Photo Credits: Olivia Stevens/Achona Online
As seniors make their final decision about colleges, many have decided to branch off into different states and environments that are unfamiliar to them. Seniors from the 2017 class are attending colleges all around the United States including, Pennsylvania, California, Alabama, Massachusetts, Georgia, New York, and Virginia. Many of the students that have decided to move away from Tampa where they have lived a majority of their lives. There have been mixed reactions to going out-of-state for college but there is an overall excitement to start a new chapter. It will be a new transition into a different pace of lifestyle and scenery that might leave the girls bewildered and anxious of what is to come. The possibilities in a new state are endless and, even though the departing seniors may get homesick, there are many different coping mechanisms to get through the next four years.
Skype, Oovoo, FaceTime, and phone calls are helpful verbal and visual communication that go a long way. Sometimes hearing your family members’ voices or seeing their faces makes all the difference in how people feel.
Jenna Wiley explains, “It’s going to be weird to not see them every day so the face to face discussion on Skype is important. However, the classic phone call is to never be glossed over. It’s a great way to keep in touch and talk to my family throughout the day while walking between classes, eating dinner, etc.”
Make New Friends
Even though there is no way to substitute high school friendships, the best way to not feel isolated in college is to form new bonds with different people who are going through the same struggles.
Gabbie Ragano says, “My family is my family and any friends I make are not going to replace their unconditional love and support. I will try and stay in touch with my friends from high school because they mean so much to me, but I definitely want to completely commit myself to this new adventure and make new friends. However, I would never just stop being friends with people because we no longer live in the same state.”
Join a Sorority
Many senior who leave Academy decide to rush a sorority in order to make the transition easier for them. The atmosphere of a sorority is very similar to the bonds that Academy girls share and past graduates have expressed how it aids in their feelings of homesickness.
Gabi Vivero, a graduate of 2016, said, “I have been lucky in that it’s been an easy transition for me and I didn’t experience homesickness until after coming back to school from Christmas break, but even then college is such a comfortable place for me. Joining a sorority means I never have to go anywhere alone so if I’m really homesick I just go to my sorority house and be with my big.”
Another form of communication is to handwrite letters to your friends and family. It might help bring comfort to see their handwriting every once and while.
Schedule Trips Back Home and Vice Versa
Many college students await the time until they finally get to go home and spend time with their loved ones, especially over long breaks and holidays. It can also be fun for friends to travel outside of Florida and visit campus where they can travel the surrounding areas.
Some students remain within driving distance.
“It’s about seven hours from Tampa so it’s far enough away that I can completely branch out, but not too far just in case I want to come home,” said Victoria Baldor.
While some are going longer distances, like Lisette Cruz who will be almost 3,000 miles away from home in San Francisco and Liz Benjamin who will be attending Emerson College in Boston.
Join New Clubs/Groups/Activities
The best way to transition into a new environment is to become a part of it. That way students can put forth their effort and time into something that makes them happy and brings out the best in them.
Megan Przedpelski says, “I hope to, along with rushing a sorority, travel abroad my junior year to Ireland or somewhere in Europe.”
Take Moments to Appreciate the Amazing Experiences and Moments
Going out-of-state presents an array of opportunities the seniors might not have experienced if they decided to stay in-state. In the midst of missing their families, it is important to not be consumed by homesickness and look around at the opportunities in front of them.
Nicole Browne said, “I am excited to meet new people, join weird clubs, and take classes in subjects I may have never even heard of. I am excited about the endless opportunities and events that will be going on and take my independence to the next level and really become more of an adult.”
Gabbie Ragano added, “I think it is an amazing opportunity to go live on your own in a completely new place and study with different and new people. I am so lucky to have parents that supported this and I am incredibly excited to start this new chapter of my life on my own.”
Although it will take some adjusting, especially to the weather and pace of lifestyle, the future college students are ready to embrace their passion, from politic science and pre-med to marketing and showbiz.