By Michelle Kuester–
Leaving home for the first time with a sense of permanence is an undeniably exciting experience. However, along with that excitement comes the feeling of missing home. It can be anything about home: the familiarity of the town, pets, family, friends, even mom’s cooking.
Homesickness is one of the most common adjustment problems students who leave home for the first time are faced with.
According to licensed psychologist and personal counselor Dr. Brenda Crawford, homesickness is not just an incoming freshman issue. Sophomores and above can experience it as well. Homesickness can be re-ignited over long breaks like winter break and spring break as well.
“It can happen to anybody at any grade,” said Crawford.
When a student is homesick or worried about things at home, the chances of them not attending class increase. This can snowball and lead to suffering grades. It is important to quickly figure out ways to alleviate the problem before it gets overwhelming.
There are several ways to help cope with homesickness, according to Dr. Crawford. First and foremost, acknowledge that you are feeling homesick and realize that it is completely normal. Remind yourself that other students are feeling the same way, even if they do not talk about it.
Talk to someone close who has travelled far from home and pay attention to how they dealt with it. Put up a couple photos of things you miss from home mixed in with photos of new friends or groups at college. Get to know the campus by taking a friend and exploring interesting things to do and see. Get enough food and rest as these are both vital for emotional as well as physical health. Exercise. Get involved with student organizations and activities. Keep limited contact with people back home.
“Transitions can be hard,” said Crawford.
It is important to get involved and not become isolated through the difficult period of homesickness.