I’m homesick. My family, friends, dog (CoCo- she’s a chocolate lab!) and all support systems are back home in SoCal so I’ve been feeling really lonely since coming to Cal.
I have made a few friends but no one that I really feel connected to. I’m about to end my first year but seriously thinking about transferring to a school closer to home. I would love to graduate from Cal but don’t know if it’s worth the risk of loneliness or my mental health for the next 3 years. What should I do?
College can be daunting for many people. Going to a large institution not knowing anyone can be tough, but know that you’re not alone. Cal is a huge university and there are hundred of people to meet. I would suggest looking into clubs and organizations. Join a community that have similar interests as you. Like you, I came to Cal disliking my first semester because I had felt lonely, but I found it much easier to make connections when I joined clubs. Last year, I joined Cal’s Dragon Boat Team and met so many awesome people. Whether it’d be a sports team or a service organization, there are tons of possibilities to choose from. Don’t be discouraged, because making meaningful connections just takes time. Opening yourself up more and trying new things also helps. Discover a new hobby; join a dance team. You’re bound to meet eclectic souls everywhere on campus. Since you have a dog yourself, perhaps you should check out Paws and Claws of UC Berkeley. I believe they visit the animal shelter from time to time. Maybe you can meet people with a common interest while playing with adorable animals! I would say give it one last go. Give Cal another semester and see how you like it from there. BUT, one piece of advice is go into the next semester with the new perspective of “I’m going to enjoy Cal and make the most out of it. There’s always the possibility of meeting someone I can totally click with, but I just have to keep trying."
Best of luck! You’re going to do great.
Almost everyone at Berkeley can relate to the feeling of homesickness. And I especially can relate to the difficulty of making real friendships with connections here at Berkeley. About halfway through the second semester of my freshman year it started to bother me that I had so many acquaintances and not so many friends. What helped me deal with the homesickness was scheduling weekly time to call my relatives and scheduling trips back home weeks in advance so I could have something to look forward to. Making those real connections might be a bit more difficult, however I have two suggestions. Invest a little time in some of you’re friendships and see if there’s any real chance that a strong connection might develop. Also, if all of you’re acquaintances are people from your clubs/extracurriculars maybe try hanging out with people you live near or people in your classes. A strong friendship can come from anywhere in your social sphere! If these suggestions don’t work to you AND you feel your mental health declining, that’s a good time to consider whether or not a move back down to SoCal might be beneficial or not.