Your first year at a university, one that’s away from home, can be stressful and filled with anxiety, especially if you haven’t been a big traveler in the past. One of the easiest ways to get a little feeling of home is to watch your favorite sport or go to the games, but if your team is nowhere near your school, you may have trouble finding ways to do that.
Worse, it can be difficult to make friends in a new town, and being busy with the first weeks of school won’t help with that. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make your first year away at school a bit easier, especially when it comes to feeding your sports addiction.
Bring a little bit of home
It will be very helpful to bring a bit of home with you, so find your favorite sports memorabilia, photos of you and your family at a game, and anything else that will help you show team pride. Having these keepsakes around you will help you feel a little less homesick and a little more comfortable in a strange place.
Make some friends
Surrounding yourself with a few good friends is always a good idea when you’re in an unfamiliar place. Not only can they provide comfort and distraction when you’re feeling low about being away from home, but they can also give you good advice about your first year and may be able to show you around town if they’re from the area.
How do you go about meeting new people? Start by going to a local football game. Even if it’s not your team, you can meet some sports fans and maybe even find a new team you like. Or, you can head to a local pub on game day and see if you can spot anyone wearing your team’s colors. Strike up a conversation and see where it goes. You never know what sort of connections you’ll make.
It might be helpful to stay connected to someone back home who can keep you up to date on your favorite team’s scores, or invest in an app that will let you watch the games you’re interested in on your smartphone or tablet. You can even use an app called, Fanatics, which will let you find nearby pubs – with fans of specific teams – that are showing the games you want to see. Keep a portable charger on hand so your phone is powered at all times.
You can also ask a family member to send you care packages from time to time that includes your favorite things from back home, especially if they’re hard to find at school. Having your old go-to comfort foods can really help boost your mood when you’re feeling low.
Join a fantasy league
Every season, there are various fantasy leagues that pop up, so check online or with your new friends to see who needs a player. Joining a game is a fun way to meet new people and suss out who the fellow fans are.
Set up your own gameday area
For avid sports fans, having a nice television and a comfy spot to host a few friends is important for gameday, so try to set up an area for viewing your favorite teams. Even if you have limited room, you can still make a nice space that will accommodate you and a few fellow fans. Grab some snacks and some comfy chairs and you’re set!
Remember that the first year of being away at school is the hardest, but it will get better. By finding like-minded friends and keeping your love of sports close, you’ll get through it in style.