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Wellness

Homesickness & How to Beat It: Words from the Brandeis Community

    Homesickness proves to be one of the many major issues that students face, and although being so far from familiarity can feel isolating at times, you’re far from alone. According to a study from the U.S. National Library of Medicine, 94 percent of college students surveyed in the study have experienced some form of homesickness within the first ten weeks of their freshman year, so if you’re feeling alone, just know that many others (myself included) are right there with you1. The study also shows that there was large variability in terms of changing homesickness levels (although overall, there was a slight decrease over the term), which suggests that everyone has a different experience with homesickness and that there is no uniform perspective or way to deal with it1. I for one am quite familiar with homesickness, and I’ve reached out to several Brandeis students with some questions about their own experience. Here is what they had to say:

About how their feelings towards home have changed… 

“The longer I’m here, in Boston, the more nervous I am to go home. [M]y life (and friends) are here, and since I am the only one from my friend group to far away, I feel like everyone that I know (back home) stayed the same, but I changed dramatically. Also since my friends (back home) are all at the same college, I feel like they won’t be able to connect to me anymore because I’ll have to explain any references to Brandeis I make.” — Aarti, class of 2023

“When living in Seattle [home], I felt like a big part of my identity was being originally from the East Coast. I talked about missing the east a lot and wanting to come here for college was important to me. But now that I’m here, my identity is now that I’m from the West Coast, and I’ve been realizing that I love Seattle. I knew I would miss my friends and family but I didn’t think I’d miss the place at all. I don’t at all regret my decision and I love the East Coast too, but being far away has helped me realize that I do consider the West Coast my home too.”  — Logan, class of 2023

“As I grew my network of friends and mentors here, I have felt more distant and disconnected from home. But because I go back so infrequently, now home for me has become my special vacation from my real life, to go back into the nostalgia of my home town!” — EmRae, class of 2020

 “I see it down as more temporary, as sad as that is. But it’s also exciting to be in a new place and call that home as well.” — Lindsey, class of 2023

About how they have gotten over homesickness…  

“Building a new support system is a little challenging, but I’ve been working on being open with my friends so I can build up the kinds of relationships I had back home. I think home can be anywhere, to me more about the people around me, so working on connections with people and making strong relationships here has made me feel homesick less often.” — Logan, class of 2023

“I’ve grown more accustomed to living on campus, but I still miss seeing my family and friends regularly.” –Lindsey, class of 2023

“I think homesickness fades with time and as you feel like more of your life is now here with you at college. Face-timing your friends and family from back home helps, but it also helps to not cling too hard on those relationships and focus on your new ones!” — EmRae, class of 2020

“I have gotten over my homesickness by accepting that this is my new home and that I have to make it feel like home.” — Angela, class of 2022

Photo by Daniel Frank from Pexels

On advice for other homesick students… 

“My advice would be, reach out! Communication is so important, and there are people around you who want to listen. Join new activities, find people with common interests, and don’t be afraid to branch out or be on your own because that’s when you can meet new people. Being vulnerable is scary, but that’s how you make connections and once you build up that support system in a new place it will help you feel a lot less homesick.” — Logan, class of 2023

“Try to meet more people! Be the first to make a move when it comes to initiating a conversation or meetup [sic].” — Ana, class of 2023

“Don’t be afraid to call home, and don’t tell yourself to stop feeling sad. Because it is sad! But know that your school can also be your home, it just takes time to see it that way.” — Lindsey, class of 2023

“Be active on campus and off! If you’re involved in a ton of clubs and stuff you won’t be distracted.” — Hannah, class of 2022

“You’ll be okay! College has a learning curve. If you can smile/laugh at every little failure, and embrace your silly side (aka don’t take things too seriously) you’ll be just fine. The biggest thing I’ve learned (so far) is to a) not take everything too seriously (things will work out in the long run, as long as you work hard!) and b) forcing friendships/relationships doesn’t work. People will genuinely want to be your friend/be around you if you just be who you are and be positive. Just be unapologetically you!” — Aarti, class of 2023

“Call your parents every week. It helps to feel less homesick when you are connected with your family.” — Angela, class of 2022

Although college can be a tough transition–especially when you’re away from home–these next four (or however many) years give you the chance to make another home right here at Brandeis! If you find yourself struggling with homesickness, be sure to reach out to a friend or the counselling center; you’re not alone.

 

 

 

1English, T., Davis, J., Wei, M., & Gross, J. J. (2017). Homesickness and adjustment across the first year of college: A longitudinal study. Emotion (Washington, D.C.), 17(1), 1–5. doi:10.1037/emo0000235

 

Sophie is a freshman at Brandeis University (an East Coast transplant from the San Francisco Bay Area), and is super excited to be a part of HerCampus! Besides writing for HerCampus, Sophie loves hiking, a good yoga class, and tasty food (partial to Burmese and Dim Sum).
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