DEAR HARRIETTE: I am going to college in a few months, and I am very nervous about it. I have never left home for a long period of time. I never went to sleepaway camp, and I never liked to sleep out of the house. I am nervous that I am going to get homesick and want to come home. I am scared that I am not going to like the people or the school. What do you suggest I do to prepare for the next four years? -- Nervous Student, Trenton, New Jersey
DEAR NERVOUS STUDENT: Find out what extracurricular activities are available at your school that are of interest to you. Join affinity groups that match your interests so that you fill up your free time. The more connected you are to engaging opportunities, the less time you will have to be homesick. Find out if any students from your high school or neighborhood will be attending your college. Do your best to connect with anyone you already know, at least for the initial transition time. While in your classes, notice students who share your interests. When you identify someone who may share similar preferences, speak to that person and see if the two of you naturally connect. Homesickness takes a backseat when you meet new friends and begin the adventure of your new life.
Also establish a regular time when you talk to your parents. You may start with a daily call and end up calling weekly. As you establish your independence, don’t forget to stay in touch with them.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)