It’s easy to start feeling homesick during your first year in college. In fact, it’s extremely natural. Unless you went to boarding school, college is probably your first time being away from your family for extended periods of time. Of course, it’s not just family that you’re away from, it’s all the friends you made over the course of your lifetime. While this can be a lot to let go of at once, it’s something that all college students do, and it definitely gets easier. Here is how to avoid being homesick in college.

Build a New Community Through Shared Interests

It can be hard to replace all of your old friends with new ones, but it’s important to remember that your friends are still alive and well, they just won’t be there to keep you company each day. Instead, you will have a whole new population of students to connect with, and you may as well try to meet people who have shared interests. You should definitely look into the different clubs and organizations on campus to find the ones that appeal most to you and start meeting people there. If you are earning Wake Forest’s degree in counseling, you will need to participate with different partners and small groups all the time, and one can only hope that your major is a shared passion.

Schedule Video Chats with Your Loved Ones

While you don’t want to spend too much time talking to your friends and family from back home, you definitely do want to schedule some regular time to keep up with them. By making your video chats a part of your schedule, you not only ensure that all parties will have the time to really catch up, but you will feel reassured in knowing that you don’t have to make yourself available whenever they call you. So there’s no risk in missing out on your random opportunity to talk.

Take a Few Keepsakes with You

Before you leave home you want to be sure that you take a few special keepsakes with you. These should be small items that remind you of who you are at your core. It can be easy to feel very ungrounded and out of touch with yourself when you first go to college. This can lead to a strong sense of homesickness. However, if you have just a few nostalgic keepsakes that remind you of who you are, you will feel a lot more grounded and secure.

Embrace Your Alone Time

Lastly, you want to make sure that you find a way to indulge in your solitude. If you cannot find a way to enjoy your alone time, then you are missing out on one of the best things about life. When you spend quality time by yourself, you have time for much needed introspection and exploration. If you can’t learn to revel in periods of solitude, then it’s something that you will want to practice, because it’s a very important part of becoming a well-adjusted adult.