A long way from home
By Amber George
As the new school year commences and professors begin handing out rigorous assignments one after another, new students may start to feel some home-sickness kicking in. Nothing will ever quite compare to mom’s home cooked meals, dad’s cheesy punch lines or a childhood home. It can be a difficult transition and, though many students are thrilled about the idea of living on their own, it can be a huge change.
While most of the Lumberjacks on campus can return to those nostalgic memories in a matter of hours, there are numerous students who have traveled across the country in order to attend Northern Arizona University. From places as near as California, all the way over to the East Coast, students have gathered together to be a part of NAU.
Freshman Elizabeth McNulty, a marketing major from Rio Ranch, New Mexico, is ecstatic to be starting something new.
“I decided to come to NAU because it is so much smaller than any schools in New Mexico,” McNulty says. “I felt that I would be more included and that people actually cared whether I succeeded or not.”
With the school’s population at approximately 15,000 students, NAU offers small class sizes and more intimate learning. Students are able to connect with not only their classmates, but their professors as well. Small class sizes means more one-on-one learning can occur; and students are able to feel more at home in the classroom.
There is no forgetting where they came from, of course. Students find many ways to keep in touch with their friends and families, especially with the ever-expanding wonder of technology.
“I text my friends back home a lot,” McNulty says, ”and send them pictures to let them know that I am thinking of them.”
Sarah Kingery, a freshman art education major, traveled from Calhan, Colorado in order to attend the university.
“I have family in Prescott, so I have been to Arizona many times,” Kingery says. “It is nice to be out on my own. NAU also had the major I was looking for; and it wasn’t as expensive as the college I wanted to attend in Colorado.”
NAU’s locked-in tuition that does not fluctuate throughout the years helps students save money. This is something not many universities offer, and so it helps NAU seem more appealing.
Also, with hundreds of different degrees to pick from, NAU is able to attract a wide variety of students with a wide variety of interests. From accounting and aerospace studies, all the way to theater and music, there is bound to be a major to interest everybody.
Like Kingery, freshman criminal justice major, Tyler Cruz, also came for the majors.
“I chose NAU because it has a pretty good criminal justice program.” Cruz says, who came all the way from Seattle, Washington. “I try to stay busy and not really think about home. If you are able to keep busy and have a fun schedule, it is pretty easy to keep your mind off it.”
Traveling from a few states over is Tori Khersonsky, a freshman communication major. Khersonsky traveled from San Antonio, Texas, which has a much different feel than Flagstaff.
“What I miss most about Texas is my friends and family,” Khersonsky says. “I also miss the friendly culture and good drivers.”
Khersonsky decided to come to NAU for the scholarship she received, and says that she was really excited about the university’s water polo team. She also says that keeping busy and using Skype in order to keep in touch with her friends back home helps to keep that home-sick feeling at bay.
All the way from New Brighton, Minnesota, Sarah Dehnbostel, a freshman art education major, also believes she chose the right college.
“I came to Arizona a few years ago for a family vacation,” Dehnbostel says. “I fell in love with the mountains and forest, and I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life here.”
She keeps busy while working towards her major, but still occasionally misses her friends and family back home.
“The first couple [nights,] it was bad,” she says. “I stayed in my room sobbing, but now if I ever feel homesick I try to walk it out, talk to people, meet new people, remember where I am and gaze at the mountains.”
College is a huge step for most, because many are moving away from home for the very first time. If the home-sick blues start to creep in, it helps to remain calm, talk to friends, call your family or keep busy.
“I realized that I get home sick because my friends aren’t here.” Dehnbostel says. “But if I make new friends here, this will be my home.”