Congratulations! You finally moved to college and you’re starting to settle in. If we’re being honest, you’ve probably been waiting for this day long before your acceptance letters were sent: as you should.
College! It’s independence and freedom. It’s the chance to be your own person without your parents looking over your shoulder. But as the excitement of moving away from home starts to settle down, chances are you might be starting to feel a little homesick.
Don’t worry! It’s completely normal. In fact, over 70% of first year college students reported feeling homesick. I spent the first 18 years of my life living in the same city and having to move to a completely new environment was a shock. Slowly, I felt my homesickness less and less as the weeks stretched on. Just remember, home will always be there for you.
In order to cure your homesickness, I’m going to give you my top 6 tips on how to deal with homesickness while you’re at college
1. Make your dorm room feel like home
At the end of the day, you’re going to want to return to a room that’s familiar to you. For some people, this means having the same decorations in both your room at home and at college. For others, it means bringing an old blanket or pillow along with you to remind you of home. These home comforts will brighten up your room. The more familiar your room is, the less anxious you’ll be.
My dorm room in freshman year had almost 60 different pictures of my family and friends taped to the walls. During the harder times, I’d sit on my bed and stare at the pictures while remembering that there’s so many people in my life rooting for me.
Use your decorations in your room as motivation and also as a way to remind you of home.
One of my friends took it upon herself to move all of her lights and posters from her old room to her dorm room. Unfortunately she didn’t realize how barren her room was until she went home for Thanksgiving and winter break. Be sure to divide your decor evenly so you don’t end up sleeping in a blank room for a month!
2. Stay busy and create a schedule
Orientation may be an overwhelming time but at the end of the day, you’ll be so hyped up on adrenaline that you’ll realize you’ve hardly thought of home throughout the hectic day. The saying that “time flies when you’re having fun” is certainly true. As you keep a full schedule, you may barely realize how much time has passed.
By having a full schedule, you should create a routine. Creating a routine allows you to look forward to something and make your new home feel like home.
Once classes start, you’ll start being overrun by deadlines and assignments. Don’t lay around watching Netflix and waiting until you become busy as a way to combat your homesickness. Make yourself busy by finding new activities to do during orientation.
3. Familiarize your surroundings
Unless you’re going to a college where you know the city inside and out, you’re in unfamiliar surroundings. Of course you’ll feel lonely and miss your home. The only way to change that is turning your new college town into your new home.
Explore your surroundings! Find the best cafes around campus. Spot the movie theaters. Plan late night adventures into the city. Locate the best study spaces on campus. Imagine the fun you’ll have running around. There are limitless adventures that someone can get into while spending four years at college. It’s only your duty to start those adventures by allowing yourself to see it as your new home.
When I moved to college, I moved from a house I’ve lived in for practically my whole life to a place where I didn’t have any comforts. The trees were different, the weather was different, and even the water tasted different. The only way for me to turn an unfamiliar place into a familiar place was to get to know the city.
Only after exploring my college town was I able to feel comfortable in a previously unknown and unfamiliar place. I found my current favorite study space on campus, my favorite place to watch the sunset (shown in the picture above), my favorite dining hall, and my favorite cafe.
4. Leave time and be patient with yourself
Even though you might be itching to go to every event in fears that you might miss something, sometimes it’s best to stay in. Missing one event isn’t the end of the world. Everyone needs time to just sit in their dorm room and soak it all in. Mental breaks are important and beneficial to adapting to change. You will have four years of college, four years of experiences, four years of building relationships. There is time. It is ok.
Also understand that homesickness doesn’t just disappear. It may stay with you throughout your four years. Sure you’ll notice it less and less but you won’t wake up one day and just never miss home again. Just remember that college is not a permanent move. You will go home and home will always be there for you.
5. Embrace it
If you know you’re homesick, you should embrace it! Homesickness is so common. Everyone experiences it in different ways. Don’t wallow in your sadness. Yes, you’re in a new place but these are your four years at college that you cannot get back.
If you don’t accept it, you may continue living in denial and be in a grouchy mood. And believe me, that does zero good for you, especially during the first month of college.
Only after you admit it, you’ll find that there’s loads of people who are in the exact same boat as you. Find a common ground and use each other to get through the hurdle.
I met one of my closest friends as we were both crying over having to say goodbye to our families. Walking away from our families was hard. We held hands to comfort each other and remind ourselves that being homesick isn’t abnormal. We bonded and created the beginnings of our support system at college. Take initiative and start making friends.
6. Make time to stay in contact
Your family and friends back home will love to hear about your time at college. Make sure to clear time out of your schedule to have weekly calls and FaceTimes. But don’t spend your entire days and nights calling your family. You may be tempted but in the long run, you’ll only be missing out on new support groups at college and your new memories.
Staying in contact helps you in so many different ways!
I spaced time out of my schedule to be able to catch up with my friends and family every week. Even on my busiest weeks, my calls would be shortened to 5 minute calls but they left me feeling ready to take on anything. Just being able to check in and hear their voices was better than nothing.
I would not be able to imagine surviving my first year at college without my weekly check-ins.
Conclusion on curing homesickness
Utilize these tips to make the most of your college experience! Once again, there is no need to feel embarrassed about being homesick. It happens to the best of us.
The best way to deal with homesickness is to tackle it head-on with these 6 tips.
Good luck to you in your first year at college! It will be the start of your new life and you will love it.