ole Miss is a beautiful campus that deserves to be admired.
4. The Tinder myth
You know those friends who say join Tinder; it'll be fun. Yeah, don't listen to them. In my case, Tinder is not the perfect platform to look for friends or nice guys/girls to hang out with. The stigma (hookup app) is true. Of course, this doesn't apply to every single person. I know some people who have found great friends or partners from the app. Swiping left or right can somewhat become addictive. You know it's a problem when you run out of likes and accidentally spend $83 for more. Don't be like me. Instead of joining Tinder or Bumble or any other social network, try going out and meeting new people face to face. Get to know someone and learn their interests and hobbies. Join a study group or student organization; these are great places to meet new people.
5. Call your family
This is one of the most crucial points for me. I've always behaved as an independent person. Even though I was battling homesickness, I still didn't call my mom everyday. Sometimes days would go by, and she'd finally call and give me a piece of her mind. Our loved ones care about us. Your family worries about your well-being. The least we can do is give them a call or even a quick text. Sometimes, I still fail at consistently contacting my mother and other family members. However, I try my best to give her updates on what's going on in my life. You will need a support group in college. Family is one of the best groups of people you can have cheering you on and uplifting you on the bad days. They're the ones who stick around.
College can be extremely difficult: emotionally, physically, and academically. We just have to remember our purpose and the end goal. It's okay to have fun, and it's okay to be homesick or on Tinder. Every experience is different. It's up to us how we manage our time, emotions, and health. Just remember the people back home who are cheering for you, the resources available to you on campus, and why you're here.