First year is always the hardest, especially when you’ve moved out for school.
You’re taken out of your normal, comfortable environment and thrown into a new one where everything is unfamiliar. You have to buy your own food. Clean your own house. Do your own dishes. It’s inhuman, really—and although it’s probably been a while since you moved into your new residence, chances are you still feel homesick here and there. And I get it.
As my university studies began, I could practically feel excitement pulsing through my veins as I embraced my newfound identity as a post-secondary student. But when my parents left the parking lot after helping me set up my new room, my sadness hit me way harder than I expected. I struggled to ignore the thoughts of missing my parents, my siblings, and my best friends—until I picked up some amazing pointers during orientation week. I’m confident that if you feel even the least bit homesick, these tips will help you cope with missing your loved ones.
Let it All Out (But Be Acceptant)
It’s never a good idea to hold onto tears and sadness. When I saw my parents tearing up, my walls broke down in an instant—I cried hard and I wouldn’t let go of my mom’s hand. But eventually, I had to let go. I went back to the dorms and cried even more (to the point where I think I scared off my roommate), but a good cry really does make things better. You’re never alone in feeling these emotions; being away from home is hard, and nobody can blame you for being sad. Just remember that accepting homesickness makes it easier for you to get over it.
Adapt to Your Environment
Many students feel homesick chiefly because they refuse or struggle to adapt to new people, different teachers, and unfamiliar surroundings. The very best way to adapt is to explore! I get lost easily, so I attended the campus orientation for first year students. I met several first years just like me, got to see the whole campus, checked out the school’s massive library, and even signed up for upcoming events around campus. Another way to adapt is to do something you would normally do at home, like going on a morning jog or visiting a café to enjoy coffee and a good book. This will make you feel like you’re part of your new environment instead of being an observer. And trust me: you’ll adapt more effectively by being outside rather than being trapped in a stuffy room.
Get Out There
One of the best things about attending university is meeting new people. I struggled with this a bit because I’m a shy introvert, but a small push is all it takes to make a new friend. If that’s not your cup of tea, you can join clubs that suit your interests. Clubs in university seldom have an entry deadline, so you’re always welcome! It also helps to also get involved with your new community. Whether it’s by volunteering or working at the university library, getting involved makes connections blossom into friendships. I, myself, signed up for a bit too many clubs and couldn’t attend all the meetings, but the ones I went to were filled with people who have similar interests. That made school way more enjoyable and less lonely for me.
Sure, you should call your parents once in a while to update them on school, work, or any other cool parts of your life. But don’t call too often. If you do, your homesickness will likely return—and even though home probably has all the junk food, high-speed internet, and comfy furniture you could ever want, it’s good for you to moderate the time you spend back home. Every time my mom and I spoke on the phone, she’d ask, “Kaylee, do you miss me?” And I’d say “no!” I know, I’m a bad daughter and stuff. But I did this for a reason. She always laughed when I said that, and it’s because she knew we kept in touch enough that I didn’t have to miss her; we never felt distant from one another. If you actually miss your parents, though, let them know. I’m sure they’d be heartwarmed to know how much you’d like to see them.
How do you get over homesickness? Are you still feeling it now? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
*Opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of Student Life Network or their partners.