Starting college…this is supposed to be a time of celebration and new beginnings…right? It can be, and it can also be a stressful time full of struggles and unknowns. This article is intended to help you with tips on how to cope with homesickness when you find yourself asking these questions:
- Why is it that I don’t mirror the same enthusiasm and spirit as others on my floor?
- How is it possible for other people to adjust so quickly?
- Do others struggle with missing their home community as much as I do?
- How do I cope when school gets stressful, especially since I am far from home?
Try some of these helpful tips out, figure out which ones work for you, and feel free to add to the list and share it with others!
- Bring some items from home that are important to you and can remind you of your home. These can be pictures, cards, and small objects among other things. Having these nice little reminders of home will help your new environment feel more like home.
- Don’t forget to write! Journaling can be a nice activity to get your feelings down on paper. Get creative if you feel so inclined and include pictures or create a collage of memories.
- Share stories of home with your roommate and other people you meet. It is perfectly okay to tell your roommate about the time you pulled the greatest senior prank and what that meant to you. This can give those people who are getting to know you better a sense of your personality and it gives you a chance to feel free to express yourself in your new environment without losing touch with those memories.
- Just like with your classes…take notes! Speak to an older family member or friend who has gone through a transition period and find out what helped them to adjust. Figure out how much of what worked for them may also work for you by putting it into practice.
- Remind yourself that some of the things you are feeling are a natural response to what is going on for you right now. You are losing quite a bit of familiarity and stepping into unknown territory. It’s not easy; no wonder you have some sadness and loneliness!
- Take some risks! Get involved in a campus organization that interests you; ask others over to your residence hall room for a movie or game night. It pays off in the end and helps you to find people you can connect with.
- Remember that others around you are new at this too, several others are learning how to adjust to a new community at the same time that you are. Be open to the learning curve that is present and be prepared to make mistakes…it makes learning all the more fun!
- Be honest with your struggle. There’s amazing comfort in saying the word’s “I’m homesick” out loud and hearing from someone else “me too.” It takes away that sense of isolation you may have felt before. Also, keeping your emotions inside you will only lead to further emotional troubles such as depression or anxiety. You may even become physically sick; as stress increases, our immune systems become compromised.
- Know that there are resources available for you and people on campus who are invested in seeing you succeed in your time at BGSU. These people and resources include your RA, professors, academic advisors, student health, and counseling center staff. Use these people and services to get your needs met.
The Counseling Center offers Stress Clinics every Monday and Thursday afternoon on topics such as Relax Your Body, Free Your Mind, Improve Your Relationships, and Conquer Procrastination. Invite a few people from your floor and stop by to check these out! You might find some helpful information that will help you de-stress around midterms or finals.
For information about the Stress Clinics and other Counseling Center services, give us a call (419-372-2081) or check out our website (http://www.bgsu.edu/offices/sa/counseling/).
Emilia Boeschen, MA