University can be comfortable home away from home

By Riley Schwengel

Contributing Writer

While many students here at the University are from nearby locations in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, a good amount, like myself, are far from home; this brings certain advantages and disadvantages.

I am from Rhode Island and must endure a seven-hour drive every time I wish to go home. I have learned to battle any homesickness that may arise by participating in a variety of activities. When I was deciding which college to attend, I knew I wanted to go somewhere far away as I wanted a change of scenery. Many of my friends went to schools relatively close to where they grew up, but I wanted to explore new places and meet new people from different parts of the country. That being said, I was still concerned about being seven hours away: I thought I would get homesick and have trouble adjusting to my new environment. Surprisingly, I really did not have that much trouble getting used to school. I immersed myself in the many activities the University has to offer and surrounded myself with new friends. Whenever I felt a bit homesick, I had the technological innovations of Facebook and Skype to keep me close to my friends and family back home. With how busy I was at school and the chats online with family, I really did not have time to be homesick.

I believe the key to staving off homesickness is complete immersion in what the school has to offer. I knew I would have a lot of free time between classes, so I joined as many activities as I could: club tennis, pep band, ski team and The Bucknellian.  This allowed me to meet a lot of great friends and compensate for all the activities I left back home. While for the average student this advice may prove invaluable, many do have situations that may make this move to college quite difficult.

One challenge that some students face is dealing with a chronic illness so far from home and leaving the medical care they grew up with. I myself do not have any chronic illnesses, but I have been sick here and can attest that it is not fun to be ill far from home.

Students with chronic illnesses may have a harder time adjusting to their new home because of the medical care they require. I read an article in The New York Times by Lily Altavena, a junior at New York University who has Crohn’s disease. Her advice was to plan ahead; she advised finding a doctor, getting medical information together and telling the school early on to get the best and easiest treatment when the need arises. She also advises to not be afraid to go home if you are really having a bad experience with your illness and school. Luckily for us, the University does have Health Services to assist with any medical emergencies. They provide help with simple maladies, like colds or flus, and have services that allow chronically ill students to receive the guidance and treatment they need. My only complaint with Health Services is that it is a rather long walk. Not to worry–they have a solution for that too; they provide those too ill to walk with a ride to Health Services or to the hospital at no cost. While they may not be as comforting as your mom’s homemade chicken soup, Health Services can be a huge help for a variety of ailments.

Coming from one who is far from home, the University can easily help you overcome any homesickness if you throw yourself into the many activities and clubs this school offers. If there are any situations that may make this transition harder, like chronic illness, then plan ahead and seek assistance and this school can easily become your home away from home.

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