Stomping the Yard

Beating A Bad Case of Being Homesick

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Although I loved being away from home in college, I still had some tough moments when I became homesick, especially during my freshman year. Sunday afternoons were some of the hardest times to get through in college. The excitement and fun from Friday night parties, trips to the mall, and football games on Saturday had died down, and I got to thinking about Sunday dinners at home with my family and attending church. I really missed my family.

No matter how exciting your new life as a college student may be, many students have a really tough time fighting homesickness.  So if home is where the heart is, can you find that same heart and warmth in your new life as a college student?

Below, three students share their tips for beating homesickness:

1. Stay connected to home

Idalis Payne, a freshman journalism major at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill is a native of Charlotte, North Carolina. Although Charlotte may not be far from the Chapel Hill campus she says she fights her bouts with homesickness by simply calling home! Many students may think forcing themselves to not communicate with family and friends at home may be the best remedy to stop missing them so much, But Idalis encourages students to also write letters, or consider Skyping.

“For me, it’s always easier to remember that college was the right move, especially in today’s world,” she shares. “When I am homesick, I’ll make that phone call home, but then I’m right back to being active on campus.”

2. Get involved on campus

Deneen Borner, a freshman from Chicago, Illinois, has definitely had to make some adjustments as she’s majoring in accounting at Mississippi Valley State University in Ita Bena, Mississippi. Deneen says getting involved in campus activities has helped her transition successfully.

“Campus life is the best life,” she says and she advises students not to stay in your dorm room. Deneen recently made the majorette’s team and is involved in campus activities, which has helped her meet new people.

 3. Gain strength and comfort from your spirituality

Idalis also relies heavily on her faith to help her get over being homesick.

“Sometimes I just read the Bible, or look at the scriptures on my wall to remind myself why I’m here and that my family wants me to be here as well,” the UNC freshman shares. “It’s all about reminding yourself that you can get through it, even if you’re missing home. Scriptures help me understand that I’m never alone.”

4. Maintain some of your routines and practices from home

“I do things I would normally do if I were at home,” shares Yaw Brooks, a sophomore from Chicago studying sociology at University of Illinois, Springfield. “I love to play basketball, so I make sure to get together some friends for a good game. I’ll also make efforts to go out and enjoy eating a great restaurant, too.”

5. Find a mentor

Mentors can provide a great deal of support when you’re away from home. Professors and graduate assistants can provide academic advisement, but can also lend a hand in your personal development, too, and make great mentors. You may also find a potential mentor in an aunt, distant cousin, or some family member that lives in the area that you attend school.

Sometimes a Sunday dinner with them can get you a home-cooked meal and a outside down-to-earth perspective, plus support with some of the challenges you may be facing as a student. And, don’t make the mistake of overlooking local or campus churches for mentors who can provide spiritual insight, which can be motivating and beneficial for your academic and social pursuits. Finding a mentor who may be a pastor, counselor, etc. may help you become a more well-rounded individual.

6. Explore your new city

I went to college in Washington, DC–the nation’s capital. And, with all the historic sites and great attractions the city has to offer, I didn’t make an effort to experience a lot of it until my final week prior to graduation. I did a White House tour, visited the Holocaust Museum, and a great deal of the Smithsonian museums in about two days! Get out your dorm room, and experience your new city, the people, and allow that new culture to expand your horizons.

7. Focus on your school work

Remember your primary focus is to obtain your college degree, and that’s always an effort that warrants the majority of your time and attention.

About Kelly Fair

Kelly Fair

Kelly Fair is the founder of the highly successful Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program that  has served more than 700 girls, aged seven to 17 years old, to be effective communicators, and career and community conscious leaders! This work has been supported by a network of 300+ volunteers from the Chicagoland community and area businesses such as Bloomingdale’s, Microsoft, ThoughtWorks and many more. You can follow Kelly on her blog and on Twitter at @KFairtheMentor.