Homesickness is, unfortunately, a common side effect of going to college for the first time. Researchers think it’s a kind of grieving process students go through when they leave their old lives behind and start something fresh and new. But the good news is that there’s a lot that you can do to fight it. Here’s what to do:
Recognize The Feeling Is Temporary
Many students arriving for their first-year semester assume that their feelings of homesickness are going to last forever. But that’s rarely the case. Usually “missing home” continues for a few weeks at most, and then the student settles down into their new life.
It’s critical to remember that when you go to college and stay in your Ohio University rentals, for instance, it’s not permanent. At the end of the semester, you’re free to return home to your family and reengage with your old life. You don’t lose it forever.
If you’re still struggling, you can always reach out to others for support. There will be multiple people in your dorm going through a similar experience, plus counselors on campus who can help you.
Find A Spiritual Community
Higher education is all about increasing the capabilities of the cognitive part of your brain. But human beings are more than just intellect: they have a spiritual side too.
The problem with homesickness is that the cognitive part of the brain gets out of control. It continually focuses on the past and worries about the future, instead of enjoying the present.
Spirituality can help. It is an outlet you can use to refocus your mind and move beyond the missing home feelings you have right now.
Create New Traditions That Help Campus Feel Like Home
You can also try tricking your unconscious into believing that campus is your home by invoking family traditions.
The idea here is simple: if there’s something that you and your family do back home, you can try recreating it on campus. For instance, maybe you had a tradition of ordering a pizza and watching a movie every Friday night. You could recreate this with your new student “family” in your dorm room.
Ultimately, you want to create a routine that feels familiar. This will help you get used to the idea that you really are settling into a new home and that everything is going to be okay.
Stay In Touch With Friends
Lastly, be sure to stay in touch with friends and family. Having regular contact with people in your life helps to smooth the transition to a new environment. If you’re able to talk to the people you love via Zoom every night, then it won’t feel like you’ve gone anywhere. You’ll then have time to acclimatize to your new environment, bypassing feelings of homesickness altogether.
Feeling homesick is perfectly normal – and something that affects a large percentage of people who go to college. Just know that you’re not alone and you can get through it. There are plenty of other students in the same boat as you.