Help cope with homesickness by staying busy, communicating

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By Sarah Foster

When the time came to pack up my belongings and move to campus, I felt many emotions. Scared and worried, mostly.

As an only child, I was so used to having my parents around. I was used to venting my frustrations, asking for advice and just spending time with them at the dinner table. I couldn’t imagine my life any different, and change definitely scared me.

But when that time came, when they wrapped me in an embrace for (what seemed like) the last time and told me goodbye before leaving my dorm room, I felt another type of emotion stronger than ever: homesickness.

Homesickness is completely normal. Even though many college kids express the fact that they’re excited to be on their own and to live a life without their parents, they feel it. The trick is just recognizing you’re not alone.

Even if you love adventures, exploring new areas and meeting new people, you’re still bound to feel it. Even though I’m not a homebody, I still long to be at home every now and then.

Going into my sophomore year of college, I have learned some tips that help aid the inevitable feeling of homesickness.

Know you’re not alone

When I spoke with friends or looked at the social media profiles of my high school friends and saw that they were having fun, I thought something was wrong with me. I thought I was the only college kid having a rough time transitioning to a new home. 

When I started to talk to people about it and open up, however, I discovered that I wasn’t alone. I took a lot of solace in that, and you should, too. Don’t rely on what your college-aged friends post on social media; those sites are used to portray a front that isn’t always accurate. It’s their better selves. 

Talk to people who know what you’re going through face-to-face, so you can learn that it’s completely normal to feel uncomfortable and out of sorts in a new environment.

Stay busy

I’ve always been a creature of habit. When I find a routine and stick to it, I don’t tend to worry as much. I also don’t tend to dwell on how much I miss home. When I came to college, I immediately jumped into some new organizations and activities. This allowed me to make new friends and find new activities to distract me.

Pursue what you’ve always wanted

I have always been self-aware and reflective. I’m constantly telling myself that I should pursue new activities that can make me a better person or more well-rounded. I always wanted to learn how to cook, so when I came to school, I learned a few dishes. I always wanted to learn how to dance, so when I felt homesick, I went to the ARC to take a Zumba class. 

I started to become proud of myself with the more diverse activities I pursued. I started to realize that I would be fine on my own; I discovered that I was becoming more independent and self-sufficient.

Don’t be afraid to go home

Often, we are told that college kids should not go home at every opportunity. Although I wholeheartedly agree, I don’t think we should forbid ourselves from seeing home. 

When I allowed myself to go home every now and then, I felt completely refreshed, like I could take on the separation again. And, with the simple mindset of knowing home was easily accessible, I didn’t long it as much. 

Psychologically, I think our homesickness as college students arise because we know we shouldn’t go home. Don’t worry what people tell you; you can go home if you really need it. Your health is more important than fulfilling typical expectations.

The beauty of college is, it’s a time to discover who you truly are. In high school, you know who you are with your siblings, teachers, friends and parents. Now, you have the opportunity to learn who you truly are by yourself.

Instead of seeing college as the end of your family relationships, see it as an opportunity to perfect them. You can’t form a truly healthy relationship with others until you have a solid foundation with yourself.

Sarah is a sophomore in Media.
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