My first semester of college was rough, I can't lie. While I made great friends and took intresting classes, I couldn’t shake the constant feeling of loneliness and homesickness. For me, the feeling of homesickness was like having a constant knot in my stomach and feeling perpetually stressed out. I missed the way things were in high school; I missed my close friends, the team pasta parties, the monotonous class schedule, and the comfortable feeling of knowing exactly what to expect.
Now cue the homesickness, the metaphorical cherry on my sundae of stress. I felt ashamed that I missed home. What you will learn in college is that everyone competes with how happy they are at their respective schools. Oh my gosh I made the best friends ever. My teachers are so amazing. I’ve been going to the sickest parties. I love love love my college. What about you?!? Aw geez, please make it stop. The last thing anyone wants to hear when they are homesick is how happy everyone else is. Misery loves company, and misery sure doesn't love the company of overzealous high school friends gushing over their own happiness.
I’m writing this post because I genuinely want to help anyone going through the same troubles. I want people to know they aren’t alone with the feeling of homesickness. Don’t pay attention to the people who say they never feel it. Maybe they truly don’t feel homesick, but that doesn't mean you can’t! Below I’ve created a list of tips I personally used to help me get over this feeling. They helped me survive my first semester, so I hope they help you, too!
1. Make new habits
Having a routine is very helpful to help get over the feeling of missing home. It allows you to keep your priorities in check while staying busy. For example, my roommate and I would always go to Zumba together on Thursday nights. Little things like that will help keep you stay preoccupied and happy.
2. Keeping some old habits
When you're feeling homesick, it’s important to keep some of your old habits alive. For example, at home I used to love to watch Netflix, but once I went to college I dropped this habit. However, once I picked it up again it felt nice to do something similar. My friend at Bentley even texted her mom goodnight every school night like she did back home. This made her feel closer to home, and kept her habits similar.
3. Make plans
When you're constantly feeling like you want to go home and just want to give up on the whole college thing, making plans is key. It’s important to have something to look forward to. Ke$ha concert next Friday! Two weeks ‘till the new Johnny Depp movie! Hibachi with friends tonight! This helped me stay in the mindset of, “College is fun, and yes I want to be here!”
4. Eat well
With the constant butterflies in your stomach that come with feeling homesick, it’s easy to forget about eating. Losing weight due to stress is not healthy. Instead of succumbing to the stress, focus on eating well and feeling healthy. This will help you stay mentally and physically balanced amidst the stress of college.
5. Don’t get FOMO
“Fear of missing out” is extremely prevalent in college, especially in the first couple weeks. People get caught up in trying to be a part of all the memories made, fearing that being left out will lead to not having any friends. While it’s great to play an active part in making friends, it’s also important to be able to stand alone. You won’t be able to be a part of everything, especially when balancing schoolwork with everything else. My advice is to ignore the FOMO, and to let whatever happens happen.
6. Keep in touch, but not too much
Studies have shown that too many calls home and too much contact with the person/people you miss can actually lead to you becoming more homesick. Therefore, you have to find a balance between staying in contact and not being too invested in what you are missing. For example, keep your high school friends’ group chat alive, but don’t be too dependent on it.
7. Home friends vs. School friends
It’s important to recognize that your hometown friends will not be identical to your college friends. All friend groups have different dynamics, and you cannot go into college expecting the same thing. Being open to all possibilities will help when you're going into a situation with all new people and all new friends.
Remember, you’re not the only one. Even though nobody else admits it, other people are feeling the same way. Keep going and follow this advice! My mother always said, “It gets better second semester.” She was right. I promise it gets better the second semester so keep going!