As you enter college and may be away from home for the first time, you may find yourself thinking of home and what you may have left behind to come to college: friends, family, and your other communities that are important to you. Entering a new environment like college can feel overwhelming at times and make you miss home from time to time.
The first thing to know about homesickness: these thoughts and feelings are normal. Many people deal with this in some way and it may come and go throughout your college experience, especially during your first year. This adjustment can be an opportunity for growth and development, an important part of your college experience, so try to remember that even difficult moments are contributing to that.
Here are some tips and ideas to overcoming homesickness:
- Bring some pieces of home to your new environment. Whether it’s a favorite blanket, coffee mug, or chair that reminds you of home, it can be really comforting to have this reminder of home with you in your new space.
- Seek familiarity. Find a place that offers a favorite food from home or cook it (try calling for help if you need it), or find other comforts from home. This could also be a hobby, activity, or favorite movie as well.
- Be open to making new friends! It can feel like you are letting go of old friends by making new ones, but remember that having friends in college will be an important part of feeling comfortable in your new space. Your previous relationships will evolve as you mature, which will be a positive thing for you as a person.
- Get involved—but not too involved. Joining new organizations and groups can be exciting, but it’s easy to overdo it as well. Try to pick a few that really interest you or focus on something that you’re really passionate about, this will help you meet the most like-minded people.
- Bloom where you’re planted. It can be easy to fear missing out on something at home or feel like you’ve made a wrong choice if you see friends having a great time on social media. Do your best to thrive where you’re at in your present moment.
- Allow and schedule time to call, text, or even visit with family and friends from home. However, recognize that too much contact can have a negative impact and limit your relationships in your new setting.
- Build a support network. Find new friends and talk with them about what they like about their new environment but also what they miss about home. Talk with college staff about resources available as well.
- Maintain physical and mental health. Find ways to maintain your positive habits in terms of nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction. Keeping up with these positive habits will be important in maintaining your overall wellbeing and helping you to manage homesickness and everyday stress.
- If homesickness persists more than two weeks and interferes with academics and daily functioning, you may want to seek support from your college’s resources, such as a counseling center.