Peer Mentors Blog

Peer Mentors for First-Year Students

Fighting the "Winter Blues" by Intern Kelley Kritz

by Brianna Luft | Feb 06, 2014

It may be time for the “winter blues.”  No, I don’t mean feeling down because there’s snow on the ground and the sky is gloomy.  I’m talking about homesickness.  Sure you may have been a bit homesick in the fall semester, or maybe you weren’t.  It is possible that even if you were not homesick prior to now, it may creep up on you at the start of the spring semester.  After all, your most recent experience with college was finals week, and you’ve most likely been home enjoying your free time with friends and family.  It can be difficult getting back into the swing of things.  So what do you do?  The following are some tips on combating homesickness in your spring semester and keeping on task.

  • Getting back into a routine

You probably had some type of a routine in the fall, so be sure to have one this semester too.  Keeping a routine can make each day feel a bit more normal.  It will be different from what you did over break, but as time goes on you will get used to it and it will become natural as it did in the fall. Plus, keeping up on your studies and activities each day will allow you to accomplish what is necessary and keep busy.

  • Keeping motivated/focused

There was probably at least one, if not a few, ways in which you kept motivated and focused last semester.  Evaluate what did and didn’t work.  Use what worked again, and modify other tools in order to be productive this semester.  Keeping motivated and focused should alleviate some stress and allow you to get all of your work done in a timely manner.  NOTE: It may not be the best idea to continue working to the point of overdoing it.  While you absolutely need to keep up on your studies, you need some downtime too.  Allowing yourself breaks to stretch, listen to some relaxing music, exercise, have a snack, or chat with a friend, can allow you a chance to reenergize and refocus.  This will allow for quality work rather than just working until it is done.   

  • Keeping connected with friends from home after you’ve returned

After having seen friends from high school during break, it may seems strange to leave them as you did back in September.  Who said you can’t stay in touch?  This can be part of your routine if it isn’t already.  Have Skype or FaceTime chats.  Call or text each other.  Make plans to visit each other once in a while.  Visits even allow you to connect old friends with new friends so everyone can hang out together.   

  • Making new friends/more new friends

You may have become friends with your roommate, people in your class, and/or other students in clubs or athletic groups.  Don’t stop there.  Continue to build those friendships.  Create new friendships as well.  Perhaps there are new people you are encountering on campus or people you saw last semester that you never got around to having a conversation with.  Now is the time to get to know those people.  Remember, there’s no such thing as too many friends!

  • Keeping/getting involved

If you are a part of a team or club, be sure to stay involved this semester as well.  This is where you can build new friendships and enhance existing ones.  If you were not involved or would like to become more involved than last semester, now is the time to do it.  Being a part of something outside of classes and homework will allow you to distress and refocus in order to put your all into your school work.  Plus, the spring semester is when many clubs have their elections.  If becoming a club leader is your goal, don’t miss out on the opportunity! 

Keeping these tips in mind will hopefully reduce any homesickness you are experiencing as you return from the winter break.  However, don’t forget that homesickness is normal and there are most likely others going through it as well.  The transition back into school can be tough, but there is always someone there for you.  You probably still have connections at home, you may have created connections on campus as well, and if necessary there is always the counseling center. 

Welcome back and have a healthy, happy, and productive semester!

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