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Coping with Homesickness During Freshman Year

Moving all the way from Queens, New York to Waco, Texas didn’t feel real to me at first. Throughout the whole summer, I felt like I was in denial about leaving everything I’ve ever known. I’ve never been the type of person that gets homesick, or very home-oriented in general. My parents would fly to the Philippines for weeks at a time to handle the family business, or to spend time with my kuya (older brother) who goes to college there. When it came to my friends, I’m lucky enough to say that I’ve been blessed with ones that don’t care about how long it has been; we just go about life and catch up like we haven’t lost time. Distance wasn’t important in the relationships I forged with the people I love. Nothing could ever change what we had between us.

After settling into Baylor, it felt weird to truly be independent: to juggle responsibilities like cleaning the suite bathroom, cooking for myself, budgeting my allowance and keeping track of assignments. Suddenly, I had to actively catch up with my friends who were busy with their own lives while simultaneously trying to make new ones here on campus. I had to Facetime my parents instead of yelling down the hallway to ask about whether I can throw my converse in the washing machine. It’s easy to get caught up in the buzz of the first semester and busy yourself with new activities to try to forget what you’re truly feeling inside. I had to admit to myself that I missed the way my life was before college. Don’t get me wrong, I love Baylor with my entire heart — the beautiful campus, the interesting classes and the southern hospitality that I would never even dream of encountering up north. But, my people, my home and my heart were in New York City. Adjustment periods take a while; you aren’t expected to move in and immediately be acclimated to your surroundings. Get to know the people in your hall and your classes!

It’s hard to start over, especially as the feeling of the high of being a senior drastically ends, and suddenly, you’re at the bottom of the food chain again. I love talking to new people, but at first I thought it was really hard to fit in. Girls would look at me weird for being blunt about how I feel, or for having a real opinion that differed from theirs. I was scared to be shunned, and I missed how easy it was to be myself back home. I missed talking to my friends without having to schedule if and when we could call each other, I missed seeing my dogs, I missed running to the bagel store on my corner, I missed the convenience of taking the subway and going into the city on weekends. I talked to my roommate, Maddie, about how I felt and found out that she understood me wholeheartedly. Maddie’s from Dallas; she missed her home too. It is likely that the people you talk to on campus understand how you feel about your life changing, but know that this is for the better, no matter where you’re from or where you’re going to college.

Every person copes with change differently. Some people settle in and hit the ground running, while others need a little more time to process their new environment. Both ways of coping are completely valid! As college continues on, be prepared to try to open yourself up to new things and new people. If you think that it may be something more than missing home, talk to counselors on campus since they are readily available at the Student Life Center. Explaining your situation and figuring out ways to let your feelings out is always better than keeping them to yourself. No judgement at all, you’re not alone here! Creating connections with people new and old may be just what you need to feel a little less homesick in your new home.


Baylor Counseling Center: (254)710-2467

Walk-ins and appointments accepted

McLane Student Life Center, 2nd Floor



Joanne Gotanco is a freshman Medical Humanities major on the Pre-Med track at Baylor University. She is a LONG way from home (NYC reppin!) and has two shih-tzus named Max and Ruby. When she isn't rewatching Friends for the millionth time, she can probably be found hanging out at Moody Library or at the Fuego drive thru. Things that bring her joy include: fluffy socks, beaches, sushi, and long plane rides.
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