College is supposed to be an amazing experience. A chance to be on your own, meet new people and learn new things. It all sounds great, right? It definitely can be! But that doesn’t mean you can’t miss home too. Many college students experience homesickness, especially freshmen. No matter how exciting college is and how much fun you are having, it’s also normal to miss your home, your old friends, your family, and your familiar routines. Experiencing homesickness when you are away at college is part of the process of growing up and becoming independent. Once your college becomes a familiar place, and your new friends start to feel more like old friends, the homesickness should fade. But in the meantime, here are a few tips that you can try to help ease your transition from high school to college and help lessen your feelings of homesickness.
1. Decorate your room
You likely spent the last 18 or so years making your room at home feel like you. Of course your new dorm or apartment space isn’t going to feel that way yet. But you can take steps to make it yours by decorating it with things you love. Maybe bring some decorations from your room at home to make it feel familiar. Or if your budget allows, go on a shopping spree for some fun decorations that fit your style. Use your hobbies and interests as inspiration, and make your room a place you look forward to relaxing in each night.
2. Explore your new surroundings
Battle homesickness at college by getting familiar with your campus. Go for walks, learn where things are, and how to get to each of your classes with ease. Scope out some quiet spots where you can study or find a chill place to hang with friends. Also get to know the neighborhood surrounding your campus. What’s the shopping like? How about the food? Look for restaurants to try, and maybe invite some of your new friends to come with you. The more comfortable you are with your surroundings, the more it will start to feel like home.
3. Get involved on campus
Joining a club, team, or group on campus will help you feel less homesick. You’ll make new friends and be doing something you enjoy. Maybe it’s an activity you did in high school as well. Continuing to pursue your old interests will make your new school feel less strange and more like what you are used to, which is important when dealing with homesickness.
4. Stay in touch with family and friends
Nowadays, it’s so easy to stay in touch with family and friends back home. Talking or texting with your old friends can help you feel less homesick. But get creative! You don’t have to limit your communications with friends to just texts or social media. Plan activities together, even if you are far apart. There are so many options for having a fun time online with friends. You can try an escape room. Maybe a game night. Or even just a Zoom chat so everyone can see each other’s faces can help ease feelings of homesickness.
And speaking of social media, remember that your friends’ social media feeds are only telling half the story. Social media is just a highlight reel of someone’s life. If your friends are all posting happy, smiling photos with their new college friends, that doesn’t mean they aren’t feeling homesick too. They likely are, and will probably be just as happy to have a Zoom chat with your friend group as you!
5. Know when to get help
If your feelings of homesickness are starting to get in the way of your day-to-day life, it may be time to seek professional help. It’s ok to be homesick, but you should still be attending your classes and socializing with classmates and new friends. If you find yourself unable to do those things, or if your homesickness has started to feel all-consuming or unmanageable, it’s probably time to talk to someone about it. Your college likely has a counseling center or other mental health program. Learn about the resources available to you and take advantage of them. Let your family know how you are feeling as well, so that you don’t have to deal with these feelings alone. Feeling homesick in college is normal but it should feel temporary and manageable. If it doesn’t, seek professional help right away.
By following these steps, you should soon be able to feel less homesick in college, and more like you are at home!