I remember my first night in college. My roommate had already gone to bed and I was alone in the dark and the flood gates opened. I was so sad. I didn’t want to be there… I wanted to go home. I texted my good friends, sister and dad all telling them I wanted to come home. I missed my dog (and family).
GAH (I’m tearing up just thinking back)
I was homesick.
Moving out and into your dorm room will be a BIG change. I thought I was ready but my first night I knew it was going to be a lot harder than I thought.
However, I had already paid first semester tuition and there was no way I was going home.
To be honest, I feel being homesick is rarely discussed. If it was discussed I think students would have a much easier time dealing with it.
The first couple days of moving into my dorm I was just really sad. I remember realizing different things and breaking down. One thing I specifically remember was I would have to wash my towels. I know what you are thinking… towels.. really? But always at home there were clean towels when I needed one. Here, I would have to wash my own. I was devastated. I know it is a silly thing but for a homesick-student like I was, it was huge.
I told myself to take it one day at a time and slowly things did get better. I began making new friends, memories and more. Before I knew it, USC had turned into my new home.
But the homesickness was still there.
My first semester ended in December and everyone went home for winter break which was just shy of a month-long. A whole month at home!! I was so excited. I vividly remember getting home, tossing all of my stuff in the room, grabbing a fuzzy blanket, plopping down on the couch, snuggling with my dog and watching a Christmas movie. I was SO happy to be home. It was a much-needed break from school. I kept busy during my break by shopping, traveling, hanging out with friends and shopping some more. A lot of my friends had said they were so ready to get back to school but I had never reached that point.
Heading back to school, I was ready for the new semester but my homesickness stuck again. I was not on a schedule, my unfamiliar classes scared me and I just wanted to go home again.
I knew I just needed to get into a routine and I would be fine but that first week was horrible. I just wanted to cry and I did.
My biggest tip here would be to talk to someone. Let it out. Cry. Don’t hold it in. The worst thing to do is just to pretend you are fine when someone comes into the room. It all will build and you don’t want to have your emotions bottled up.
So many times I would just brush off my homesickness and it would really build up. That is not good. It wasn’t good for me. That is why I suggest making sure to talk to someone.
Chances are, your friends have felt the same way and will be there for you. If anything, if you let your feelings out to even a new friend maybe it will bring you two closer.
Also call your mom and dad, sister, aunts, uncles, whoever could help you during this time. They would be more than happy to hear from you and I believe a familiar voice comforts the soul.
If you live close enough, schedule a weekend trip home. This can be a time to relax and be with family. I was lucky enough where home was just a 20 minute car ride away. If you live too far, have a Skype or Facetime date. A “date” over Skype really can brighten up your day.
If your parents/friends/family members are able, see if they could schedule a weekend trip to see you. You can spend time with them and even show them around campus! A lot of my friends from out-of-state had their parents and friends visit and they all loved having them around.
My main point of this post is just to share my story of being homesick. I believe everyone goes through this at some point. I thought a personal story would maybe help someone realize that it is OK to be homesick. There is nothing to be ashamed of.
In closing, here are a few more tips to help deal with missing your family, pets, friends, etc.
- Establish a routine. I felt so much better after I had a set routine. I knew what I was doing (or should be doing) everyday. For me I got into a routine of waking up early, going to the gym, coming back, showering, making breakfast and coffee and relaxing for an hour before I had to get ready for class.
- Have time for you. This could be finding a cool spot on campus, reading a book in a study room or just watching YouTube videos. Sometimes it is good to have me time so you process all thoughts. This is what I would do when I would drink my coffee. I would check Facebook, browse the news, etc. It allowed me a short moment to myself before what were often busy days.
- Be open to change. Obviously, I had to start washing my own towels. If you are open to change, which college will be a BIG one, then adapting to your room, life and new peers will be much easier. Know that your old routines may not stick and new ones will be formed.
- Talk to someone. Your Resident Mentor, Resident Advisor, or anyone who may work in the building should be willing to talk. Sometimes talking out your feelings helps the most.
In closing, my freshman year really was amazing. I made so many great new friends and have learned so much in the last year. That’s about all I have for this post. I am not an expert on dealing with homesickness but I know what I did and thankfully I feel I have been able to overcome it. I hope you don’t let homesickness bring you down. I fought through mine and honestly I am a much stronger individual now.
Hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any questions on homesickness feel free to leave them in the comments below.