I’m from South Carolina, but I ended up going to college in Missouri. After finals, I drive an average of 12 hours to get back home.

So, needless to say, I don’t get home very often, and there are definitely students who make it home even less than me. During the last few weeks of the fall semester, I tend to get a little homesick, because the holiday season is very important to my family. We have traditions that we do as a family, and because I’m not there I just have to see the pictures of them completing these traditions without me. It can get a little lonely, but I’ve learned to make the most of the holiday season while at school, and I’d like to share a few of these tips with you!
Isabel is standing in a hallway dressed in holiday pajamas holding two thumbs up.

1. Bring the traditions to you.

One of the big things my family does is advent calendars. I have one where I get a chocolate every day until Christmas and one that hangs on my door at home where I put up an ornament each day. This year, I wanted to bring an advent calendar with me to make sure that I was still participating. Bringing this tradition made me feel like I was back home and it was fun to get up every day and have that treat. My family is also really into holiday pj’s, so I bought a pair, just for some festive fun!

2. Find foods or activities that feel like home.

A box of chocolates with a Mario Star Sticker added on top of the image

My roommates were incredibly tolerant of me this year, as I have been blasting holiday music through my speaker for the last three weeks. The festive music of the holiday season always puts me in a good mood, and my roommates were always ready to have a dance party with me when I needed one. I also was always on the lookout for goodies that would make me feel happy and excited. Items like food, little trinkets, and trips to the campus Starbucks would always make my day that much better. 

3. Surround yourself with a good support system and get involved.

This semester, I was lucky to have such a good friend group around me. They were always excited to hang out and I was always excited to see them. Even if it was just during class or passing each other in the hallways, every positive interaction brightened my day. SEMO is also a campus that wants its students to be involved in the campus community, so there’s always something to do. I went to shows, end-of-the-year awards, holiday gatherings, and so much more. The activities offered on campus definitely helped to keep my spirits high while heading into finals week and missing my family.

It’s easy to keep a positive mindset when I remember that there are good things already around me. Friends, little gifts, small interactions, and all that’s offered on campus. Going through the holiday season without my family is always tough, but implementing these tips makes it so much better. Have a safe break and a happy new year!

 Isabel and a friend taking a selfie holding Starbucks coffee A woman holding a photo of Isabel while staring directly into the camera Isabel and a friend leaning their heads together for a selfie.

Written by Isabel Kissel