College is a big transition in your life, especially if you are moving away from home, attending college in another state, or being without your parents and siblings for the first time in your life. It is normal to experience homesickness while in college, especially for freshmen.
While homesickness is most common at the beginning of the school year when you are getting adjusted to your new life, it can hit at any time. For some people, homesickness can be severe and debilitating and may affect their ability to keep up with their studies and make good grades. It may even cause them to consider dropping out of college and moving back home. If you find yourself in this boat, you're not alone. The good news is that there are things you can do to help yourself feel better.
Homesickness can feel lonely and isolating. It's often worse for people who don't get themselves plugged in with school activities. To combat homesickness, you can get involved and make your living space inviting for new friends and fond memories.
One of the worst things you can do for your mental health is stay cooped up in your dorm room. Instead, get out and start exploring your campus and the surrounding area. Check out the buildings your classes are in. Grab a coffee from the campus coffee shop and enjoy it outside, absorbing the energy and excitement around you. Say hi to a stranger on the street or in the elevator. Getting out and about and getting to know your new home for the next few years can help you get your mind off missing home.
No matter what your hobbies or passions are, there is bound to be some sort of group or campus club related to it. Joining such a group is a great way to meet like-minded people and start developing friendships on campus. The more friendships you develop, the more comfortable you'll feel in your new environment and won't feel the ache of homesickness as acutely.
While it's not healthy—and won't help your homesickness—to continuously blow up your family's phones, you could schedule regular video chats with them or give them a call while eating or walking to class. This way you'll still feel connected with them even though you're not there in person.
Leaving your dorm room door open can be nerve-wracking at first, but it's a common thing to do in dorm halls, especially for freshmen. This way you can greet people walking by, get peeks at other peoples' room set-ups, and make some friends with the people living on your floor.
Print out pictures of your family and pin them up around your room. This way, you can look at them and be reminded of happy times and all the people that love you back home whenever you're feeling down.
If you're struggling with homesickness in college, practicing self-care is more important than ever before. Self-care involves doing things to take care of your mental, physical, and emotional health. It may take some time to find what form of self-care works best for you, but the results are worth the effort. Some ideas to try include:
If your homesickness persists or is affecting your ability to function in your day-to-day life, it may be time to consider getting professional help. Look into what resources your school offers for student mental health. Many schools offer free therapy sessions.
Talking to a therapist can help you work through what you're feeling and why you're feeling that way. Your therapist can teach you healthy, positive ways to manage your stress. They may also be able to teach you breathing exercises that can help calm you down when you're struggling.
If you're not able to see a therapist on campus, reach out to your primary care physician and they can help point you in the direction of treatment you need. Remember that you are not the only one who has experienced this struggle and that you won't feel this way forever.
Homesickness is a problem many college students face, especially if it is the first time they are being away from their family or hometown. In some cases, homesickness can be quite severe and debilitating. It may even cause a student to want to drop out and go back home entirely. The good news is that there are things you can do to feel better. Make sure that you're keeping yourself busy, getting out of your dorm room frequently, and signing up for activities and groups around campus. This will help you develop friendships on campus and fill your free time so you will have less reason to dwell on what you're missing back home. It may also help to practice self-care regularly and reach out for professional help. At SokyaHealth, we want to help you achieve better mental health. Call (866) 657-6592 today to learn more.