Attending college far away from home is most people’s first time without parental guidance. It’s when you realize that there’s no one to hold your hand, nor a fluffy dog to snuggle at night. It’s when you have questions like which detergent to use or how to get an oil change. It’s when you actually start to become educated on real life and not solely from textbooks. Whether it hits you immediately after move-in-day or on a random Wednesday halfway through your junior year, the point is that everyone finds themselves homesick at least once during their college career.
Eventually, you learn how to control it. But if it’s your first time feeling this way, you may just find yourself balling your eyes out or even looking into transferring schools because you miss home. And that’s okay. You can’t get rid of homesickness, but you can dwindle it with these tips.
- Make your dorm or apartment actually feel like a real home.
Think about ways you can express yourself through decoration and spice up your room the way you dreamed of. If your safe place is not what you love and feel comfortable in, chances are you won’t be happy spending time there.
- Add a little family/friend tradition.
Is there something special your family does at home, like Tuesday night dinners? Keeping elephant statues all around the house? Or Monday game nights? Find a way to incorporate the things you love and miss about your hometown into your new college life.
- Find friends that make being away from home easier.
Join organizations that interest you and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. New friends obviously can’t replace your family, but they sure can feel like family. Every student is bonding over this new, vulnerable experience at the exact same time. The relationships you make in college can be incredibly deep and fulfilling.
- Just let it out.
No matter how much you wish you could choke down the tears because you love the new college lifestyle, it’s okay to cry about your departure from childhood. We’re afraid about crying over home because it could appear as though we dislike the new life we’ve created. It’s as though we’re saying we’re not doing okay on our own. The majority of students have been under their parents’ supervision for the past 18 years, and this is one of the hardest adjustments you may go through. Accept that some days you will want to hear your mom shouting for dinner rather than eating another cup of ramen.
- When in doubt, call home.
Call home and tell them that you love and miss everybody, but don’t wish to go back. Unless every day since move-in has been the worst day of your life, you’re just in a rough patch. It’ll get better soon.
There is no one answer on how to handle this stage of life. It starts off hard (really, really hard), but it gets better. It’s not always a straight climb uphill, sometimes you fall back down and have to allow yourself time to breathe. Homesickness is normal; it’s a sign that you loved your hometown- even for those that claim they hate it.