Homesickness is something that effects everyone in very different ways. It also shows up at different times in our lives. It is however very common to feel homesick during college, especially freshman year. I decided to write this post on how I coped with homesickness during college and some good was to face that feeling.
The end of the fall semester and the beginning of spring semester of freshman year can be the toughest time for many students. This is when the novelty of the college experience wears off and a sort of reality sets in. You are on your own and are responsible for keeping your commitments and making decisions. College is definitely a cushion from the ‘real world’. However, realizations of your independence can cause a great deal of homesickness, especially since for many people you are also physically far away from the people who cared for your for your whole life. It can be a really tough time despite the fun you may be having in college. It is especially hard if you have not found your niche of people quite yet. There are several things that helped me a lot when I was homesick during college.
Friends and mentors are really helpful in dealing with personal feelings. This can be tough in the first year of college because you may not have made friends yet that you trust enough to talk to about how you feel. I recommend trying to find a mentor, someone who is older and already has gone through similar experiences. This may be a sibling, a professor, a coach or community member. There is no exact formula for finding your right mentor. This can be really hard for people if you aren’t comfortable reaching out to people. It is important to know that there are many people out there who are eager and excited to share their experiences. Try volunteering or speaking to an advisor/professor. Not everyone will be open with you but you won’t know until you try. If you don’t want to find someone new, reach out to an older sibling, cousin or aunt/uncle.
My biggest way of combating that homesick feeling was staying busy and focusing on the present. There is so much to do in college beyond just classes and homework. I highly recommend finding some sort of hobby/club/class etc… that you really love. Something that really lets you be present and not be thinking about home. It may be soccer, painting, photography, dance or maybe you love to learn about a certain subject.
An important part of dealing with homesickness is also facing it, not just burying it. Your hobbies/passions are really important especially for the moments you are feeling unmotivated and sad however you will create a much healthy environment for yourself if you stop ignore the feelings of homesickness. I did this my creating a balance in my life between my present life in college and my life at home. I called my parents and friends from home around once a week. This gave me space to adjust but also helped me keep up my relationships back home. Creating a physical space that encompasses positive parts of your life back home can also be really helpful. Decorate with pictures and other items from home. Another great strategy for facing homesickness is to work a meditation or reflective journaling exercise into your daily routine. This allows you to get the thoughts you are having out and really reflect on what you are feeling and why you are feeling this way. College can be a busy time but just allow 10 minutes every morning or after dinner to give your thoughts some reflection. The important part of facing homesickness is creating a balance.
If the environment is right for you, that homesick feeling will grow into a positive relationship with your family and hometown. I say grow because being homesick is really part of becoming independent. You aren’t leaving everything in the dust, you are growing into your own independent human being, with your own life. If homesickness is affecting your performance in school and your relationships I recommend first trying some of these techniques for dealing with homesickness, but if you still feel that way, asses your environment. It may not be the right school for you, for many reasons. This doesn’t mean transfer right away. It just means assess what is going on around you and see if it meets your values and how you want to be living.
I just wanted to make a few notes on the outfit and location from these photographs. This is the historical location for Gennett Records in Richmond, Indiana. The studio was very well known and recorded many famous musicians (including Louis Armstrong). The tribute now is very beautiful! These are my new favorite pants. When I ordered them I loved the color but was definitely nervous about being able to pull off the style. I am still getting used to the fit just because I have never owned anything like it before but they are so incredibly comfortable and I really like how they fall. So cute and great for looking dressy but being very comfortable.
Thank you for reading, I hope this was helpful. The process for writing this piece was actually incredibly reflective for me. It helped me think about my college experience more and how I have changed throughout the past four years.