In college, it can often feel like you’re living in another world. Time goes by differently. Your priorities change. You’re surrounded by different people from different places who are miraculously right in the same boat as you. Sometimes, it seems as though home is some far away dream, a black-and-white movie from the past. For some, this is the best thing to ever happen to them, but for others, it can feel like pulling teeth.
At least for me, it’s the latter. From the start of college, I’ve always struggled with a battle against homesickness. I would have these amazing days and experiences at school, yet still have a small pull in my stomach, wishing I was in my childhood bed or watching TV in the living room with my parents. I felt grateful to be at school and to have this new level of independence, but mourned the days when I could avoid my responsibilities and get away with it.
I think oftentimes at college we feel pressured to not feel homesickness. In a way, it almost seems cool to be that person who never texts their parents or who has already settled into this form of adult life. On more than one occasion I’ve heard individuals brag, “I haven’t talked to my parents since the start of the semester!” And although the thought of that fills me with dread, it also incites this terrible feeling of guilt because I wonder if I should be doing the same thing? Am I being childish for texting my mom at least once a day? Is it weird to want to go home on random weekends, just so I can remember what it’s like to have a room entirely to myself?
After a year and a half of fighting it, I’ve decided that the answer to those questions is a firm no. I am not childish or weird or crazy or even in the minority of college students. I may not have the data right in front of me, but I have a feeling that a lot more of us are homesick than we let on. And the cool thing is, that’s totally normal!
If you don’t think so, put it into perspective. You’ve probably spent the last 18 years of your life surrounded by the same people living just about the same life. You were comfortable, a big fish in a small pond even. Change (aka college) felt exciting because it was new, but maybe also became daunting, exhausting, or anxiety-inducing because it felt unfamiliar. New friends had to be made, classes picked, and about a million other little things had to be remembered. The novelty still shone through but that old comfort dissipated, creating feelings (big or small) of fear…or homesickness. Now, the only thing close enough to that familiar feeling of home is a phone call or a text message.
What I’m trying to say is, call your mom. Or your dad. Your siblings, cousins, grandparents, even Facetime your dog! And don’t do it for them because they miss you. Do it for you. Don’t be ashamed about it. Run through the quad yelling about the mail center to your mom if that will make your day brighter! In the end, we’re all just trying to make it through these four years alive and relatively happy. You have your whole life to not call your mom, so why not do it now?