As you leave home to attend college, you leave behind your support system, a sense of familiarity, and comfort level. You, like most others, associate very strongly with the place you have learned to call home. And it can be very distressing when you can’t physically go home when you're in need of security and comfort. As a result, it's not uncommon for you and countless others to experience homesickness during your college career.
Symptoms of Homesickness
- Feel anxious about separation from loved ones
- Constantly think about home
- Feel anxiety about your performance
- Feel isolated or lonely
- Feel different from othersthat you think are having a good time
- Feel depressed/sad with low motivation to study or to make friends
- Yearn for a connection to someone who will “take the pain away and make things seem alright”
“The only way to make sense out of change is to plunge into it, move with it, and join the dance.”
--- Alan Watts
The Good News about Homesickness!!!
While homesickness can be painful, it also presents you with an opportunity to grow beyond who you currently are. It represents a challenge to take charge of your life and learn new skills for dealing with your emotions and with others. When you work to master homesickness, you'll increase your range of comfortable experiences which usually leads to increased self-esteem and a sense of independence.
How to Cope while Creating a Second Home at Behrend
- Accept that you are presently feeling a sense of loss and discomfort. It may take some time for you to feel as comfortable here as you do at home. But you are capable of surviving these feelings if you allow yourself to calm down and get oriented.
- Bring familiar items from home to your new location. Photos, plants, stuffed animals and memorabilia can be a source of comfort as you ease into your new environment.
- Keep in touch with the people from home; arrange a time to go back and see them, but give yourself time here to meet other students.
- Take action. Structure your time. Participate in student activities.
- Focus on things that relax you: deep breathing, listening to music, going for a walk, exercising, or talking with a friend.
- Try to make new friends by talking with those on your floor or in class. Participate in orientation activities or other activities designed for students to meet one another.
- Exercise and sports are a great way to meet new people and reduce stress. Sign up for intramurals or check out the weight room at the Junker Center.
- Establish a balance between work and leisure. You are NOT expected to work ALL the time!
- Be gentle with yourself and give yourself time to adjust. The transition to college is difficult and requires you to be patient and forgiving of yourself. Laugh at your mistakes --- you’re learning!
- Remember --- you are not alone! Homesickness is experienced by most college students. If you continue to feel distress, do not hesitate to talk to your RA or to one of the personal counselors. Talking and receiving support early on can help ease the transition to college and alleviate symptoms of homesickness.