Homesickness can happen to anyone, whether you absolutely love everything about your college experience or you’re having a little trouble fitting in. No matter when those homesick feelings hit, however, you can deal with them without letting them ruin your day or your week. Find out how to cope with homesickness while away at college, whether you moved across the state or across the country.

Turn Your Room into Your Home

Your dorm room might not have any personality when you first move in. That doesn’t mean it has to be an unfamiliar space for the whole year, though. Start by hanging up photos of your friends, family, and pets. Leave room for photos of your new college friends so you can celebrate everything that makes you who you are. Sprinkle mementos from your hometown around your space, and connect with new friends by sharing hometown stories with each other.

Make a Point of Socializing

You might be tempted to hide in your room and dwell on your loneliness when homesickness strikes. Make a point of getting out and spending time with friends and classmates instead. Sure, your new college friends don’t know you as well as your high school friends do. Maybe you haven’t found the perfect study spot or a coffee shop where the baristas have your order memorized. Remember that when you make the most of your new living situation, it will feel familiar and homelike sooner.

Keep Connecting

In high school, the timeline for connecting with classmates often seems very firm. It isn’t always easy to make new friends or join a different group after the first few weeks of school. In college, the timing isn’t nearly as strict. In fact, you can join clubs, connect with new people, and expand your social circle all year-round. If you haven’t made the perfect group of friends in the first week or two, you still have plenty of time.

Stay in Touch

Going to college can mean a lot of adjustments for you and your high school friends. Just because you’re all busy with school and dealing with big changes doesn’t mean you can’t be there for each other, though. Try scheduling a FaceTime date or a chat session once a week so you can catch up and offer moral support. You’ll be able to maintain the connections that are important to you and get the support you need while still building an awesome college life.

Reach Out

It isn’t unusual to feel alone in your homesick state, especially if you haven’t told anyone how you feel. Keeping it to yourself is bound to make you feel worse, so let your new friends know how you’re doing. Rather than looking for commiseration, make it clear that you’re looking for fun new activities to help you feel more at home. Chances are that your new friends know just how you feel and they, too, could use some help adjusting to college life.

No matter how much you love where you came from, remember that home is where you make it. Use these tips to stay true to yourself while embracing your new home away from home.

Whether it’s your first year or your last year in college, it’s important to know that scary situations can happen on even the safest college campuses. Rather than worrying what might happen when you head to class or go out for the evening, prepare yourself for any situation instead. Learn how to stay safe on campus with these six tips.

Stick With Friends

Going out with a friend or a group is an easy way to stay safe, as you can keep an eye on each other. Feel like taking yourself out to dinner or doing a late-night library session solo? Message a friend to tell her where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Then check in with her when you’re safely back in your dorm. Develop a habit of doing this with a few friends, and you can keep an eye on each other, even when you’re not together.

Keep Your Plans Private

Social media platforms are great places to learn about events and connect with fellow attendees. It’s also a great place for others to learn where you’re going and when. Rather than broadcasting your plans to everyone, adjust your privacy settings. Ensure that only close friends or family members can see which events you’re attending or consider not using social media for event planning at all.

Know Your Campus

Virtually every college campus has a security team that works hard to keep students safe while walking to class or when partying after dark. If you don’t know what the procedures are, though, you might not be able to use campus security effectively. Familiarize yourself with safe routes on campus, learn about security officer escort services, and locate emergency phone stations on campus.

Be Prepared

Even if you want to be spontaneous, take a minute to prepare yourself before leaving your dorm. Always bring your phone, a spare phone battery, your keys, your ID, and some spare cash. With these things in hand, you’ll be able to call for help or get a ride home in any situation.

Lock Up

It’s easy to get comfortable on campus and trust your dorm mates implicitly, but that doesn’t mean you should relax your personal security standards. Always lock your door and your windows when you leave your room, and keep your keys somewhere safe. By doing this, you’ll prevent uninvited guests from entering your room while keeping both you and your belongings safe and sound.

Learn Self-Defense

Even if you never have to put your self-defense skills to work, you’ll feel empowered knowing that you can fend for yourself. Take a class or teach yourself basic self-defense moves. No matter what life throws your way, you’ll be prepared to protect yourself.

Whether you’re walking to class in broad daylight or heading to an off-campus party at night, being prepared is essential.