While college can be full of some of the best times of your life, it's also one of the hardest times. For many students, they have just graduated high school and are about to embark on their adulthood journey. It's a time of firsts, specifically the first time being away from home. For some students, home is just a few hours drive away and for others, it may take a plane ride to be able to get home. Regardless of where you go to school, one thing that affects all students, regardless of age, is homesickness and we should embrace this natural part of growing up.
When I made the 800-mile move from home to begin college, I knew I would be homesick. My family has always been there growing up, and not having them physically there would be so different. No matter how much I had prepared myself for missing home, when the time came, I remember feeling so hopeless. It was October of my first semester and I was already sick. Midterms and assignments were looming and I just couldn't handle how stressed I was. While I had my boyfriend, all I wanted was to be able to vent to my parents, in the comforts of my home. I wanted to forget about responsibilities and play with my baby brother or to joke around with my teenage brother. Unfortunately, I go to school too far to be able to make weekend trips, so all I could do was call home. I remember when my mom answered, I immediately started crying and said, "I miss you guys." I am so grateful to my parents for talking to me and reassuring me that everything would be okay. And they were right. I made it through the next few weeks of school and went home to see them for Fall Break and was able to get a breath of fresh air while spending time with my family. The next semester and the following school year were a lot easier than that first semester. While I still missed home, I knew what I needed to do to keep myself happy. I called my mom a lot, made Skype dates with my parents and brothers and sent my brother funny pictures and videos.
In the present day, I am now 5,000 miles away from home. I have to admit this is a new kind of homesick. Not only am I missing my family, but I miss my boyfriend and my friends. I even miss my co-workers! While it's a challenging time, I know that I have the support of my loved ones and they are just a phone call away.
My point in sharing this story is not to make being away from home seem scary, but to shed light on the reality of moving away for the first (or second) time. I think that so much emphasis is put on how much fun there is in college, that we forget how stressful it can be. Many students begin to miss home and they feel alone, when in reality, just about everyone else feels the same way. Sharing our stories about homesickness can help subside those feelings and encourage other students to embrace that being homesick is a normal part of going off to college.