When you’re a new student at college, it can be difficult to manage your time, and even more so when you’re trying to balance new experiences at Cedarville and keeping in touch with your loved ones from home. So how do you find your equilibrium between the two?
The Importance of Staying Connected With Home
It’s your first week at Cedarville, you’re all moved in, you’ve met the people in your hall or unit, classes have started, and there is so much to fill your time! It’s easy to get caught up in your freshman year with new freedom and new friends and forget to stay in touch with your roots, but that doesn’t make it any less important. Especially if your parents or guardians have taken an active part in getting you to college, whether helping financially or helping you move in, a call home every once in a while to hear how you’re doing will really brighten their day. The same can be said for siblings or friends from your hometown. Check in now and then to share your adventures and hear about their own.
Phone calls are the tried-and-true method and good for long catch-up conversations or quick check-ins. Calling between classes may seem like not much time, but even short calls scattered throughout the week can help you keep up with your loved ones.
Video calls may be even better because you can see your friends’ and family’s faces! Though this route often requires some extra planning beforehand, it doesn’t take long to set aside time in the evening to hear about your family’s days and see their smiles.
Though letters are a more outdated method of communication nowadays, I have found that writing and receiving letters from home can be extra special. On days when you feel tired or stressed or discouraged (they happen to the best of us), reviewing old letters sent throughout the school year can give you the encouragement you need and remind you of the loving people God has put in your life.
There are many other ways you can keep in touch and stay connected with home. Making visits home or having family visit you during breaks or long weekends helps keep you going when you start to feel homesick. My family lives quite far from me and can’t visit often, so we’ve found that an app called Marco Polo — which lets you record and watch videos on your own time — helps us to keep track of each other’s lives even when we’re busy and can’t schedule visits or phone calls. Social media can be an excellent tool in keeping up with friends and family from home, too, especially if you take the time to send or post updates you know they would be interested in and engage with their life updates.
Letting Yourself Forge Ahead
Your family will be so happy to hear from you while you’re away at school but remember it’s okay to make boundaries and prioritize other things, too. You may not have time for a call home every single week, especially once homework and campus events start picking up. It’s equally important to let your family know you will be busy sometimes and don’t want to miss the opportunities life at Cedarville has for you. Let your family hold you lightly so you have the chance to explore the college experience as a new adult.
On the other hand, while many students don’t call home enough, some new students fall into the other extreme. They may feel homesick immediately upon arriving at a new school and be reluctant to step outside their comfort zone. Calling home frequently is not bad, but depending on how often you do, it can disrupt your experience and infringe on your chance to be more independent. If this is you, take heart in knowing many other new students are experiencing the same thing you are; maybe it’s their first time away from home, and maybe home is far away. But Cedarville has so much to offer, and you’ll never get to experience it if you’re too closely attached to home. Make friends, join clubs and orgs, get excited about your major! Let yourself forge ahead!
Best Places to Connect on Campus
That’s all good in theory, but how do you go about connecting on campus? I’m pleased to say Cedarville makes this element of the college experience very easy. Especially if you’re living on campus, like most of the student body, it is difficult not to connect. Your roommate and people living in your unit or hall will, of course, be some of the first people you interact with, and likely the people you interact with most frequently. If you’re a shy person, you may be waiting for these people to approach you first, but I’d encourage you to use this as a chance to challenge yourself and initiate first! Who knows? Maybe they’re just as shy as you and were waiting on you to approach first.
Orgs, a.k.a. campus clubs, are also one of the best ways to make new friends on campus. The Involvement Fair normally occurs the week after Getting Started, and it’s at this event that all kinds of orgs will set up tables to meet new students and give out information. If you’re looking for friends who share your interests, this is the place for you! Cedarville has orgs for practically everything, including dance, languages, photography, creative writing, art, sports intramurals—even Nerf wars! Ministry and service orgs are some of the most popular and provide a great way to make close friendships while also helping the community. You can find a list of every org online.
Cedarville also offers D-Groups, or discipleship groups, where you can meet weekly with a group of men and women who aim to learn more about God and develop closer relationship with Him and their classmates. At D-Groups, you not only get the chance to befriend your peers, but you also get to meet upperclassmen who can mentor you spiritually and provide encouragement for you in this new season of life.
Then, of course, classes are a great place to make new friends and connect on campus. It’s nice to walk into a classroom in the mornings and see a friendly face, and even nicer when you have people to study with. You can make plenty of friends in your gen-ed and Bible classes, but once you start taking classes for your major, you’ll find even closer friendships. Not only will you start seeing the same people from class to class — depending on the size of your major, of course — but you will also constantly be with people who share your interests and career goals.
Being a Part of Two Worlds
While Cedarville makes friendships and connections easy, the transition to college life can still be difficult. Sometimes it can feel like you’re existing between two worlds, that of Cedarville and that of your hometown. Finding the balance and staying connected to both can be a challenge that takes time to overcome, but with the friends, peers, and mentors Cedarville offers, it is most definitely achievable.
Student Life Blogger
- Majoring in English with minors in Bible, Creative Writing, and Editing & Publishing
- Hometown: Blythewood, SC
- Coffee Order: Bourbon Latte at Beans-n-Cream
- Favorite Bible Verse: Luke 9:23