Paper #2 Final Draft

Maddie Mardesen

Paper #2

15 October 2009

Can you guess the homesick student?

Can you guess the homesick student?

According to research done at the University of Montana, “35% of new students experience some homesickness;” the students at Morningside are no exception.

Sydney Brisco is one of those students. However, Brisco, a sophomore double major in biology and chemistry is not at all surprised. After selecting a school approximately eight hours away from her hometown of Scottsbluff, Nebraska, homesickness was expected. In fact, her proneness to homesickness is part of the reason she picked Morningside. Brisco says that if she had gone to a school close to home, she would go home every weekend.

At Morningside, this is not an option, “if there is a break longer than three days,” is the only time Brisco goes home.

Brisco is not alone; homesickness is a very common problem at Morningside, says the college’s personal counselor Dr. Brenda Crawford. Crawford can see as many as two to four students complaining of homesickness per week depending on the time of year. She says that most often she sees the most students at the beginning of the semester.

Even though homesickness is “generally a freshman phenomenon,” it is not just freshman that she sees, states Crawford. Like Brisco, returning sophomores are also at risk, as well as transfer students.

Any changes at school can cause homesickness and make students “long for the comforts of home,” says Crawford.

Certain times of the year can also trigger homesickness. Such is the case with Brisco. She says she mostly experiences homesickness if school is not going well.

“At home you always have mom to give you a hug,” says Brisco.

Most of the time, this is not the case in college. Moreover, Brisco also feels homesick when the weather changes.

Stressful times also tend to cause homesickness for Elizabeth Lippke, a sophomore Music Education major. She also knew she would experience homesickness when she went to college. Unlike Brisco, however, Lippke lives eight miles from home and returns home every weekend.

Although Lippke lives so close to the college, she still chose to live on campus “to feel more independent and to be more social with others,” she says.

It seems that homesickness can affect anyone, regardless of how far from home one may actually be. Dr. Crawford also expects homesickness from new students. She advises parents to expect it as well. She recommends that students stay at school on weekends because this is the best way to meet people and become involved.

Staying at school on the weekends can be a problem for some students. She says that having a girlfriend or boyfriend back home can complicate matters. In addition, a sick relative at home can create problems that are much larger than the average homesickness. The cases in which there is more than just that desire to go home to see people is when “my services can be really helpful,” says Crawford.

It is not always people that students miss. “People miss their pets, sometimes more than other people,” says Crawford.

Sometimes this longing for a furry friend can also disrupt sleeping patterns. If the student is so used to having that warm ball of fur at the end of their bed and they do not have that at school it can be a big problem. Crawford suggests families bring pictures of the pet and other familiar items from home to help.

Regardless of the wide variety of student situations and levels of homesickness, the same solutions and remedies are offered. Crawford says the number one way to help with homesickness is the get involved. She also says that making friends on your floor and in classes can help. Getting to know professors and visiting them during their offices hours is another great way to make connections. A further great way to cure homesickness, without actually going home, is to admit it to others. This can be incredibly hard to accomplish, especially for male students, says Crawford. Dr. Crawford also offers more remedies and helpful hints in a pamphlet entitled Homesickness at College: A Self-Help Guide, located in her office at 219 Lewis Hall.

Brisco and Lippke also have their own solutions for homesickness. “Calling Mom, or family in general,” works well for Brisco. Calling Mom seems to be a popular solution as Lippke does a similar thing.

“Calling my mom and asking how everything is at home and asking if I am missing out on anything at home,” does the trick for Lippke.

Luckily for the homesickness sufferers, “homesickness tends to resolve itself,” says Crawford.

Regardless of how far you are from home, or your age, homesickness can affect everyone. The good news is that most colleges have some sort of counselor to help with the problem, including Morningside. Dr. Brenda Crawford is there to help students when needed.

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