By Robert Icke, Student Welfare Officer and Careers Co-ordinator
No matter how excited you may be about college life, even the most independent student can find themselves struck with homesickness.
Moving away from home for the first time, adjusting to a college workload and setting up a brand new daily routine all take their toll, and sometimes, all you want to do is crawl into your bed with a tub of ice cream at home.
However mild or infrequent your thoughts about home are, you can still be considered “homesick.” At its most severe, homesickness can manifest itself as obsessive thoughts about home. It’s important to recognise that homesickness is a very normal reaction to periods of rapid change and adjustment.
More often than not people misinterpret what exactly it means to be homesick. It’s not about missing home – (your) house, (your) bed. Very often it’s about missing what’s normal and comfortable, what we’re used to, and not quite being comfortable with your new way of life. At its core, homesickness is a longing for the familiar.
Now that you know what homesickness is, it’s important to know how to deal when you get those homesick pangs.
5 top tips for getting over homesickness
1. Understand that what you’re going through is normal
The most important step in overcoming homesickness is realising that there isn’t anything wrong with you.
2. Get used to your new surroundings
A big part of feeling homesick is feeling uncomfortable with the unfamiliar. Get more familiar with the college’s campus and the surrounding area by walking around and exploring, either alone or with friends. Scope out secret study spots for when you get tired of the library and quiet spots to clear your head. The more you feel like your campus “belongs” to you, the more comfortable you’ll feel at college.
3. Stay connected with home – but not too connected
Maintaining your relationships with your family and friends from back home is important in helping you miss them less.
4. Talk to other students (or professionals) on campus
It’s easy to feel alone when you’re homesick, but other students are probably feeling the same way you are. Try talking to your friends or new people you’ve met about it.
Opening up to your new friends about homesickness can be awkward, so if you’re uncomfortable, try approaching them from a different angle. Reaching out to your friends can help you form a new camaraderie and fight your bouts of homesickness together.
Also make an appointment to speak to our Welfare Officer.
5. Stay positive. It will get better!
Many college students don’t give themselves time to deal with homesickness. Don’t let your homesickness consume you. Moving away from home, starting a new life and adjusting to college classes isn’t easy, but it gets easier! You’ve overcome difficult times before, and starting college is no different.
Although most students will experience some form of homesickness, it’s important to be aware that homesickness can develop into something more extreme. In students, homesickness can trigger anxiety and depression disorders if not dealt with.
It’s rare for homesickness develop into something more serious, but if you need to be helped, don’t keep it to yourself.
Seek guidance from a professional on campus who can help you assess your situation and help you develop a plan to move forward.
It’s important to keep in mind that homesickness is normal. We all have our bouts of loneliness at school, especially in your first year. Be sure to look forward at all the positive things your time at college holds for you. You’ve only just begun!