As you’re gearing up to rise from high school into college, you may be completely overwhelmed with decisions on which classes to take, what major to declare and where you will live. Or maybe you’re really excited to finally get out of high school and be on your own. Are you experiencing a bit of senioritis?

Well, whether you fall into one of the above categories or not, you should realize that no matter who you are and how you’re feeling right now, college will be the most challenging experience and yet the greatest experience of your life. It is those very challenges that will make your collegiate experience the most worthwhile. Therefore, before you arrive at college, you should realize several key principles.

  1. EVERYONE WILL GET HOMESICK. No matter if you want to be as far away from home as possible right now or if you have never left your home in your life, everyone will experience some form of homesickness. It’s okay to feel that way! You’re not alone! Most importantly, the homesickness you feel first semester will go away, and over Christmas break you’ll start missing your family here at OU more than you miss your family at home. Don’t feel bad for missing home, and just hang in there because it gets better.
  2. RELATIONSHIPS TAKE TIME. When I first arrived on campus, I got really discouraged because I didn’t have meaningful relationships with people like I had in high school. What I didn’t realize, though, was that the relationships I had in high school had taken years to establish, and I would have to give it time to develop those same friendships here at OU as well. The best part of coming in not knowing anyone is that you are not alone; in fact, you are in good company. With 4,138 fellow incoming freshmen this year, I realized that everyone is eager to make friends and establish relationships. It’s the best time to get out of your comfort zone and meet people.
  3. GET INVOLVED. The best way to cure homesickness and to establish relationships is to get involved on campus. With student life organizations, athletic teams, clubs, technical societies, undergraduate research, volunteer opportunities, arts, and academic symposiums, there are so many areas in which you can get involved on campus. I have loved training on the track and field team, getting involved on campus committees such as the Oklahoma Creativity Festival, and learning how to lead the university through PLC – the President’s Leadership Class. Whatever your passion, there is something for you here at OU, and when you get plugged in, you’ll meet the most incredible like-minded people.

Most of all, I hope you’re getting excited for college because it’s such a neat time to be challenged and grow. Whenever you’re homesick, consider it a blessing because you’re learning to be more independent. Whenever you feel like you don’t have friends, reflect on the incredible relationships you’ve had before and appreciate how you’re developing thankfulness. Whenever you get involved and start to establish your roots, give back to help others because you have been given so much! Don’t be afraid of the uncomfortable because it is through the times of difficulty that we will grow the most.

Jenny Carmichael
Tulsa, OK
Class of 2016
Chemical Engineering Pre-Med, Spanish Minor

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