Being away from home can be tough. Especially when transitioning means something huge, like going to college and moving out, homesickness can be really overwhelming. No matter how old you are or how brave you are, it’s difficult to face being alone in a new place.
I’ve always been a little bit of a homebody. I love my family very much and am super close with them. When I thought about college or even living away from home in general, there was a very real feeling of anxiety that settled over my body and a flutter of worry in my mind.
However, this summer, I lived at the beach with my sister, over 3 hours from home. Read about that experience here.
About a week before we left for the beach, I had a breakdown because I was so nervous about being away from my family. Yet, once we were there, I was fine and happy with the lifestyle we had!
Let’s get into 4 ways to combat homesickness anywhere you go, and how to be happy and confident regardless of how far from home and loved ones you are.
Homesickness Tip #1:
Bring and take photos.
Some people may disagree with me on this, but I absolutely love looking through pictures and being reminded of the good times with amazing people. Whether you print photos to hang on your wall, bring a photo album, or rather just have a really loaded camera roll on your phone, pictures will ease the sting of homesickness and let you reminisce about how great your life is!
This will also remind you how much people love you. Your friends, your sister, your brother, your mom, your dad—all of these people love you and are rooting for you to be successful. Even though you’ll miss them, and they’ll miss you, everything is going to be alright, and distance will only bring you closer in the end. Photos will remind you of home without making you sad or upset.
Homesickness Tip #2:
Establish a routine.
Personally, I’m a real creature of habit. Once I’m in a solid routine somewhere, I’m content and happy knowing that there’s a plan in place. For example, my junior year of high school was super busy and stressful, but I did okay because I put myself into a routine of academics and extracurriculars each week. Another good example of this is once I got into a pattern of my job this summer. Trust me, a routine is key in fighting homesickness.
Whether it be a morning or night routine, a work or school routine, or even just the order in which you clean your room, establishing a solid routine can transform your mindset and boost your confidence. You’ll feel prepared and calm by knowing the pattern for parts of your life. Then, you can focus more on being present instead of dwelling on feelings of homesickness.
Homesickness Tip #3:
Keep in touch.
In this day and age, communication is easy! Emailing, texting, Snapchat, and videochatting are all ways to reach those you miss at home. Sometimes, you just need to see your dogs, and a FaceTime call can remedy that in an instant.
Don’t be afraid to send your parents, friends, grandparents-whoever, really- a long email detailing what the first week of college, your new job, or your new city was like. Everyone wants to hear from you, and vice versa. There’s no cure for homesickness better than your mom, sister, or dad’s voice. Someone important to you can wash away tides of anxiety. You’ll remember the good instead of what you’re missing out on.
I plan on calling and video chatting my family all the time in college. I know that it’s going to be an adjustment, and I am okay with the fact that a simple text or SnapChat may sometimes be all we get to have as communication.
Oh, and don’t forget about good old fashioned letters and care packages. I find that handwritten letters are very meaningful. Letters and packages make me so happy that I forget all about being sad or homesick.
Homesickness Tip #4:
I don’t mean that you need to go skydiving or get a crazy new haircut. Instead, embrace who you are and who you are meant to be. There is no challenge you can’t handle, no matter how tough it may seem. Regardless of how lonely or scared you may feel, you can make friends. You can find your people, and create your happy place.
Your home, your family, your friends—they’ve all helped to make you the freaking amazing person you are. They’re proud of you, and they’re going to support you throughout your journey. While it may get hard at times, if you can be brave, even for 10 seconds a day, you’ll be so much happier and forget all about homesickness.
Go up to that girl in the dining hall. Sit down with that group in the library. Form a study group. Ask your coworkers to go for coffee. What’s the worst that could happen? I don’t know. But the best thing? There’s an infinite number of good things that can come from a few seconds of unabashed bravery. Your family and friends will love to hear about it, later. Where you are now may feel like a second home, someday.
Final Words: Homesickness
Try new things. Embrace every opportunity, big or small. Go to on campus events, join a club. Take a cooking class or join a book club at the library. Nothing is pointless, and you have no idea where these things will lead. I hope that this mindset will guide me towards success and friends in college. We’ll see, soon, I guess.
When I move in on Friday, I know that when my family walks out of that room, my heart will be in my throat. That doesn’t change how excited I am for this journey, and I’m going to use the tips I wrote about here myself!
Looking for more tips? Carly from The College Prepster has an amazing post on homesickness in your freshman year of college. I absolutely love her tips and I will be trying them out once college starts this week!
Good luck to anyone facing homesickness. Just hold on and you’ll be okay. Home will always be there for you, trust me.