For many students, especially in-state first-years, there can be a strong temptation to visit home every weekend instead of staying on campus.
Some students may feel that their on-campus housing situation is uncomfortable or has a hazardous “environmental growth,” while others may feel disconnected from the campus community and want to feel the warmth of a welcoming place.
Whatever the reason, there are even more compelling reasons to push yourself to stay on campus as much as possible.
As a first-year, I made the mistake of going home basically every weekend, and it has been my biggest regret from my time at Tech.
Instead of building deep, meaningful friendships and making memories I will remember for the rest of my life, I went home and hid from the realities at school
that I was too scared to face.
I was physically running away from campus in an attempt to metaphorically run away from my problems.
I was afraid of the intense feelings of stillness and loneliness that I was experiencing, despite the fact that the only way to combat my intense anxieties about the realities of life was to finally face them head on.
I was leaving campus every weekend because I felt like I had no friends to hang out with, but the depressing irony was that the best way to make good friends on campus was to stick around on the weekend and reach out to new people.
I dreaded returning to my freshman dorm so badly that I fled campus every Friday after my classes ended and didn’t return until late Sunday night, which consequently ensured that my bed at Tech never felt like it could be my home.
When faced with the emotional turmoil that arises from major life changes, such as going to college for the first time, the quickest way to feel better is to lean into the discomfort and get used to your new normal.
However, this is the opposite of what many people’s instinct in new or scary situations is.
In particular, the aging residence halls, intense academic pressures and somewhat strange social atmosphere at Tech can make more introverted or anxious first-years struggle to successfully lean into the discomfort associated with starting college.
It can easily start to feel like you are a single, lonely island in a sea of archipelagos when you feel like everyone is having fun without you.
However, I can almost guarantee that this is never actually the case. Every semester, first-years and upperclassmen flood social platforms like Reddit to share how they feel alone and wish to make new friends. The chances that you are ever actually the only one who feels alone at Tech on weekends is essentially zero.
Regardless of whether you are a nervous first-year or an exhausted fifth-year, I believe that the experiences you could be having on campus on the weekend are much better than if you went home simply for the sake of it.
Whether it’s reaching out to someone you haven’t talked to for a couple of years, reaching out to someone else in a club you have joined or even just going grocery shopping and planning to cook your favorite meal, making plans to look forward to during the weekend instead of leaving campus could be the first step towards confronting your fear of loneliness on campus.