Saying goodbye shouldn’t mean breaking ties

Jenna Gerling

When high school friends and families are left behind on all-too-many college kids’ journeys to careerhood, one question often remains – “Will we keep in touch?”

Resident Assistant Ty Kellogg said homesickness is one of the most common feelings new students deal with when they begin college.

“It depends on the degree of the situation,” said Kellogg, junior electronic media productions major and RA at Lake Residence Hall. “I think for everybody, it’s natural to have a bout of homesickness, whether you be a freshman, sophomore, junior, senior – everybody likes the comfort of home. It’s how that person handles it that kind of distinguishes what we do as RAs.

Remember to Keep in Touch

• Send e-mails.

• Pick up the phone.

• Don’t forget birthdays.

• Plan annual reunions.

• Utilize social networking Web sites like Facebook and MySpace.


“For example, if someone gets tired or maybe sleeps a lot more than usual or doesn’t seem to be as open as usual, we try to coax the person to maybe get involved elsewhere,” he said.

But homesickness isn’t the only source of stress associated with moving away from home.

Post-secondary student Jenelle Rini, a senior at Medina High School, said she has had minor strife within her family about her being at college.

“My younger sister, I still see her because I’m still living at home and I’m at school all throughout the week, but she wants more time with me being that I’m going away next year,” Rini said. “And actually with my mom, she’s very proud that I’m doing something that’s going to benefit me … so nothing is really different at home.”

But Rini said changes in relationships with her high school friends, although minor, have made her realize important values in her life.

“I had a way larger group of friends before I started post-secondary,” Rini said. “But I think it’s worth it in the long run. Right now it’s a strain because I’m always really busy, but … I like having that head start (in college).”

Rini said the reason she has fewer close friends in high school now is because she simply isn’t around enough to maintain relationships with some of them.

Because of this, she said she realizes how her family relationships will be more strained when she actually goes away to college.

“I think it would be harder because I’m not going to be at home as often. At post-secondary I’m at home in the morning and in the evening before and after classes,” Rini said. “But when I actually do go away, I’ll be really homesick, because I’m planning on going to (The University of) Cincinnati, and that’s like four hours away from Medina.”

When junior justice studies major Joe Pasquarella was a freshman, he said he called home at least once a day and went home often because he was homesick.

“I have a job and I have 17 credit hours, so it is just basically being busy,” Pasquarella said. “Also, I think what helped me get over it is by meeting people and getting away from that home feeling.”

Kellogg said staying busy is helpful in the transition to college, and that the RAs try to help students do just that.

“So, (as Resident Assistants) we are also trying to provide programs for a semester, which will give the residents something to do,” he said. “It’s something else to take interest in, whether that be education through diversity or through the community.

“(We are) trying to get you to interact with other people as opposed to just sitting in your room sulking about how much you miss your girlfriend at home, or your mom and dad,” he said. “But they also have to understand that this is a part of the growing process – it’s OK that you miss home, it’s quite normal, but the point of growing up is also trying to experiment with new things outside of home.”

Contact features correspondent Jenna Gerling at [email protected].