Whether you live down the road, or are coming from 3,000 miles away, shipping off to college can be a tough process for any student. Living in a new environment, leaving the comforts of home, and having to make new friends is all part of the collegiate experience. For some students, all of this change can have them feeling like Dorothy:
Focus on where you are
As a student who came to Rutgers all the way from California, I know more than most how hard homesickness can hit. No one from my graduating class was coming to Rutgers with me, and taking a flight home on a whim was not practical. So instead of focusing on where I was accustomed to being, I decided to focus on where I was at the moment and adjust. Asking people in your residence hall to go grab a bite to eat is the easiest way to get to know a few familiar faces.
My shift in mindset was a great success! Getting involved on campus and being social with the people in my residence hall made me feel like Rutgers was my second home. While this worked for me, I know that it might not work for everyone. My suggestion, face homesickness head-on whichever ways you feel comfortable doing so!
If you can’t physically go visit, schedule time to have regular calls with your hometown best friends and family members. Knowing that you have a scheduled time each week or month to catch up will make the feeling of homesickness more manageable. Instead of fearing what you are missing out on being at college, you can start to look forward to catching up with friends and family!
Share your Experiences and Feelings
Sometimes homesickness can really get you feeling down if you are already overwhelmed by all of the other adjustments that are included in coming to college. A little thing they don’t tell you in your acceptance to college is that every student is going to experience being homesick at one point or another! So gather some friends and share stories from home. Talking through it as a group is going to make everyone feel a bit less homesick.
Properly using vacation time
Finally, take advantage of vacations when they come. After your first experience with finals, you might just want to binge Netflix and drink hot chocolate all of winter break. My recommendation is to go socialize with friends instead! It is going to help you deal with homesickness come next semester when you have to leave for college once again. When your friends tell you all of the outstanding experiences they had the previous semester, do not get jealous. Remember to congratulate them and show you are supportive of all that they are doing at their school. When it comes time for you to talk about your experiences at college, they are going to be much keener to listen in.
At the end of the day though, it is okay to feel homesick occasionally. It is a natural result of having to leave friends and family. Take the time you need to reminisce about home, and then get back on your academics so you can proudly return for post-finals vacation with a letter stating you made it onto the dean’s list!