Going into college, people always talk about how much fun you’re going to have, the new people you’re going to meet, and your first little taste of freedom. However, no one talks about the bad that comes with moving away from home. The fear, the anxiety, but most of all, the homesickness. I struggled with being homesick the majority of my freshman year; it was my first time being away from home, away from the people I grew up with, and I was essentially starting fresh. But I felt like I was alone in feeling this way. Everyone was posting with their new friends, new dorm rooms, new everything, and I was still stuck dwelling on the past. No one ever talks about the reality of homesickness, so here I am, to talk about it. Here are a few ways I got through it.
- Get social
The best thing you can do for yourself in a new place is put yourself out there, even if it seems scary. Meeting new people and spending time with them really takes your mind off of how much you miss home. Message people on Instagram, join one of the many clubs that colleges have to offer, or talk to someone in your class! The more that you feel like you belong, the better you will feel about being in college.
- FaceTime or call (but not too often)
Missing your family or furry friends a little too much? It’s okay to call! Video chat with them every once in a while to see what they’ve been up to and catch them up on your new life, but don’t do it every day. You need to get accustomed to being on your own, and calling every day won’t help lessen any attachment you might have.
- Incorporate some familiarity
One thing that really helped me was to incorporate some familiar things at college. I hung up pictures of my family and friends in my dorm room to make it feel a little bit more like home. This may sound crazy, but even using the same laundry detergent or the candles that you use at home could give you a sense of familiarity and make you feel better. After all, you are in a brand new place, so using things that you’re already fond of helps the new room feel less foreign.
- Start a routine
If you keep yourself busy, you’ll hardly have any time to think about how much you miss home. Starting a routine helps you get accustomed to your new lifestyle and will keep your mind off things. Start doing yoga or going to cycling classes, or find something you can do every day to clear your head and de-stress.
Let’s be honest, visiting back home is probably the best cure to homesickness, but it isn’t easy for everyone. Some people live out of state or hours away from home, but if you can, book that plane ticket or make that drive for a weekend! Lucky for me, I don’t live too far from home, and whenever my homesickness was too much I would just go back and it made me feel a lot better. It also gives you something to look forward to!
- Stop reminiscing
Freshman year, I found myself thinking about my old friends and memories from home a lot. I was not used to this big change in my life and all I could think about was the past, but this was the worst thing I could do! It just made me feel so much worse; we need to stop reminiscing about what has already happened. This is a new chapter of your life and it’s time to turn the page, make new memories, and make the most of it.
- You are not alone
The most important thing is to know that you are absolutely not alone. Homesickness isn’t talked about enough, so when I got to college and started feeling this way, I thought there was something wrong with me. “These will be the best four years of your life,” everyone says. They always talk about the good, and when you experience the bad it feels lonely. It also didn’t help that everyone on social media seemed to be doing just fine and going out and meeting new people, but it wasn’t until I started talking to my friends at other colleges that I realized they felt exactly the same way. Everyone goes through it!
It’s completely normal to miss your home, family, and old life, especially when you’re in communal showers, twin size beds, and have to pay for laundry. So, if you’re an incoming freshman or even a rising senior who still misses home sometimes, you’re not alone in this feeling. It will get better.