Why It's Okay to be Homesick

There are certain things you hope you grow out of. Being scared of the dark or monsters seem childish when you get older. For me, the main thing I always hoped to grow out of was always homesickness. I remember being in the fifth grade and desperately wanting to go to sleepaway camp. All of my friends went every summer and seemed to have the best time. I wanted to be like them. So I went! And it was horrible. The homesickness was insurmountable. I was overwhelmed by a desperate desire for the comfort and safety of my own home. Eventually my mom had to drive 4 hours to upstate New York and pick me up. But while I was relieved to go home I was also ashamed of myself. Why were all of my friends able to go with no problem? What was wrong with me?

I had hoped to grow out of it. That one-day leaving home would be easy. But I never have been able to fully leave my homesickness behind. Every time I go back to school I spend at least the first two weeks consumed by thoughts of home. It’s like I revert back to being a scared 11 year old.  The questions remain essentially the same: Why can’t I just be normal? Why can’t things be easy for me, like they seem to be for everyone else? However, I’ve realized something: It’s okay to be scared. And I’m not alone in it.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling homesick, no matter how old you are. Transitions are hard for everyone, especially people with anxiety. It’s normal to be scared of the unknown, because the future can be scary. There’s no reason to be ashamed of these feelings. And being able to power through them and find a way to feeling confident in yourself is an indicator of bravery. I would argue that those that try as best they can to manage those feelings are braver than those who never have them to begin with. It takes great personal strength to face your homesickness, even if that means going home and taking time off. Figuring out what you need to do for yourself is so important and will aid you for the rest of your life. So if you’re like me and you find yourself feeling homesick when you go back to school, don’t feel ashamed. It’s okay to miss the familiar and a place where you feel safe. You are not alone in your feelings. And you are stronger than you know.