Real Talk: Relationships, Roommates and Homesickness

I’ve been going out with a guy with different political views for the last few months. Things are going really well so far, but I’ve avoided discussing politics because I’m scared that I’ll learn things that’ll make me think differently about him. I want to keep this thing going, but I feel guilty. Should I bring it up to him, break things off or just ignore it? I’m so conflicted!

Communication is a key part of a healthy relationship, and as it gets more serious, that means talking with your partner about everything! Sometimes that can be intimidating, and politics these days have been pretty divisive, so your concern is completely valid. If you’ve been enjoying the relationship so far, there must be something outside of politics that you really adore about your partner. 

Consider this: our political beliefs tend to align with our own personal values about ourselves and the world around us. So, try reflecting: what are your values, and how do they tie in with your political beliefs? Once you’ve processed this idea, you’ll feel prepared to talk about this with your partner. It always helps me to try and understand why I feel a certain way, so that when I talk about it to others, I feel like my point is coming across. 

I think that having a conversation with your partner about politics is a great next step. Try prefacing the conversation with letting him know how you feel, and why the topic has been weighing on you. And if he does wind up having differing views, ask him why he feels that way, so you can both feel heard. Understanding why your partner believes certain things can help you both educate and learn from each other, without the conversation becoming destructive. While you may disagree, communicating and understanding those disagreements is a great step towards developing a healthy relationship, and honestly, you’ll probably feel a little better about getting it off your chest, too. 

My friends have been talking about getting an apartment together next year off-campus. I think it would be really fun to live together, but I’m also worried rooming with them might put a strain on our relationship. Would I be making a mistake by signing a one-year lease with them?

This scenario happens a lot on college campuses. Living off-campus, having your own space and gaining independence can be exciting! While living with your best friends may sound like the perfect idea at first, it can be a big change for all of you at once. It’s great that you’re able to recognize the pros and cons of the situation before committing – a lot of students jump into situations like these, and it can get pretty chaotic pretty fast. 

Hearing from many of my friends’ experiences, your “friends” and your “roommates” can be totally different people, and that’s typically where the strain comes from. It’s really important to understand what living with your friends could be like, because it won’t be the same as getting together and hanging out. 

That being said, it doesn’t mean that signing a lease with them is a total mistake! Sit down and have a conversation with your friends and voice your concern (it’s very possible they’re feeling the same way too). It would also be a good idea to set boundaries and expectations for yourselves and the space you’ll be living in, so that you’re all doing your fair share of taking care of it, and giving each other space to take care of yourselves too. After having that conversation and getting a solid understanding of what living with them would be like, see how you feel. Do you still have concerns, and if so, can they be resolved once you’re all living together? Follow your gut and think about it, but definitely get all the information you can first. It’s a big decision to make, and go you for being super mature and thinking about these things before jumping into it! 

I’m a freshman feeling homesick, overwhelmed and lonely. I’m struggling with the workload, I haven’t had much luck making friends yet, and I miss my family and friends back home. I’m even considering transferring to a school closer to home. Is this normal, or am I doomed to be miserable in college?

I’m really sorry to hear that you’re feeling this way, but you are definitely not alone – I felt the exact same way when I first came to college too. College is a massive change in so many aspects of your life – you have to develop new routines, your social life is totally altered, and you’re away from your hometown. However, I can also tell you that it goes away over time. This experience is different for everyone, so I can’t give you a direct solution, but I can give you some things to think about that may help. 

The biggest thing to think about is academics. Are you enjoying the program or major you’re in? Are you passionate about it? The purpose of college is to get an education, and if you’re not enjoying your education, then it’s really difficult to feel like you fit in the college community. Your academic career is a gateway to your social experience at college, and can have a huge impact on your mental state. Being excited about attending classes and learning new information can set the tone for your whole day, and even the semester. If you don’t feel like you’re in the right program, consider changing majors. It really could make the difference in creating a positive college experience. 

You may hear this a lot from newsletters or advertisements, but getting involved with clubs is a great way to learn more about your community and meet some new friends. The best part: the people you’ll spend time with are guaranteed to have some common interests with you, so starting a conversation will be a little easier! I was skeptical about joining a club at first, but it did help me feel more comfortable socially at college. And even if you don’t make long-lasting relationships in a club, meetings and events are still opportunities to be around others and socialize. 

Finally, and this is something that really helped me get by in the lonelier times, enjoy being alone. It sounds really sad and gloomy, but it taught me a lot about loving myself and encouraged me to feel more comfortable with putting myself out there and trying new experiences at college. Think about the little things about yourself that you admire or like, and work on taking care of yourself and pursuing your interests and passions outside of class. College spurs a lot of internal changes within us, and noting those things can help us understand ourselves, and if we’re truly at the right place. It may also help with the homesickness, because you’ll be able to create your own community here like you were able to do at home. 

Like I said, college is a REALLY big change, but you are not alone. Every single student is trying to figure “it” out, whether it be their classes, how to make friends, or how to find themselves again (I still am, and I’ve been here for almost three years!). And for some, transferring is the best option. My recommendation is this: reflect on yourself, if you’re in the right academic career, and try to step outside of your comfort zone in social events. If you’re still struggling to find your home and find a college that suits you better, pursue it. No matter where it may be, you’ll be able to find your place in college. We’re all finding our way, one day at a time, but it’s definitely possible.