They say there’s no place like home. It would be great to be like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz when she clicks her ruby slippers together. She’s instantly transported back to Kansas. I definitely agree with that, though, at this point in my life, I have many places I could call home. I was born in Delaware, on the East coast. I identify as being from Minnesota. I was in Illinois for middle school and high school. I lived in California for two years and now I’m back in Chicago. Straight out of high school, I moved to California to pursue a degree in Beauty Industry Merchandising & Marketing. I wanted to share with you the top 10 lessons I learned moving so far away from home. I believe you can make a place your home with just a bit of effort and a lot of support from loved ones.
- Get outside! Leave your dorm/apartment. Don’t stay cooped up inside just because you don’t know anyone. Explore the area around you and find one thing you can appreciate or enjoy. In my case, I quickly discovered Sprinkles Cupcakes in Downtown LA. Even if it’s as simple as a Starbucks, you’ll feel a lot better. Look around in nature – in LA, there were a lot of tall palm trees!
- Get involved with clubs/organizations at college. I was secretary for Phi Theta Kappa at FIDM. It was something I really enjoyed doing. I got to meet other students (my fellow board members) and Phi Theta Kappa members. I was in an encouraging community at Student Activities. I enjoyed getting to meet the staff as well – it helped me adjust to life in Los Angeles. I met a lot of my friends through PTK and Industry Club, simply by going to meetings and saying hi to different students.
- Talk to a counselor. I had a lot of conflicting emotions about leaving the midwest to go to college. It really helped talking to someone with an objective view. I was able to figure out healthy ways to cope with feelings of homesickness and depression. Most colleges offer these services for free.
- Volunteer – this goes along with the second point. I volunteered for Generation Beauty by Ipsy 2 years in a row. I got the chance to meet Nikki Phillippi and Ingrid Nilsen, two of my favorite YouTubers. They have different beauty vendors with booths and you can get a lot of free product samples. They also have meet and greets with YouTubers and Beauty Bloggers. I had a positive experience being a volunteer and got to look at the inner workings of a beauty industry event. There are a ton of options for volunteer work – Ronald McDonald House, soup kitchens, food drives, fashion shows. Look around and see what you find.
- It takes a lot of time to adjust to a new area. Honestly, for the longest time, I felt like I didn’t fit into the Angelino stereotype. I found positives about California and my experience there. I knew I wasn’t going to live there forever, but I wanted to make the best of my time. I made some great friends, enjoyed trips to In ‘N Out and Diddy Riese along with taking trips to Disneyland in Anaheim. It’s okay to change your mind if you don’t like an area – that’s why I transferred to Columbia in Chicago.
- Talk to your teachers! I got great advice from my English Composition teacher at FIDM. She suggested I visit the Glendale Galleria (If you’re in LA, it’s a great mall!). My teacher also pointed me in the direction of Counseling Services and helped me navigate FIDM. It was great having a support system in an academic environment.
- Call home: It’s good to talk to your parents/siblings. It can be really tough being so far away from home. They’ll know exactly what to say. You don’t need to do it everyday, but whenever you need advice, it’s helpful. Ask them to send a care package with things from home. It always made me feel good to know I was being thought of.
- Put yourself out there. This could mean asking a potential friend to get coffee. This could be related to a school project. Saying yes more often is good! It’s healthy. As long as it’s something you think you’d enjoy, yes is a good answer. That’s how my friendship with Catherine started. We kept running into each other at Industry Club and PTK and eventually realized, “We should hang out because we have a lot in common.” If neither of us ever asked each other to hang out, then we wouldn’t be friends.
- Cry if you need to. It’s okay to be upset. It’s really hard at first. The first night I spent in my dorm in LA freaked me out a lot. Even though these changes are exciting, they can also be extremely overwhelming. It’s better to acknowledge your feelings than push them down. You can do this, I promise!
- Engage in a reflective activity. This could be meditation, yoga, reading from the Bible or writing in a journal. These activities will help you put things into perspective in a healthy outlet. I personally enjoy yoga – I bought a mat and I used it in my apartment to do various stretches. This will help take your mind off of homesickness and feeling depressed.
*Image from Pinterest, quote by author, C.S. Lewis
I hope this helps you, wherever you are in life right now.