As a student who once upon a time moved away to college, I can help you with some ways to adjust to a city you don’t like. There’s no doubt that you’ve entered an exciting new time in your life, but it can be scary too. Nothing is familiar, you are away from family and friends and there are different pressures from high school. If you find on top of all those adjustments you don’t like your location and it’s turned out not to be what you imagined, that’s an extra stress to deal with. School is great, you’re making friends, and you’re settling into your class routine but you wish you were in a different city? Here are some ways to adjust to a city you don’t like.
1. Bring Pieces of Home
If you’re a student going away from home for the first time, it’s not unusual to feel a little homesick. Don’t sit and mope – act on ways to adjust to a city. Sometimes it helps if you bring a little bit of home with you to college. It may help to bring a pillow or blanket that smells like home, or wash things in the same laundry detergent. A favorite stuffed animal or pictures of the family often help. You can even subscribe to the local newspaper from back home so you can keep up with local events and feel connected. Be careful to leave room for new memories and new pictures, however.
2. Get Involved
It’s important for students and other newcomers to continue enjoying the things you enjoyed before. If the farmer’s market was the favorite hangout back home, find the farmer’s market in the new town. The same with movies or live music. Volunteer if you can, perhaps at an animal shelter or cleaning up a park. Join a group that bikes or hikes. There are several ways to meet people who share common interests.don't forget to check college clubs.
3. Start over
Some people look at a move to a new town as a chance to reinvent themselves. A fresh move can mean a fresh start. For students, a new move can mean taking classes that may result in the career they are dreaming of, but it needn’t be limited to that - be sure to take electives, if possible, that can teach you things you’ve always wanted to know about or have always enjoyed, such as art appreciation or pottery. If you write, finish that novel or short story, and if you like reading, join a book local club.
4. Reach out to New People
You can become acquainted not only with fellow classmates, but the neighbors, the people who work at the grocery store, the mechanics, the bus driver, etc. Start a conversation by saying you’re new in town and would like their advice on the best places, to eat, or to catch the best live music shows. Ask about the celebrations unique to the town, or where the holiday happenings are. Life doesn't have to center around college.
5. Learn Where Everything is
Many people, when moving to a new town, simply use the services nearest them without exploring other options. Think about what you liked about the services you left behind in your former city - did you love the produce section of your hometown market? Find the grocery store in the new town that has the best produce section. Visit several clothing stores to find out which one carries clothing you like. Learn where the best bakery is, and be sure you know where the parks are to find out which one you enjoy or the best one to go to if you need to decompress.
6. Be Adventurous
Explore the local cuisine, even if it’s very different from what you ate back home. Visit the local landmarks and learn a little history about the place you now call home. If there are activities that weren’t available in your hometown, try them-if you’re used to dancing at the club, why not try square dancing? Maybe you’re used to ski slopes and are now in a coast town where surfing is the big draw. Maybe a beer at the local pub back home has turned into wine tasting. Become like the virtual tour guide for those back home who want to know what your new place if like.
7. Be Patient
Unless you hated your hometown, you’re going to need time to adjust and let go of one life so you can move into the other, even if that move is temporary. Give yourself time to adjust, to make new friends and visit new places. Once things become more familiar ant you’re more comfortable, you may develop a fondness you didn’t expect for your new town.
If you’re feeling homesick for your hometown or simply don’t like your college location, I hope you find comfort and help in these ways to adjust to and maybe even grow to love your new city. Are you a current student still trying to like your new location? Or did you hate your new city at first but now love it? Please share your experiences.