How to Beat Homesickness in, like, 5 Easy Steps
by: Bridget Bailey
It’s the first weeks of moving into your new boarding school. You are meeting new people, adjusting to a new schedule, new environment and...well, new everything. It can be one of the most exciting times in your life but also, one of the most strenuous as well. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but there are very real obstacles when settling into your new life at school. One of those obstacles is homesickness.
So what is homesickness? Dictionary.com defines it as, “Sad or depressed from a longing of home or family while away from them for a long time.” It is a very natural feeling that millions of people have felt before. Typically it is associated with students moving away from home for the first time but it can be experienced by anyone leaving home, whether they are leaving for the first or 50th time.
The majority of people feel lonely, isolated, upset, or distressed. These are all very real emotions and if left alone, they will manifest and possibly ruin your first couple of weeks at school. Do not despair, there is good news! There are ways in which you can be proactive and kick your homesickness.
Read our top five tips on how to get over your homesickness!
1.) Recognize that what you are feeling is normal.
Whether you realize it or not, there are many, many people who are feeling the exact same way you are. Look around! There are other new students and they will be feeling anxious and homesick. It’s a natural way that your brain responds to the great environmental changes you are going through. Even students that have been there for awhile are bound to have a bout of homesickness crop up. However, you must accept what you are feeling and understand that you are now living a different way of life than before. That way, you are able to come to terms with your homesickness and work towards conquering it.
2.) Familiarize yourself and socialize
You are sleeping in a new bed, in a new place, and maybe even a new country! That isn’t easy but keep in mind, it will get easier. The more you familiarize yourself with your new surroundings, the easier it will be. Bring mementos and decorations from home to jazz up your room and make it feel like more your own. Explore the campus and see what it has to offer. Talk to your teachers and join in new clubs or athletic teams. This will allow you to socialize and make new friends. Sure, it may be uncomfortable at first but everything new is. Soon, you will feel yourself become much more comfortable and accustomed to your new place in the world.
3.) Skype/FaceTime is your friend but don’t make it your bestie!
The great thing about our modern era is that we now have the technology to be connected at all times. So, it is good to schedule a call home once every week so you can see your family, friends, or maybe even pets. But it is important that you do not become too dependent on this and start missing out on the life right in front of you. If you are always on FaceTime in your room, you will not be participating in all the campus activities nor meeting new people who could potentially become your new friends. Even a couple of texts throughout the day with friends and family will help curb your homesickness and remind you that there are people back home who love and miss you. Remember, yes, you miss home and that is normal BUT you are, also, in a new place that is full of new and exciting opportunities. Take full advantage!
4.) Ask for help…
If you are trying to incorporate yourself into your new school but you are still having difficulty, remember that it is okay to ask for help. Almost every school has a psychologist, guidance counselor, or licensed mental health counselor. These people are there to help you with your struggles. They understand that what you are going through is, at times, very overwhelming and stressful; they are there to listen and give guidance.
If you feel uncomfortable with talking to a professional, there are other people around you that will be happy to listen. If you feel more at ease with a teacher, then ask them for their advice.Or there arestudents more than likely feeling the same exact emotions you are. They may be able to talk to you and share what they are going through as well. Whatever the case, you are not alone.
5.) It gets better and what to do if it’s just not…
Anytime you do something different than your normal routine, it is bound to stir up certain emotions. These are, of course, intensified if it is something as big as moving away from home. Just remember that it will get better. Sure, it may take a couple of weeks to ease into your new routine but soon you will find yourself making your way to classes and laughing with new people. It just takes time and patience, as with everything.
However, sometimes it could be more than just feelings of homesickness. What do you do when you are feeling more than that and how do you tell the difference? Well, if you are experiencing more bad days than good after a couple of weeks, it might be time to reevaluate where you are. Also, if what you are feeling is consistently interfering with classes and homework, it could be a sign that you are experiencing something more significant. Or if you are having severely depressive thoughts, it is definitely time to talk to someone. If you are experiencing any of the aforementioned, then contact your counselor on campus and talk to your family.
If neither are available, feel free to contact The Crisis Center on their toll free line: 800-273-8255 or on their website: http://crisiscallcenter.org/crisis-services