Thursday, September 26, 2013

Dealing with Homesickness in College

One of my closest friends is transferring to my university this year, and I am excited to see her to show her how much I love my school. She, however, is not feeling as ecstatic to move here like I am for her because, like hundreds of thousands of people around the world, this will be the first time she will be far away from home for a long period of time. The majority of her time from now on will be of her being away from home. Although starting a new chapter of your life is exciting, it is often difficult at first to think about all of the adventures you will encounter because your mind is distracted with what you left behind in the previous chapters. 

Homesickness comes with moving away to go to college. You may spend the first night crying because of how much you miss your family. During the first couple of weeks, you may constantly think about home. Even though it might seem like you are the only one feeling these emotions and crying your eyes out, the person right next door to you in your dorm hall most likely is going through the same time, and so is the person next door to them and so on. Moving away from home to attend college is often the first time people are away from their families for a long period of time. Although it is inevitable, there are ways that can help you deal with homesickness that I've found to help. The goal when dealing with homesickness is just that: dealing with it. You shouldn't allow your homesickness to control you and make you miss out on the fun that you will have in college.

Here are a few things that I found helpful when I was extremely homesick during the first couple of weeks of my first year in college:

Skype Your Family

Thank goodness for the invention of video chatting. Skype allows me to not only talk to my parents but also see them. Even though I am not physically with them, it seems like it when I talk to them through Skype. During the first couple of weeks that I was in college, I would skype with them every single night for at least an hour. Sometimes, I skyped with them just to see their faces and hear their voices. It allowed me to feel like I was not hundreds of miles away. When you miss your family, all you want to do is see them, and Skype allows you to do that from anywhere in the world. Eventually, as you slowly stop getting homesick, instead of talking to your family every single day, it may turn to once every couple of days and then only once a week. For me, there were a couple of times, especially during midterms and finals, where I couldn't really study because I was missing my parents. With the magic of Skype, I called them, talked to them for about 10 minutes, and then was able to get back to studying. 

Distract Yourself by Having Fun

Most universities have some sort of "welcome week" where they welcome the new college students. My university had so many activities to get my mind off of missing my family back home. It's understandable that you might feel guilty for having fun while your parents may also be missing you, too; however, they will understand that these next few years will be one of the best time periods in your life! You should not feel guilty in this case for having fun! It's college! You are suppose to have a little bit of fun! While you are busy having fun, your mind won't be occupied with missing home. Enjoying yourself while participating in your school's attempt to break the world record for the largest water battle, for example, will replace that homesick feeling. 

Befriend Someone at Your College from Your Hometown

When you have someone from your hometown as your friend in college, it's like you have a piece of your home with you. You could talk to them about that one joint on the corner of 1st Street that offers the best burrito in town or that hiking spot with the best sunrise view. I became with someone I met at freshmen orientation that is from my hometown and we bonded during our first year in college because we had that connection of where we grew up. It was nice for me to talk about my hometown and have someone who knew exactly what I was talking about. If you have a friend from your high school, for example, who is going to the same college as you, it's great at first to hang out with them so that you can talk to someone about your hometown, but it's important to note in this case that you should not cling to them the entire time. Branch out and meet new people!

I just started Fall quarter at my university and am going through a bit of homesickness after spending 2 weeks at home with my family. I'm dealing with it, but I'm not letting it affect my college experience and my studies. I think that's what the most important thing about dealing with homesickness. You have to deal with it one way or another, but you should not let it affect your studies, work, health, and college experience. We all go through it at least one time in our life, but we can't let it hold us back from having fun and working hard.

Best regards,

Lisa xx

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