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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at TCU chapter.

Going off to college is one of the most exciting things you get to do in your lifetime! It gives you an opportunity to make yourself anew and experience life on your own for the very first time. As fun as it is, there is also a downside to the independent journey you embark on when moving away from home. For the very first time, most of us are experiencing independence on a whole other level which consists of some exciting but also very stressful decision-making. Being away from home can bring a whole new set of emotions and even a time of grief as you leave your old life behind and create a whole new one for yourself with all new people and places. Homesickness can put a damper on your college experience and it is so important to feel your emotions, but then also battle the homesickness so it doesn’t impede your freshman experience!! Here are five ways I learned to battle homesickness so I could enjoy my new independent life and get the most out of my college experience!

Validate your emotions

Being homesick is normal and not something to be ashamed of! For the first time in many people’s lives, college is the first time they are experiencing independence, which also comes with loneliness and fear. It is okay to feel this way, and it is important to validate these emotions and not ignore them. Whether it is talking to a roommate, friend, counselor, or family member, talking through your emotions and your desire to be home or missing home habits is very helpful in validating that your emotions are real and totally normal! Additionally, writing in a journal or a note on your phone describing your feelings and fears is a positive way to express your emotions without having to speak to anyone about them and healthily maintain your feelings.

**Although, it is important to note here that this grace period of validating your emotions should be a temporary way to cope with homesickness but not something to continue to do all the time since dwelling on it can lead to unhealthy habits and behaviors.**

Make a plan of when to talk to family

For me, when I got to college, I called home daily, even sometimes multiple times a day. I wanted to stay in the loop with what was going on back at home and didn’t want to feel left out. Although it was nice to talk to my parents and siblings, hearing their voices and talking to them constantly left me feeling more sad and lonely. It made me miss them even more and made me feel more homesick than ever. Talking too much seems harmless, but it begins to take a toll on your mind and leave you feeling empty. To help cope with this, I decided to make a plan of when I was going to talk to my family weekly. We decided that I would call every Wednesday and Sunday and talk to the entire family, and on the other days of the week, I wouldn’t call. Of course, if there was an emergency, I could always call home, but making this schedule helped me not feel so much loneliness and fear of missing out.

Fill up that schedule

When I first arrived at college, I found myself constantly alone in my dorm room, and this left me thinking about home and feeling emotions of sadness since it made me miss my hometown more. I was dwelling on every small detail, and it created a sad and unhealthy space for wishful and undesirable thinking. After talking to some of my friends, they suggested that I try to fill up my schedule and participate in more on-campus activities so I wouldn’t be alone in my dorm so much. I started signing up for recreation center workout classes, signing up for different activities clubs, attending religious services, and so much more. By beginning to make my day busier and fulfilled, it kept my mind off of missing home and allowed me to meet more people and begin to experience everything my school had to offer.

**It is important to note that you do not want to fill up your schedule too much since that can cause stress and leave you feeling overwhelmed. I would suggest slowly adding things each week but taking it nice and slow so that you don’t overwhelm your schedule and workload.

Bring home to your dorm

When you get to college, everything around you is new, and nothing quite seems “homey” and comfortable yet. This is completely normal and understandable considering that everything around you has changed, and mostly time will tell with making your dorm seem more like home than a temporary space. But, there are some things you can do in your dorm to make it your safe space. In my dorm, I bought a wallflower from Bath and Body Works that smelled like my house, which made the space seem more cozy and comfortable. From home, I brought some of my favorite pictures and framed them on my wall, and also brought a blanket that I loved from home. These small little details made the space feel more familiar and allowed me to make the space my own but also bring little hints of home with it. If the other people in your room also want, adding a comfy carpet or lights around the room can make your dorm a place you want to be and feel safe in.

Schedule a visit home

Having something to look forward to is a great way to give you the motivation to push through the stresses and challenges of life and give you something to get excited about. A great way to motivate you to push through the tough times at college is scheduling a visit home in advance so that you have a plan set in place for when you know you can see your family soon. Once I got to school, I scheduled a time to go home for fall break, and it gave me something to look forward to, but also wasn’t too soon that all my hard work to rid myself of homesickness didn’t get forgotten. If going home isn’t an option for you due to financial or other responsibilities, consider having someone visit you! Whether it’s a high school friend or a sibling, having something to look forward to can help ease some of the symptoms of homesickness.

School: Texas Christian University Year: Freshman Hometown: Lower Merion, PA