Leaving home to attend college is both an exciting and challenging event.
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For many students part of the challenge of college is dealing with feelings of homesickness. Here are some ideas that may help you deal with the transition from home to college.
Top 12 Ways To Cope With Homesickness
- Admit it
Admit and accept that you are homesick. Try not to bury the feeling. Don’t drink more, party more, or have sex just to make the feelings go away. Allow yourself to feel sad, to have a good cry.
Walk around. Get to know the Brockport campus and the surrounding community. When you discover some fun places and activities, you may feel more comfortable and in control of your situation.
- Get involved
Consider the things you like to do and explore what student activities and organizations are available to you. Your residence hall is often a good place to start. Attend campus events. Getting involved will immerse you in college life, help you make new friends, and reduce your time to be homesick. It might feel difficult, but many other students will be doing the same thing.
- Keep familiar things
Soften the shock of your new environment by having items from home in your residence hall. Familiar things such as pictures and favorite possessions can help you feel more comfortable while you adjust.
- Have realistic expectations
Try not to expect yourself to be perfectly adjusted, organized, popular, or dressed. Recognize that you’re learning, and have a sense of humor about your challenges and mistakes.
- Be open
The more open you are to NEW things, the less you might miss PAST things. Be open to exploring new situations, opportunities, people, classes, and choices. Try to avoid comparing your new environment to home; they’re different. It might be scary to face so many new things, but they will provide opportunities to meet new friends.
Getting involved with others and making friends is a key way to reduce homesickness. Inviting roommates, classmates, and neighbors to explore with you can initiate new connections, as can responding to the invitations of others.
- Keep in touch
Stay in contact with friends and family. Share your new experiences with them, as well as the fact that you miss them and your home life. Decide whether it’s best for you to have more frequent contact with home (because it helps you feel better) or less contact (because it makes you feel worse).
- Plan a visit home
Knowing that you’ll be going home at a specific time may be comforting and allow you to invest in campus life. While going home can be relaxing and help ease the transition, doing so too often may result in constant readjustment and feeling worse.
- Take care of yourself
Get enough food, sleep, and exercise. These are important for both physical and emotional well-being. Do things that you enjoy. Try to establish a routine as soon as possible. Create a balance between work and leisure.
- Talk about it
It can help to talk about feelings of homesickness with a roommate, friend, RA, RD, family member, or counselor. You’ll find that you’re surrounded by a lot of support. You may also discover that others have similar feelings. It’s a sign of strength to accept and talk about what is troubling you.
- Give it time
Overcoming homesickness is a gradual process for most people. Realize that adapting to a new situation is difficult and takes time. Let yourself ease into it, and college will eventually feel like your home away from home. However, if your homesickness persists and interferes with your academic performance, relationships, or general functioning and well-being, consider making an appointment to talk with a counselor at the Counseling Center in Hazen Hall: (585) 395-2207.
*This information was adaption from material included on the University of North Carolina at Ashville website.
The Top Ten Ways to Combat Homesickness
Those tell-tale signs are appearing. You start to miss your kid brother’s pranks that frequently involved frogs or some hideous member of an insect species. Or you start to feel more forgiving about the missing clothes, CDs, or yearbooks that magically found their way into your sister’s closet. You just miss familiar sights, sounds, and places of home. "What’s wrong with my mind?" you ask. Fear not! It’s probably just homesickness. Homesickness happens to most people at some point in their lives. But it’s downright annoying when you’re supposed to be testing your wings, enjoying the exciting days of college. Yeah right! In the spirit of David Letterman, here is a list of Top Ten Ways to Combat Homesickness:
- Stick around as much as possible your first month of school. Friendships get made at this time, and it’s harder to get involved and make friends in October if you’ve returned home every weekend in September.
- Approach one new person on your residence hall floor [or class, or union, etc. if you live off campus] each day and try to get to know them. You’ll be surprised at how pleased other people are to be noticed by you, and you may stumble onto someone whom you’d like as a friend. After all, that person may be having that same “fish out of water feeling” as you are.
- Suggest that a group of people from your residence hall floor go to supper together. Your "floor" might develop a habit of going down to dinner at about the same time each evening. That way you’d know there would be friendly faces in the cafeteria, even if you were running late some evening.
- Living in the townhomes or off campus? Cook a meal together, or wander downtown and sample the “fine cuisine” that Brockport has to offer.
- Volunteer for some project, job, or club on campus. Having some responsibilities can make you feel connected on campus. Besides, you may meet some great people!
- Try to "get up and get going" even if you’re not feeling enthusiastic. Sometimes the feelings follow the actions, and withdrawing in your room may make you feel worse.
- Instead of going home this weekend, discover some fun things on campus, go to the Friday movies at the Strand, or take a bus to one of the local malls.
- Talk to your roommate or a trustworthy friend about feeling homesick. You may hear how they coped!
- Remember, it takes time to develop friendships. Be open to new people and experiences, and friendships will form. The process won’t happen overnight!
- Be patient with yourself. Leaving home and starting college is like swinging on a trapeze; it’s scary to let go of one bar before you’ve firmly grasped the next, but it gets easier with practice!
*This list was adapted from information included on the Illinois Wesleyan Counseling Center website.