For college students, the quest for perfection can add to the risks associated with being away from home. Some students turn to addictive strategies to cope with stress and feelings of inadequacy: alcohol, drugs, binge-eating or drinking, self-mutilation, self-starvation, unhealthy sexual choices, extreme exercise, Internet 24/7 and the like.
To guard against these behaviors, create a network of relationships with people who care about you. If you’re far from home, make sure to stay connected to family and friends from camp, temple youth group and other places where you’ve experienced the feeling of belonging.
Also, look into joining Jewish socially conscious or political organizations on campus where you’re likely to connect with people who will involve you in the cause and give you a sense of being needed and appreciated. Giving back through tikkun olam is a great reminder that each of us is unique and has a role to play in making the world better.
And when you make new friends at school, a good way to feel a sense of home away from home is participating with them in familiar traditions and customs, such as celebrating Shabbat and other Jewish holidays.