There were a lot of factors playing into the way that I was feeling. I’m two hours from home, I’m the second oldest of four siblings, but the first to have to move away for college, I am four hours away from my boyfriend who attends college in Springfield, and the list goes on. Though SEMO is one of the closest universities to where I live, I still felt so far from home. It was hard for me to have to watch my family and friends who are back home live their lives and not be alongside them. I never thought to factor in being far from home or my boyfriend because it had never been a problem before. I grew up as a kid who could go, go, go, and not feel homesick. However, it was a big shock the day that my family dropped me off after move-in day, leaving me with my new roommates, who were pretty much complete strangers to me apart from a few direct messages on Instagram and a Snapchat streak.

I really thought that after a few weeks I would be fine since that’s what people told me. However, in my case, it felt like it took me longer than everyone else to get settled into SEMO. Everyone else was excited about weekend events, and I was looking forward to Friday when I could pack my bags and leave. I dreaded people asking me, “How’s college going?” because I wasn’t going to lie that I was having the time of my life, so it always made for a short and sad conversation. Maybe this is you or will be you, and THAT IS OKAY!! It really wasn’t until this year, my sophomore year, that I truly felt like I could call SEMO my “home away from home.”

So, what changed? Well, honestly, a lot.


My freshman year was a whirlwind of emotions, to say the least. I didn’t know what I wanted to study, I was severely homesick, and had a terrible work-life balance, among many other things. I mean college is so different than anything that many college freshmen have ever had to experience, so cut me a little slack. However, this year I told myself I was going to change that.

At the end of my freshman year, I changed my major. This is obviously not the answer for everyone. The decision to switch my major was a long, thought-out process. I am so thankful for the SEMO staff who are so encouraging and helpful in difficult decisions. They made the process of switching a breeze.

Along with switching my major, I believe that starting off my sophomore year with friends who I met last year made SEMO feel more like home. My favorite thing about SEMO is the lifelong friendships that it gave me. Before coming to college, I would sit and think about silly things like, “who are going to be my bridesmaids?!” I felt like I only had my one best friend and my sister. But SEMO has flipped that question to “how am I going to choose my bridesmaids?”

As soon as I came to SEMO, I got plugged into a campus ministry called Campus Outreach, which is now called Campus Movement, and it has truly impacted my life in so many ways. I knew coming into college that I wanted to get involved in a ministry, but I had no idea how blessed I would be with such an amazing community and friends who truly cared about me. I'm only a 19-year-old sophomore in college, but I know that these girls will be my lifelong friends. They are the reason I am so thankful that I chose SEMO. Here I didn’t feel like I got “lost in the crowd” or had friends who didn’t care about me but felt like I had the most genuine friendships I had ever experienced in my life.

Not to get all sappy, but seriously, SEMO is filled with some awesome people. Get involved in clubs and organizations and meet your lifelong friends. The experiences that you have and the people you meet are what you are going to remember about college.

That’s why it is also so important for you to have a work-school-life balance. Trust me, I understand academics are important. I am someone who still gets upset when I get a “low” grade. But I have also found that if you constantly shut yourself off and study 25/8, you WILL be miserable. Plan your day. Set aside time to study, time to be with friends, time to go to campus events, and time to just rest. I know it might seem a lot sitting down and planning each of your days but trust me it is so worth it. It will ensure that you’re getting time for homework, time to be around other people, and time to chill out, which are all extremely important to have a happy, balanced college life, at least for me.

So, what should be your takeaways?

  • Apply to SEMO! (They didn’t make me say that)
  • Choose a career that YOU are passionate about and don’t be afraid to explore new opportunities.
  • Get involved in clubs and organizations. You can find them online, or just by asking students on campus!
  • Go to events. It is a great way to meet people and make friends while having fun!
  • Plan your days! Schedule time for school, friends, and you.
  • Know that it is okay to not feel at home right away. You are not alone in missing home or feeling out of place. Know that those feelings can be temporary, and SEMO can become your home away from home!