As you head off to college in the US, homesickness may be plaguing you before you even arrive on campus. The good news is that not only is this feeling normal, but there are plenty of ways to treat it.
1. Bring Parts of Home to College
One simple way to treat college homesickness is to decorate your dorm or apartment with items from home. When you pack for college, take a few items from the room you grew up in and relocate them to your new home. Such items may include wall hangings, trophies you won as a child or maybe even a family heirloom or two.
In addition, putting up photos of your family and friends back home can reduce your homesickness. You do not need to take over your college roommate’s side of the room with family photos taped to the wall, but a few framed pictures for your desk can remind you of your loved ones.
2. Continue Some Traditions from Your Home
Interestingly, studies have shown that homesickness is often more about feeling safe and loved than actually being at home. This means you are not necessarily missing your house, but the people and things that surrounded you there, as well as your routine.
Since your loved ones cannot usually follow you to college, you should think of a few habits from home that always make you feel secure. For example, if you used to eat ice cream every Sunday after dinner with family, continue this habit in your new residence. You may even be able to recruit your roommate to do the same so it feels similar to eating dessert with your family members!
3. Keep In Touch with Family
Of course, no one can replace your family and friends from home, so try to schedule some time with them so you can maintain your relationships during college. If your college is only a short drive from your family, you can reduce your feelings of homesickness by returning home a few times per month to have dinner or even spend a whole weekend there.
If you have to take a plane to get home, use the phone or a webcam to keep in touch. Just avoid calling your loved ones between every class, since you may start feeling dependent on hourly phone calls with family.
Instead, try to limit the contact to every few days, or once per week. As the school year continues, you will probably find yourself too busy to chat with your parents more than every few weeks. That’s when you will know you no longer have college homesickness!
You should also start planning your next trip home. Looking forward to going home for fall break, Thanksgiving or winter break often staves off college homesickness for many students.
4. Participate in School Activities
But your plans to visit family should not get in the way of making new friends in college. Keeping yourself busy can prevent a severe case of homesickness. When you are having fun, you are living in the moment, not reminiscing about your childhood at home.
Fortunately, the typical US college makes it easy for students to forget about their homesickness by planning numerous activities at the start of the year. There should be student mixers, impromptu Frisbee games and events to recruit new club members.
If you are still having trouble finding ways to cope with homesickness, talk to your resident assistant. Most RAs have been in college for at least a year and can suggest tips on enjoying college and leaving homesickness in the dust.
Don’t keep your own tips to yourself! Share your ways to keep homesickness in college at bay in the comment section below.