Dealing with Homesickness
Leaving home and going to college brings a lot of new and exciting opportunities, while also feeling a little intimidating and scary. You’ll be able to meet new people and make new friends, live independently, develop new skills and interests, just to name a few. But amidst all the excitement in the first semester and year of college is the potential that you might feel homesick. Missing your family, friends and the familiarity of home is normal, especially in the first few weeks or months away from home. And remember, you can feel homesick whether your family or familiar setting is 10 miles away from campus or across the country.
Below are some helpful ways to ease the transition to college and feelings of homesickness.
- Bring something to college that gives you comfort and/or reminds you of home. This could include pictures of friends and family or your favorite set of sheets.
- Simply getting involved on campus and taking advantage of the new opportunities available to you are great ways to meet new people with similar interests. Initially, this might distract you from missing home. Eventually, your involvement on campus will feel more like your regular routine and your homesickness will lessen.
- Balance the time you spend keeping in touch with friends and family with time spent getting to know your new surroundings and new people. It’s important to balance the time spent calling, texting, FaceTiming and communicating with loved ones from home. It could make you miss home even more and keep you from feeling settled on campus. It might feel comforting to be in touch more in the first few days or weeks but then it is good to try to cut back on this a bit and to focus more on campus life and school.
When you’re missing home it’s easy to stay curled up under your covers in your dorm and avoid putting yourself out there. Staying in your room all day and keeping to yourself is counterproductive when it comes to homesickness. Instead of helping, it can make it feel worse.
Take the initiative early on to keep feelings of homesickness at bay: sign up for activities, meet people on your hall, find study groups for your classes, get involved in a religious group, or attend a club that you normally wouldn’t attend. One or some of these steps can make all the difference and can help alleviate feelings of homesickness and loneliness. It will probably feel a little uncomfortable and awkward at first. Remember that the other people you meet are feeling the same way as you and that you will feel more comfortable and relaxed over time.
Homesickness usually goes away after a few weeks, but if it doesn’t there are other resources available for you on campus to help you work through a difficult transition period. The counseling center and your dorm resident advisor (RA) are very familiar with helping students with feelings of homesickness. Reach out to one or both of these resources if it seems like your feelings of homesickness aren’t going away.