By Andrea James
Dealing with homesickness is a huge part of being a college student. Most people get hit with it at some point (or even at several points) during their academic career. After a little while, homesickness usually goes away. Despite how it seems in the moment, you will not feel this way forever. Still, homesickness can be rough, so here are a few tips to help you cope when a wave of homesickness bowls you over. First, though, I want to say that it’s okay to feel this way. It’s normal; it’s natural. You are jumping into a whole lot of new things at once, and that can be terrifying and very unsettling. It’s okay to be afraid. It’s okay to miss your life back home, but there are lots of great things college has to offer! College is full of amazing people and experiences that will stick with you for the rest of your life. There will be bad experiences and you will meet not-so-nice people as well, but hopefully the good will outweigh the bad in the end. You don’t want to miss those good experiences or amazing people because you were locked up in your room all the time. Instead:
- Try to figure out what’s hitting you the hardest, what you miss the most. If it’s the faces of your friends and family, then maybe you can set up a weekly Skype date. If you really miss your room back at home, then try to add a touch of familiar comfort to your dorm room. For example, you could buy the same detergent you use at home so your sheets smell the same. If you miss your pets, have your family include them in the aforementioned Skype calls, or you can visit the local animal shelter and cover yourself in kittens and puppies for an hour. There are also a lot of animal-related livestreams available online for free. Do what you can to attack the ‘triggers’ (so to speak) and root out the homesickness at the source.
- Get out of your room and out of your head. Join a club (Read our post “So Many Clubs, So Little Time!” to see what clubs are at PUC), get a job on campus, participate in a study group, or just go for a walk with a friend. Don’t isolate yourself; it will only make things worse. This doesn’t mean you have to go to every SA event or can never “me time.” Just make sure you spend some time outside enjoying PUC’s beauty or talk with a friend every once in awhile.
- Be kind with yourself, and patient. Most of the time homesickness doesn’t disappear in a single day; it takes a little while. Give yourself time to adjust. Don’t pile on eight classes and three clubs your first quarter—get used to the workload first, and then you can commit to way too many things like everyone else.
- Talk to someone who’s going through the same thing. It will help you not to feel so alone. You can share family stories and pictures of your cats!
Finally, make sure what you’re feeling is really homesickness and not actual depression. Talk to one of PUC’s counselors (it’s free!). Even if it isn’t depression, they can give you proper professional advice and techniques for dealing with homesickness and whatever else you may be going through.