Here’s what you hear at university tours, open houses and from family: “College is one of the best times of your life, so go live it!” What they fail to include is that after the initial euphoric feeling of independence and ready-to-take-on-the-worldness, you WILL experience the homesick blues. Pfft, me? Homesick? Yep, you. Especially after eating the same ‘ol cafeteria food day in and day out and feeling separation anxiety from your best friends and dog. Oh and your family. But you can’t letting missing home take away from the fun of being at school. CM’s got the antidote.
1. Join a Club
That may seem like a typical suggestion, but it’s also completely worthwhile. If you don’t put yourself out there by joining a new club, a team, student activities board or student government, you could miss out on making some new, great friends and sharing how awesome you are with others. “Get involved,” Alexandra DeSourdy, USF, says. “When you’re involved, you have a ton of stuff to do and a ton of friends to be around.”
2. Make a Memory Board
Make a photo collage of some of your favorite memories with your friends and fam, but place an empty memory board right next to it to fill with new pics and memories. Cheyenne Paris, student at the University of North Dakota, shares, “Homesickness sucks. I try to keep myself busy and surround myself with things I love, like a photo of my dog or a tapestry I got on a fun trip abroad. They [friends, family] know you love them, enjoy yourself, that’s what they want.”
3. Plan a Date
Not necessarily a romantic one. Plan a weekly phone or skype date with your best friend or parents. It’ll be something to look forward to, and it’s a great way to solidify relationships with your friends and fam. It becomes a special time of week. Heather Ewer, student at Western Michigan University, says, “When I’m homesick, I send my Dad a text about something awesome that happened in my day. Simultaneously I remember that my parents are still there for me, and that my day is still going great.”
4. Put on your Chef’s Hat
Not literally of course … unless you have one and want to, then by all means … That favorite meal of yours that you swear only your grandmother or dad or aunt, and so on can make “right,” give it a shot yourself. Ask for the recipe or look on pinterest for ideas. It’s an awesome way to feel connected to home, and added bonus? It’s one less day of cafeteria food. Steph Speranza, SUNY Geneseo, suggests having “family dinners” with your friends and roommates. “It feels like you have your own little family away from home.”
5. Study, Study, Study
As fun as it is to party on Thursday nights, college is about preparing for your future. Anytime you might feel homesick, remind yourself that you’re there to earn a degree start a foundation for your future career. Choose coffee over that Fireball shot and study.
As tempting as it is to have a Netflix marathon all day (which we’ve all done, guilty as charged), get to know your new roomie and suitemates, or reach out to the person you hung out with in your club meetings. Explore your new town and campus with them, and become accustomed to your surroundings. It’ll be a fun way to take a break from studying and get to know different people.
7. Just Do It
If you’re swamped with homework, then you should probably finish it. But, if your assignments aren’t due for a few days and you’re invited to Applebee’s or the local dive bar by campus, check it out. You’ll never know how much fun you might have. Skip the excuses and just go.
8. Send Snail Mail
Remember before we had social media? Me neither. Anyway, who doesn’t love getting a handwritten letter in the mail? Become “pen pals” with your friends who are studying at other schools. You’ll still feel connected to them and it could be a new addition to your memory board.
9. Write it Out
When feelings of homesickness start to pang at you, pull out a notebook and pen (or your notes app on your phone) and start listing reasons why it’s okay to feel homesick, like, “I’m starting a new phase of my life,” “It’s awesome that I’m independent,” etc. Or, even record your favorite quotes and lyrics.
10. Feeling Blue Is Okay
If every once and a while you feel more homesick than others, it’s okay. Don’t ever feel guilty that you’re away from home. Just remember that everyone is in the same boat as you, and that it’s more than fine to be in a new place without your closest friends or family. Change is always good. Breathe in, breathe out.