1. People & Relationships

College Student Homesickness 101

Being Homesick Doesn't Have to Be as Negative as You Might Think

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You may have spent so much time preparing for college that you may not have considered how much you'd miss being back home. While homesickness is very common for the majority of college students, it can be very difficult to overcome. The key to handling it is understanding where it's coming from and knowing what you can realistically do about it.

Don't Be Too Harsh On Yourself

Being homesick is often a sign that you have happy, healthy relationships with people back at home. You may miss your family, your friends, your boyfriend or girlfriend, or just your old routines and familiarity. Even though many students won't talk about it, a very large number of first-year and transfer students experience homesickness during their first few months at school. So, even if no one you know is talking about it, rest assured that many of your classmates are going through the same thing. Don't be too harsh on yourself for experiencing something that is completely normal and part of many students' college experience.

Let Yourself Be Sad -- for a Little While

Trying to fight your way through homesickness can often be futile. But letting yourself process through your emotions can be a great way of dealing with them. Trying to be stoic might end up backfiring on you, and since homesickness is a part of many people's college experience, it's important to let it process itself out. So give yourself a day here or there to be sad about all that you left behind. But make sure to pick yourself up and not be too sad the next day. A pity day here or there is alright, but if you find yourself having many in a row or feeling overwhelmingly sad, you may want to think about talking to someone in the campus counseling center. You definitely won't need to worry about being the first student in there who misses home!

Be Patient with Yourself

If you're a first-year student, you've probably made more major changes in your life than you ever have before. And if you're a transfer, you may be used to being in school -- but not this school. Consider what you've done: you've started at an entirely new institution, where you probably don't know anyone at all. You might be in a new city, state, or even country. You have a new lifestyle to manage, where every hour of your day is unlike how you spent your time even 4 or 6 weeks ago. You have new responsibilities that are pretty heavy, from managing finances to learning a new academic system and culture. You may also be living on your own for the first time and learning all kinds of things that you hadn't even thought to ask about before you left.

Any one of those changes would be enough to throw someone for a loop. Wouldn't it be a little surprising if someone didn't experience homesickness from everything? So be patient with yourself, just like you would be with a friend. You probably wouldn't judge a friend for being homesick after making such major changes in his or her life, so don't judge yourself unfairly. Let yourself be a little sad, take a deep breath, and do what you can to make your new school your new home. Because, after all, won't it feel fantastic when you realize that, next summer when you're back home, you're "homesick" for school to start again?

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