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Mental Health

Combating Homesickness at an Out-of-State School

Fifteen hours. That is how far away my parents house is from where I attend school. I’m a junior this year, so at this point I’m pretty used to the distance between us, but I will never forget being dropped off freshman year. I’m a pretty optimistic person and was able to convince myself that yeah, I’ll be sad, but it won’t be that hard to get accustomed to life in a new state. Little did I know I would be heading straight to my dorm room to cry myself into a comatose-like nap after classes for the first week. Eventually, I got over my homesickness and began living my best life, but I want to share some tips I found useful when dealing with that “I’m totally alone and my family is nowhere near me” feeling. 

Call/Text/FaceTime Home Whenever You Need

I admit this one may seem like a given, but that doesn’t make it any less important. It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re burdening your family and friends with calls and that they’re doing just fine without you, but they want to talk just as much as you do. Just hearing the voice of a loved one you’re missing or getting a text from them reminding you that “you’ve got this!” can make a world of difference.

Home-ifying Your Space

One of the hardest parts with settling into life at college is getting used to a new space. Suddenly you are no longer living in your childhood bedroom, and you may even be sharing a room with a randomly assigned roommate. Decide to take this daunting challenge as an opportunity to create the most stylish and comfortable room you can imagine! Hang up pictures of your loved ones, decorate it however you want, and turn it into your new home away from home. Make sure to do activities you enjoy when you’re there, like self-care nights and hanging out with new friends, not just homework. I figured out that getting my homework done at the library or in one of my dorm’s common study areas made a world of difference in how I felt about my room.

picture of dorm room
Original photo by Nicole Katz

Plan Your Next Trip Home

Whether the next time you go home is for a long weekend at the beginning of the semester or isn’t until Thanksgiving or Christmas break, plan your trip! I don’t just mean booking a flight months ahead (this may be a good idea, though, financially speaking) but planning certain things you want to do when you’re back at your old stomping grounds. In the days or weeks leading up to your trip, think about the things and people you miss most. Maybe it’s that little coffee shop you would go to with your friends, or your family’s favorite restaurant. It could even be that tree in the park that you carved your initials into. Whatever it may be, make it a point to visit those places and see those people that you missed while at school, because it’ll make coming back a lot easier.

Face Your Fears

florida state football field
Original photo by Lauren Sparling

College is scary, there’s no doubt about it, but would you rather be sulking in your room and missing home or getting out there, making new friends and new memories? Hint: It’s the second option. Sure, sulking is necessary sometimes and everyone loves a good cry, but you cannot let it get in the way of your time at college. Go to campus events, join a club (like your university’s Her Campus chapter), or go explore the city/town your college is in. Not only will these things be a distraction from your sadness, but soon enough you’ll find yourself totally immersed in the new life you created. Then, by the time you do go back home, you might be feeling a little homesick for your university.

Autumn Gilbert is a psychology major in her junior year at the University of Kansas. She is passionately vegan, spends too much money on clothes, and is probably watching Grey's Anatomy as you read this.
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