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Students do not expect homesickness

Missing the accoutrements associated with home displays one’s need for love and connection.   |   Maddi Seyfarth/THE CHIMES
 

 

There is a huge amount of excitement that comes with graduating high school and eagerly preparing for college. So many new opportunities to experience and challenges to take on. One obstacle which many new college students do not plan for is homesickness.

A difficult transition

In preparation for college, it is easy to look past the qualities that make home so special. There are the home cooked meals, a quiet place to sleep, privacy of one’s own home and the lack of responsibilities. It can all be extremely overwhelming for a freshman to adjust to life as a college student. For some, going to college only means a short car ride to school, yet for others it can mean traveling across the country or leaving a country or continent entirely. The further away from home one is, the more difficult the transition can be.

There are some easy steps college students can take to address this homesickness. First, it is important to prioritize the amount of interaction one has with friends, family and significant others back home. While it is certainly important to stay in touch with all of these people, being in continual communication with them will only make the yearning to return home more acute. Try and take those great friendships you have back home and create them with people at your new school. Having others around who are going through the same thing is very helpful in dealing with homesickness. Second, it is alright to let yourself be sad for a day. Everyone has good and bad days and there is nothing wrong with taking a day to be sad and reflect on the aspects of home which are missed. The key to this step is only taking one day to feel sad and then getting over it. Go out the next day, join a club, interact with others and make strides to adjust fully to college.

Love and security

Homesickness often stems from a need to feel love, protection and security. When these qualities are not being met it creates a longing for them and a desire to return back to that level of comfort. In a paper co-written by Chris Thurber, a clinical psychologist, and Edward Walton, a pediatric doctor, published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, homesickness is defined as "distress and functional impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from home and attachment objects such as parents." Being homesick is based around the fear of stepping outside of a level of comfort. Making new friends, going to new and more challenging classes and living in a completely new environment can be very stress-inducing. The beauty that comes with college and all of the new experiences offered is the growth which comes with each obstacle that is overcome. Being in college is not easy and being homesick only makes learning and making friends harder. Yet, if this longing for the comfortable can be overcome the opportunities which are offered are endless.  

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