Ask Mandy: How to Deal With Being Homesick

Dear Mandy,

I am getting ready to go to college in the fall. I got into my dream school, and I am so excited! But I am so attached to my home and family, and I can already tell that I’m going to be terribly homesick. How can I avoid getting homesick, or make being away from home a better situation?

Sincerely,

Hopelessly Homesick (Already!)

Dear Hopelessly,

With so many seniors here at Round Lake High School, this question is probably prevalent to a lot of us! We all are so comfortable living with our parents and just being surrounded by the familiarity of our everyday lives, and we should definitely embrace the time we have still at home. It’s hard to imagine that in only a few, short months, some of us will be living far from home, all alone and with no comfort of the familiar. There are two main ways to avoid feeling homesick during your first weeks away at school: First, make sure you find a way to connect with other incoming freshmen before your move-in day. Second, find ways to keep yourself busy and stay connected with your family while you’re away at school.

Some colleges allow incoming freshman to choose their roommates prior to choosing their housing. But if none of your friends are attending the same college, you don’t want to be stuck with a random roommate that you probably won’t like. In these modern times, students are taking advantage of social media to connect with others way before the new school year starts. Check to see if your dream school has a Facebook page for incoming freshmen. On that page, you are able to post about yourself and find people you’d like to room with or even just be friends with. You can find people with your same major, same interests, even people from your same area going to your chosen school. Most schools have Twitter pages that you can follow to get updates and tips for survival for your freshman year. These pages are a huge help in getting acclimated to your new surroundings and establishing  a good group of friends before even stepping foot on campus. After all, you are not the only one going through this situation. And that alone will help you make friends more easily because you can all understand each other.

And while having friends to hang out with will certainly help cut down on your homesickness, the inevitable truth is that you will feel sad and you will miss your family—especially those first few months.  Your best bet to overcome feelings of loneliness and sadness is to keep yourself occupied and try to keep your family in your schedule. Staying busy should be easy because there are plenty of options at college: you can join clubs, do volunteer work, join a sorority/fraternity, get an on-campus job or spend your time studying and taking extra classes. At some universities, they have intramural sports, so if you were unable to try out for a seasonal sport, then you could do one of those to help fill your athletic void. Also keep working out so you can keep off the freshman 15.  But be sure to pencil your family in on a free afternoon so you can talk about life for a little while. It is important to remember that as much as you miss them, they miss you a 100 times more. Keep yourself occupied with friends and school and enjoy your college years; you shouldn’t be dwelling on your old life because you miss your hometown or your cat.

In my overall opinion, I would choose to get in touch with people also going to your university of choice and start making connections. For me, it’s really hard to not think about calling my family and talking to them on almost a daily basis. Considering you are also really close to your family, you probably feel the same. Surround yourself with people you are comfortable with, and that might be going through the same issues with homesickness. Also, the friends you make in college end up being lifelong friends. Do not be afraid to branch outside your comfort zone and make new friends!