When it comes to college, there are plenty of things that can make you feel down. Deadlines, relationship problems, homesickness… you name it, you’ve probably experienced it during your time studying, whether you’re 20 miles from home or in a completely different country. And not only are these things affecting you, but they affect your friends, too, and you can feel a bit lost when it comes to helping them through the tough times. However, there are many ways that you can be there to help those around you, so read on if you want to cheer them up on those dark days and create the best support network possible. Goodbye, college loneliness and deadline stress (well, maybe…) and hello lasting friendships and a great college experience!
Explore your new town or city together
The best thing about going to college is that you’ll probably be in a new town or city, so there will be so much out there for you to explore! Whilst homesickness may be rife, there are many ways to keep busy, and tackle the initial fear and sadness that comes with moving away. Making yourself, and your friends, feel like you’re at home in your new city is a great way to do this, and making memories and finding great places to visit will truly make the place feel like your own. Check out some sites like TripAdvisor and see what you can do (for free if you’re on a budget) and don’t forget to look for temporary events which will change up your plans if you really want to cheer up your buddies.
Cook a meal (as a team)
There is nothing that quite gets people together (and cheers people up) quite like food, and a decent meal can be a less-than-regular occurrence when it comes to college. There are a lot of student (read: affordable) recipes out there if you want to host a little food-related get together, and you can all chip in on the cost, too. So put down the beans on toast, and try your hand at cooking something a little more complex for you and your college friends! Eating well will also help to ensure that you’re looking after your body (and more importantly, your brain) so you and your buddies will be getting those good grades as well as those delicious meals. You really can’t go wrong here, so put your phones away, let the conversation flow, and look up some tasty (and healthy) new dishes.
Be the listening ear that they need
We all need somebody to talk to when college gets tough, and the loneliness strikes. Especially if your friends are used to living at home (and in quite a social environment) it can be hard to adjust to having their own isolated room, and little communal space. If you can see that your friends are looking for a bit of company (and your deadlines aren’t taking over your life) then try to be the listening ear that they’re looking for. Sparing five minutes of your day can really cheer somebody up, and you can bet that you’ll need that support in return, too. Whilst you should try not to be too invasive, knocking on your friends doors once in a while will be much appreciated, just to check in on how they are. Make an effort, and you’ll also foster lasting friendships with the people you meet in your freshman year!
Buy them a thoughtful gift
Ok, we understand. If you’re at college, you probably don’t have a great deal of money to be splashing out on gifts for all of your new friends. However, if you see that somebody is having a particularly hard time, then why not get them something small and thoughtful, to put a smile on their face? Even a bar of candy will be much appreciated, but there are gifts out there that will cure homesickness by giving somebody a little taste of home, like Montana gifts. This will be the ultimate test of your listening abilities, as you’ll be able to remember what your friends are really thinking (and more realistically, missing). Just a small gift could cheer somebody up for the entire week, and could help them through the toughest of times. It can be hard to talk about emotions and empathy, so why not just show it, instead?
Encourage them to seek help
Whilst we all suffer at college, there are some who may need a bit more support to get through the semester than others. You will probably be able to sense it if some of your buddies are struggling, and this can manifest itself in many ways. At college, excessive sleeping and drinking are usually rife, but there are some who are over-sleeping and over-drinking as a way to deal with deeper underlying problems. Whilst you can do your best to be there for them, they may need a bit of help from somebody else, and luckily this support is usually readily available on your college campus. Reassure them that there is nothing embarrassing about speaking to somebody, and that we all struggle with things, especially when we move away from home. Sometimes all it takes is a little bit of reassurance!
There are many struggles that your friends can encounter throughout college, and they’re not limited to homesickness, deadline stress, and making new relationships away from home! Whilst you can feel a bit lost when it comes to helping them (especially if you’ve only known each other for a few months) you can cheer them up by exploring what your city has to offer, cooking a meal together, and listening to them when they need some support. If you want to go the extra mile, why not buy them a little gift to remind them of home, and reassure them that you’re thinking of them? If none of these things do the job, then encourage them to get support from somebody, as they may just need a bit more help to get through. Good luck, and enjoy college, together!