4 Ways to Battle Homesickness This Winter

Living on your own for the first time is both an exhilarating and nerve-wracking experience. After being sheltered and cared for for the first eighteen years of your life, you, like so many others, leap out of the nest and are plunged into a strange town alongside thousands of new friends. Practically nobody knows what they’re doing or where they’re going, and it’s natural to miss the certainty of home. Even when you know you’re not the only one going through it, homesickness can feel like an incredibly lonely burden. Here are four ways to make it more bearable.

1. Stay connected

In this day and age, it’s easier than ever to keep in touch with loved ones, whether it’s by sending a quick Snapchat in the morning or by mailing postcards cross-country. In high school, I used to lock myself in my room for hours on end without contacting anyone. Now I find myself texting my mom (time zones permitting) every time something even remotely interesting happens, whether I just went on a date with a cute boy or found a funny picture on the UC Davis meme page. Knowing what people back home are doing and sharing your own experiences helps you feel involved in each other’s lives, even when you aren’t physically together.

Image source: bruce mars

2. Find a change in scenery

The first few weeks after a quarter begins, you’re probably spending a lot of time getting adjusted. Everything is exciting and new. After a while, however, it all becomes routine, and that initial enthusiasm can quickly be replaced by treacherous monotony. Instead of feeling that you’re on an adventure, you begin to get the feeling that you’re stuck in one place, far from home. 

Fight that feeling. Challenge it. Take a different bike route home, or do your homework at a newly-opened coffee house instead of Shields Library. Try out a restaurant you’ve never been to before. Sometimes, a lot of our mindset is connected to the space that we’re in, and when we change our environment, we can change the way we think.

3. Get involved

Sometimes when you’re feeling blue, it’s easy to hole yourself up in your dorm and retreat into a bubble of self-pity. It’s something that we’re all guilty of at one point or another. While having time for yourself is important, too much time just exacerbates the feeling of isolation. Getting a job, joining a club, or volunteering can help you meet new people and create a family away from home.

It could also be an important way to remember what you hope to accomplish at college. Reminding yourself of your goals and dreams gives you a sense of purpose, and makes your time away from home more worthwhile. You’re already putting yourself in an unfamiliar place, so why not keep striving for new experiences? Make your college life memorable, and make it worth the sacrifices that you are making to be here.

Image source: Min An

4. Celebrate your roots

You can look forward to the future while also honoring everything that brought you to where you are. Being unabashedly proud of your history helps you keep in touch with yourself, and also gives back to the community around you. Students are coming from all across the world, and they all bring a unique constellation of knowledge with them. So don’t be afraid to represent your home, from the languages that you speak to the traditions you uphold. College is all about discovering who you are, after all, and part of that is remembering where you come from.