Coming from California, I know what it’s like to feel homesick. I miss the beaches, the sun, the 90 degree weather in the middle of October and, of course, my family. It has only been a few weeks, and I’m already ready to book a plane ticket home. While Cali is a little too far for a weekend trip, a girl can dream. I have loved being in Philly, watching the seasons turn and being a part of an entirely different culture. There is always so much to do, so much to explore and so many people to meet. While attending Penn has been my dream for a long time, once the homework started piling on and the exams started growing on my iCal like bacteria, I fell from cloud nine and realized just how much Cali was a part of me.
I am not saying Penn is a bad place, but when you are 3,000 miles away from everything you’ve grown up with, it can be a bit of a difficult transition. Instead of wallowing in my homesickness, I decided to make Philly feel like my second home by turning my little dorm room in Ware into a place that I will miss when I leave.
My family has always been a big part of my life, and we are all close. Luckily for me, my parents have figured out how to group text, so everyday I feel like I am with my five siblings and parents. If you don’t have technologically-savvy parents, try to talk to your parents or siblings at least once a day. It helps you feel like you’re not missing out on anything at home and that you have people there for you no matter what. It also gives you a chance to talk to your family about all of Penn’s great features that will, in turn, remind you how lucky you are to live in such a wonderful place.
Planning your next trip home also helps, because it gives you something to look forward to. Another way to curb your homesickness is to call your best friends from home. Most likely, they are going through the same thing as you are, and friends will always have your back. It also helps to plan or talk about what your group of friends will do when you see each other over the next break!
I’m also lucky have an amazing roommate, and I can talk to her too about feeling homesick whenever I am feeling down. If you don’t have such a good relationship with yours, try to find someone to talk to about how you’re feeling. It may sound dumb, but it really does help. Whoever you talk to might have some helpful advice!
Another thing that really helps is spending some alone time to do the things I used to do at home. It gets crazy at school sometimes, and I need a little space to breathe. It helps me calm down and enjoy the time I have here with my new friends. Finding what makes you feel relaxed is also a big part in overcoming homesickness. Good things to do to help relax are going to the gym, reading something for fun or even doing yoga. These activities will help you refocus your energy on something other than missing home or drowning yourself in work.
The last thing that has helped me get rid of my feelings of homesickness is making my dorm room feel like my own. My roommate and I put up Christmas lights around the room, and it has made the room feel warmer. I put up pictures of my friends, family and me alongside old concert tickets and posters. My roommate and I also decided to carve pumpkins for the holiday, which reminded me of family traditions. Starting new traditions in a new home gives me something to look forward to and a way to start my new life in Philly.