Many who enter college as young adults move hours away from a childhood home, whether it’s in or out of their hometown’s state. Depending on the school, students are given an academic break in the fall or winter season. For some, a trip back home is just what they need. They miss family members, loved ones, favorite stores and restaurants. For others, visiting home can be a frustrating reminder that they no longer connect with the town that they are from.
Visiting your hometown can be frustrating when your friends have moved on or moved away. Entering adulthood means developing schedules and routines. If you know anything about trying to meet up with friends once you have started college, finding a common day or even hour can be difficult.
Comparatively, you have outgrown your friends from high school. This doesn’t mean that the friendships you had weren’t special. College gives you the chance to explore new opportunities, create discipline and broaden your academic and social horizons.
Depending on where you live, the average age of residents may be decades older or younger than you are. This can feel alienating as a young adult looking for socialization.
Happy Valley is great for a lot of reasons, one of them being it’s a place with endless things to do. From trails to nightlife, State College caters to multiple lifestyles. Traveling back to hometowns may mean leaving those options behind.
Lastly, your hometown could hold bitter memories. College is the chance to start fresh or reinvent parts of yourself that no longer serve you.
Surviving Hometown Blues
Give yourself grace, because people thrive in different environments. This can range from urban to rural, depending on the individual, and can even change multiple times depending on personal preference, career path or other factors.
Remind yourself that breaks don’t last forever. If you find yourself itching to leave your hometown as soon as you arrive, know that you can and you will. Give yourself permission to leave early if necessary for your mental health.
Take time to get out of the house. Walking is beneficial for both mental and physical health. Walking has been proven to lower blood pressure, loosen muscles and lift mental fogs. Additionally, walking with a buddy or music can further take your mind off of stress.
Writing down your feelings is a cliché, albeit effective method of organizing thoughts. Paper and pen (or even your notes app) don’t judge the words that come from you. Your journaling can be scrambled, thoughtless, organized, vulnerable or whatever you need it to be.
If you find yourself truly struggling with mental health during your time at Penn State, please visit the following link for mental health services in Centre County, PA.