Going the Distance: Attending School Across the Country

Hsieh.Movingtoschoolcrosscountry2If you stop a Penn State student on the street and ask where they are from, 75 percent of the time the answer will be Philadelphia, Pittsburgh or “just outside Philadelphia/Pittsburgh” – no surprise there. But let’s not forget the select few who give the unexpected answers like Texas, California or Florida. Believe it or not, not everyone hails from the great state of Pennsylvania. Some students literally packed up their lives across the country to come to State College. It can be daunting moving to a new school, let alone a new state.

Second semester is picking up, and for you out-of-staters, that means breaking the three-week habit of hanging out with old friends and spending time with family you haven’t seen for four months. It can be an unwanted reminder of the life you left behind, and the new life you have in State College, which is totally understandable. Take a deep breath; we at Valley are here to help! Check out these tips to get back into the grind, and to help you through until summer rolls around. 

Get together with your friends

You know you missed your fellow Penn Staters! Meet up with your usual group at the HUB or at Irving’s for a catch-up session over coffee. Surrounding yourself with the people you literally spent all your time with first semester will feel comfortably familiar, and will give you a break from the nostalgia of home.

Stay in touch

For those friends and family members you can’t live without, put them as favorites in your phone. A weekly, or even daily, phone call can go a long way. It’s a little piece of home that will remind you that it’s entirely possible you will survive another semester. It also helps beat out those lonely days of homesickness, which are the worst.

Make a List

It sounds cheesy, but it works. Write down all the reasons you chose this school. It’s called Happy Valley for a reason, after all. There are so many great things that make State College and Penn State the place to be. Acknowledging the little things like the East Halls freshman experience or College Avenue makes such a big campus feel a little bit more like home.

Listen to “That’s Life” by Frank Sinatra

Seriously, it’s a classic. Not only is Frank Sinatra killer, but the tune and lyrics are the perfect pick-me-up.  The song is a great reminder that even if you’re feeling a little down, life goes on and you’ll get through it.

In the end, moving cross-country is an adventure. Treat it like one, and it’s a piece of cake.

Photo by Jonathan Hsieh


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