Homesickness is just another part of your journey through college, even as a teenager, you may find that you still miss home. The important thing is to not be embarrassed or ashamed, as it’s perfectly natural to miss your home, your family, and even the life that you’ve left behind. If not dealt with early on, it can become crippling and prevent you progressing throughout your education even if you are capable.
Why do people get homesick?
Everyone is different, but there are usually identifying factors amongst freshmen that are similar. Many miss the support of their family in general, and being around people that they know and trust, and have grown up around. When you start college for the first time you are thrown into a world of unfamiliar faces and even if you thought you were excited and prepared, this can be surprising and daunting.
The best thing to do to deal with this is usually exactly what you don’t want to do – get out and make friends. Join clubs and societies. You might feel like sitting alone in your room, missing home; but this type of behaviour early on is going to alienate you from your classmates and you may be perceived as unapproachable. The first few weeks of college are often the most important in solidifying friendships and meeting peers so it’s vital that you make yourself available during this time and accept new people into your life; after all, these are the people that you’re going to be living amongst for the next few years.
What if I want to go home?
If you live relatively close to home, there is no reason for you to not make the occasional visit back home to see your family, in fact this is encouraged as it will ensure you are keeping in touch with your family and help ground you. For most this isn’t very convenient however, as they may be studying at a college on the other side of the country (or even abroad). For this reason it is advised that you don’t make an impulsive or irrational decision to go back home and neglect or give up your studies. You will have already made financial arrangements and sacrifices to get where you are now, so relinquishing all of that over the negativity you are feeling may not be the best idea – after all, this stage often passes.
Phone your family and those that you are close to and trust, tell them how you feel. Sometimes you might find all you need is a pep talk and some encouragement to keep going. A few months on and you will likely have made your mark in your new environment, found new friends and a new pace in your college life. There’s also no reason that you can’t keep in touch with family and friends back home especially with the use of the internet.
How can I overcome this?
The key is balance and patience. You will probably miss home at first, but stick it out and try to stay positive. Focus on your studies primarily, and forging new friendships as a second priority as this will help to stop you feeling lonely and like you have no one to turn to when you need help. Support groups are also an excellent source of, well, support.
Make sure you pack some keepsakes and photographs to put out in your new dorm, as this will make the place feel more familiar and “like home”. A lot that comes with your new life is different responsibility. Managing finance and being in charge of the shopping and cleaning can feel a burden if you have little experience in these areas and this can intensify the feeling of missing home, so make sure you seek out help when you need it and remember your mother is only a phone call away.