How to be a freshman and deal with your new friend’s homesickness
Homesickness in college is normal, but sometimes we forget that. It is a huge adjustment for everyone leaving home and transitioning to live on their own. Amidst the craziness of welcome week, meeting new people, and adapting to living in a dorm, we are also separating from our parents, potentially for the first time ever. As the hype from the first week dies down, we realize that this is real. A few weeks go by, we meet friends and the routine becomes more comfortable. So, what happens when you see a friend struggling? What happens if a friend comes to you saying that he/she is homesick? These are a few tips and tricks to helping friends and yourself survive the homesickness that happens the first semester of college.
Listen. The biggest help you can be to a friend is to be there to listen to them. It is important that they feel heard and like they can vent. Maybe bring over some chips, a pizza and boxes of tissues. Get ready to listen to their perspective.
Show them love. Your friend needs to know that they are loved not only at home but also at school. They need to know they have good friends that genuinely care about their well being, and want them to be happy as much as they want themselves to be happy. Be affectionate to show you care. A good hug goes a long way.
Explain that it is normal to feel this way. Anxiety from the transition to college tends to lead to homesickness. Express to your friend that the transition from high school to college is difficult for nearly everyone. Most people act like they have it together, but in reality most people get anxious and homesick as well. As soon as the friend can realize that it’s normal to feel anxious, lost and overwhelmed, they can embrace the college experience.
Distract them when you can. Many times, the homesickness rises during times when we aren’t completely busy. For the times when your friend is very homesick, take them out to do an activity. Sometimes leaving campus can help, but if that isn’t an option, find fun events on campus to attend.
- Encourage them to get more involved on campus. Having clubs and organizations to be a part of is a huge way to help the adjustment to college. It is a great way to meet new people, and spend time doing things you’re passionate about. It fills up time that could be spent stressing about missing home, as well as allows the friend to make the school feel comfortable and more like home.