College is a time for opportunity and growth. It allows students to learn who they are and live independently. With that independence, however, comes moving away from home.
As students move out of hometowns and away from family, they experience a yearning for home. This yearning may come as a tinge of loneliness or an empty feeling. Some may even define these emotions as Homesickness.
For me, homesickness hit me my second night of freshman year. Moving out was a fun experience for me. Sure I was going to miss my family, but the thought of a new life on my own was exciting. As I sat in my new college apartment that first night I felt nothing but excitement. Unfortunately, this was NOT the case the following night.
That second night on my own reality sunk in. I began to realize I was responsible for my life choices such as cooking, cleaning and making sure I woke up for my 8 a.m. class. As I was laying in my bed I began to miss my brothers and my parents more than I thought I ever would. Yes it was good to be on my own, but I missed what was so familiar to me. I missed home.
No two students experience homesickness the same, in fact some may not experience it at all. One Study showed that 52% of college students feel homesick at one time or another. So chances are you will feel homesick, or someone you know will. With that being said, here are a few tips to get you out of the homesick slump.
Tip One: Have something that reminds you of home. It could be something as simple as a stuffed animal or a blanket that your grandma made for you when you were eight. Either way, having something small from home reminds you of memories and brings comfort.
Tip Two: Don’t Isolate yourself! Even though your bed may be comfortable and Netflix is calling your name, spending time alone can worsen the feeling of homesickness. The more time you spend alone, the more you think. Try joining a club, playing games with roommates, or even just studying in the library. Trust me- being around people helps!
Tip Three: Explore around. Drives are what kept me sane freshmen year! Sometimes homesickness comes with being in a new environment. Cedar City is unique and home to amazing views-so explore them! Take a drive, check out local shops, go hiking, or spend a day sightseeing. Exploring will help you familiarize with the area and find comfort in a new place.
Tip Four: It is okay to stay in touch- sorta. Staying in touch with family is great- in small doses. Calling your mom is great, but take a break. It is okay if you don’t talk to your mom every single day. College is a time for exploring who you are and meeting new people. Don’t let skyping your mom for two hours every day get in the way of you making lifelong memories at college.
In the end we each experience homesickness differently and cope with it in different ways. It is perfectly okay to miss your parents, friends, or even a family pet. However, you shouldn’t let that homesickness control your college experience. If you feel like you need someone to talk to CAPS is a wonderful resource for Southern Utah University students who are seeking free counseling. They say home is where the heart is, so make SUU your home!