When I first came to Oberlin, I was drowning in homesickness.
I remember feeling goosebumps when my plane took off en route to Cleveland as I began this brand-new chapter of my life. Like many Oberlin students, I never lived that far away from home for an extended period of time before. Because of that, I felt uncomfortable for the first time in a very long time. That discomfort may occur for many other students as well. It’s just part of the adjustment. Sometimes, it’s okay to feel this discomfort. Great things often come out of uncomfortable situations. It’s okay to feel lonely and homesick when you’re away from home. It can be a painful part of the moving process, but I can assure you that things get easier as your time at Oberlin continues.
When it came to my situation, I moved around quite a bit during my childhood and adolescence, but I was always surrounded by family.
Oberlin was extremely far from my home in Texas, so this experience was different from anything I had ever faced before. It was unsettling to believe that my family was over a thousand miles away. I felt quite uneasy and anxious about entering a brand-new world. The excitement was also present, but sometimes it would be overshadowed by negative emotions. I remember saying goodbye to my family like it was yesterday, and wow, that was difficult. I remember thanking them for everything they had done for me and expressing how much I would miss them. Then the pain set in. The aching reality hit me really hard, and it didn't go away overnight either.
After saying my goodbyes, I realized that Oberlin was going to be my home for the next four years. That wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I fell in love with Oberlin when I first visited the campus. The people were very kind, the environment was beautiful, and I was totally feeling the vibe of the place. Oberlin wasn't the problem. My homesickness was just really difficult to cope with. I didn't realize how difficult it would be to live that far away from my family and friends I grew to love. The people are what make home truly feel like home. Once you get to know more about the people in Oberlin, that’s how it eventually starts to feel more like home.
Obieland gets better with time. That’s the beauty of it.
You start getting used to the people you see every day. Your relationships develop more and more as weeks go by. In order to get the absolute best out of these relationships, you have to do your part and put effort into them. For instance, office hours is one of the most underrated aspects of college. If I could acknowledge one of the most elite aspects of Oberlin, it is easily the staff. Checking in on professors, advisors, and other faculty members is such an important thing to do as a student. That’s how you build connections within the school, and connections are extremely valuable. They help you grow in more ways than one. Your mind doesn’t only expand in an academic or career aspect. It also experiences healing and relaxation at times. I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve left an office hours session with a sense of relief. One of my favorite aspects of Oberlin is the positive energy that most of the people exude among one another. Despite the overwhelming stress that comes with going to Oberlin, there are so many people who remain positive here. The positivity is especially important because it’s contagious. All it takes is one person to light up a room and give off positive vibes for your day to get better. At Oberlin, there’s a handful of these types of people. Then there are people who come from all over the world with a wide range of perspectives to learn from. Because of this, it’s easier to find people who relate to your own experiences. When you have people who relate to what you are going through, it’s easier to open up to them. The more you open up to people, the closer your relationships get. There are so many wonderful people to befriend here, which makes it so much easier for Obieland to feel like home. The people allow this small college in the middle of nowhere feel just as comfortable as wherever you came from.
Oberlin is the perfect place for relationship building, and that’s one of the best things about the college.
There's this connectivity between the students that I can't exactly pinpoint. It's a "we're all in this together" type of feeling once you get a better sense of Oberlin over time. Everyone is there in order to accomplish similar goals (learning, making connections, getting that degree, all of it). Comradery is so important on this tiny campus, so feel free to go out to events! They don't even have to be parties or 'Sco parties. They can be entirely academic or career-related. Just don't stay cooped up in your room all day. That's the biggest key. You may have some bad days when you are feeling homesick, and that is completely normal. Face those days head-on and do what you have to do in order to improve your mental health. (The counseling center is also fully available at your convenience, by the way.) Knowing that you have friends that have been through the same thing makes the process so much easier to endure. In fact, it's very therapeutic. I remember venting to my friends at Oberlin about being homesick, and when I found out they were facing the same emotions as I did, I felt so much more validated and comfortable. I know it can be easy to feel lost and alone when you first experience college for the first time. I have been there. Trust me. However, things do get easier with time. Oberlin eventually feels more like home. The people you meet will ensure that. I'm confident in saying this because of my own experiences and also because of the fact that I know too many Obies who couldn't agree more. I'm writing this post from Texas right now, and while I acknowledge that I'm home, I'm comfortable knowing that I have a second home in Oberlin College.