Navigating Homesickness Amidst the Transition into College

Throughout my college experience thus far, I’ve noticed a stigma surrounding homesickness, and it’s time we do something about it. 

Moving states and beginning my journey in higher education has been filled with both highs, and lows. I spent a majority of my high school experience wishing away the years spent in my hometown as I craved something new and exciting. However, as the days of my departure approached, I wanted to run away. The unknowns of college amidst a global pandemic left me feeling very unsettled, but if I were to have run away from the discomfort, I wouldn’t be where I am today in my college journey. 

As I said goodbye to my parents, I felt as though I was saying bye to part of myself. But deep down, I knew I was ready to take further ownership of my journey. Over the years, I’ve learned that my anxious thoughts think they’re looking out for me and protecting me, but they’re only hindering my success. The voice inside of my head told me I wasn’t capable of the college experience; that was far from true. As I shared these overwhelming thoughts with my parents, spoke them out-loud, and wrote them on paper, I realized the lack of compassion I had for myself. Instead of getting upset with myself for having these overwhelming thoughts, I wish I would’ve saw them for what they were and allowed them to pass. In other words, I’ve learned that letting your thoughts take over your  thoughts on success and your own capabilities is a form of self-sabotage. 

Bristol working from home scene Photo by Mikey Harris from Unsplash Attending the University of Denver has been of one the most beautiful opportunities, as well as one of the most intimidating. When I’m feeling overwhelmed and not worthy, I crave being in a space that is familiar and comfort, but this was hard to find the first few weeks of school. However, as soon as I took control of this new journey of mine, and didn’t listen to these intrusive thoughts, real growth began to take place. 

I remember calling my Mom the first day of orientation and sharing with her how much I missed home in that moment. All I wanted to do was be in a comfortable, familiar environment, but she had reminded me that wherever you happen to be in life, you’ll always find yourself missing someone or something, so try your best to be present in that very moment, because soon you will wish you hadn’t wished it away so soon. When I sense these feelings of homesickness come over me, I acknowledge them, but I set a boundary to their effects on me as well. 

woman sitting alone looking out window Photo by Anthony Tran from Unsplash The act of being brave required me to sit in my own discomfort and allow the unfamiliar to become the familiar. Now, when I wake up in the morning, I look forward to the day that rests ahead. I learned how to handle the feelings of homesickness. No matter how long you’ve been on campus or in a new environment, homesickness and the yearning for comfort is okay and it isn’t a sign of weakness. We must acknowledge our thoughts for what they are and not let them stand in the way of us reaching our potential. If I hadn’t given myself time to discover my love for the city of Denver and what Colorado has to offer, I wouldn’t have found the best of friends, or the clubs and organizations that encourage me to be better. 

 

Be patient with yourself and set boundaries to your thoughts––don’t let them control you.