Fighting Homesickness Your First Semester

The first few weeks of college can be rough to put it lightly. Although moving to a new place with all new people and a new way of life is exciting, it’s also challenging, and at times we long for the stability and comfort of our own home and our own people. I was terribly homesick the first few weeks of college, and I was sick on top of that. I didn’t know what to do. When you're feeling homesick, you want to cry, sleep, eat a lot, and just give up. It’s easy to forget that almost everyone feels this way. While I was going through my rough time, I figured out some ways to cope with missing home.

1. Know that you’re not alone.

Nearly every single girl who goes to college, or anywhere new for the first time, will feel homesick. Even with the excitement of college, missing your parents and friends is totally normal. Even if you feel like you don’t belong or shouldn’t be here, I encourage you to stick it out. Going somewhere completely new with hardly anyone you know and difficult classes will make you miss the stability of home and might even make you miss high school—something I never thought I would say. Know that you’re not alone in this, and don’t feel embarrassed about it. In fact, reports say that 69% of first-year students admit to feeling homesick.

2. Get out.

This almost goes without saying. Sitting in your dorm or apartment is the opposite of helpful when you feel homesick. The dark, sometimes smelly dorm will only bring you down (and also make you want to nap). Instead of moping around, get outside and soak up some vitamin D. This time of year is beautiful on the Plains. Take a walk or bike ride around campus or set up your hammock on Samford Lawn. Go explore all of the unique restaurants and shopping downtown (Cheeburger Cheeburger is my fav). Or you could get some friends together to hike through Chewacla State Park. Not only will this distract you from feeling homesick and lonely, it will make you fall in love with Auburn and our beautiful campus and town all over again.

3. Get involved.

There are a ton, and I mean a TON of ways to get involved on Auburn’s campus. Some things are more time-consuming and involve rounds of interviews and applications, like Freshman Leadership Programs, sorority membership, or Dance Marathon committees. But even if you don’t feel like committing so much time to something you don’t know you’ll like, there are hundreds of clubs and organizations here at Auburn to get involved with. Join the Outdoor Adventure Club, Best Buddies, or volunteer a day of your time with IMPACT. Anything to fill up your time will help distract you from your homesickness, and it will also help you make a ton of new friends. Making new connections around campus is an excellent way to defeat feeling lonely at college. Dwelling on the past and your hometown friends will only keep you from accomplishing your goals, making friends, and getting involved!

4. Stay connected

Be sure to call, text, Tweet, Insta, and FaceTime the friends and family you miss most. Stay in touch with the friends you graduated with and ask them how they’re doing at college. Text your friends still in high school and keep up with the happenings in your hometown. Most importantly, call your mom (and grandparents). Studies show that just hearing your mother's voice can soothe you if you're stressed. They will be so happy to hear your voice, and I’m sure they’re missing you as much as or more than you’re missing them. Also, don't underestimate the power of a handwritten letter! Your friends back home will be surprised and touched to get a letter from you. Staying in touch with everyone back home will help you feel like you’re not so far away. 

5. Go home!

I'm not encouraging you to go home every weekendIf you go home or to visit friends at other colleges every single weekend, you're not doing yourself any favors. You would miss out on all the fun that happens on the weekends when you don't have homework or class. Although it sounds counterproductive, going back home can help in the long run. The first semester of college is all about adjusting, and it’s usually the biggest change you’ve ever had in your life. During the first weeks that I was here at Auburn, I was just ready to go back to my hometown, where I knew everyone and everyone knew me. After a few weeks of feeling homesick, sometimes the only thing that will help is actually going home. I know it helped me. Reuniting with your hometown friends and family can be just what you need to get back on track. Going home after the first few weeks of college certainly helped me, and while I was home I realized how much I actually missed being at Auburn. I couldn’t wait to go back. So, if you've tried all these things and are still feeling homesick, organize a trip back to see the people and places you've missed.