Here’s a confession: I’m a soon to be junior in college (as of this month), and I still get homesick.
Every single time I come back to school, I struggle with homesickness: after summer, fall break, Christmas vacation, or even just a weekend all the same. I had figured that this homesickness business would be something that would just disappear as time went on my freshmen year, but to my disbelief, it crept back up as sophomore year approached. All of my friends were counting down the days to get back to college, and I was sitting in my not yet furnished apartment thinking about home and how I should’ve transferred after all. I loved (and still love) my college. Do NOT get me wrong, but being four hours away (the sad thing is that’s not even that far) seemed far enough where I felt that I was missing out on important events and life moments revolving around my family.
Even though I do struggle with homesickness from time to time, I’ve learned that there are many different ways to distract myself until I have adjusted back to my school routine and settled in my new classes with my friends by my side.
- It is perfectly okay to visit home. Just don’t do it too much. Especially at the beginning. Spending too much time at home makes it even harder to come back, and you can miss out on a lot of great college experiences if you’re always at home.
- Try new things. Try a new restaurant, running route, hairstyle, or anything else. College is the time to branch out and learn new things about yourself!
- Focus on the positives about the place you’re in instead of being upset about the things you’re missing at home.
- Talk to your loved ones, but not TOO much. Check in, share exciting news, and go to them for support when you’re struggling. Just remember that college is the place to gain some independence. Your college friends become your family, and they can be there for you just as much if not more since they’re in the same place as you.
- Allot some quiet time for you to relax and settle down, but don’t hole up and isolate yourself. Surround yourself with good friends so that loneliness doesn’t creep up.
- Get involved. Find a way to make the school you attend seem smaller and less overwhelming. Whether that be a sorority, a church, club, student government, you name it… become a part of something.
- Do things that make you happy. Paint, go for a walk, play cards, bake, attend a concert, read, write, listen to music, or find a part time job that can keep you busy but not overwhelmed.
- Realize that you do not have to go out every single night. Take it easy and give yourself a break. Get some sleep.
- Take it day by day.
- Get excited about little things. Going out to dinner with a group of friends, football games, day trips with your sorority sisters, brunch, or movie nights are great ways to stay busy and have a good time.
- Make your dorm room/apartment personal and welcoming. This is your new home and that’s the way you have to think about it. Buy some flowers, put up pictures, keep it clean(ish), and bring your stuffed animal no matter what anyone says. Bring touches of home but make this new space unique.
- Get excited about your classes. Find out what it is you’re passionate about and pursue that. Work hard in school and keep your career path in sight.
- Know that it is perfectly normal to get stressed, homesick, anxious, and lonely. Even when you are surrounded with amazing people at the school you love, it can happen. Allow yourself some time to be sad, but don’t dwell on it.
Above all, know that you are not alone. Don't ever think that you're the only person that feels how you are, because that is not the case at all. College is an adjustment for everyone, but it is up to you to decide how you deal with the challenges that this new life stage brings. Take it one day at a time, and focus on happiness, not homesickness.