Beating the Homesick Blues

College has long been touted as the "best four years of your life." Then why is it that many first-year students spend their initial weeks in college somber and melancholy? Homesickness is a common occurrence amongst first-year college students, particularly those who move far from home to attend school. Yet, by making new friends and keeping old relationships healthy, students can quickly beat the homesick blues and really enjoy what is supposed to be the time of their lives.

Homesickness can be viewed as a longing for the comfortable and familiar. Embarking on a college career, though exciting at first, can quickly become daunting with its unfamiliarity and foreignness. Students who move away from home for school will find themselves surrounded by strangers in a territory they may not know very well. To make matters worse, their friends and families – relationships with whom took years to cultivate – may suddenly be miles away. Even students who stay home to study can undergo this anxiety as they switch from seeing their friends five days a week to suddenly seeing them far less as everyone’s class schedules clash. Students studying at home may also see their social circle break up due to others moving away. In any case, homesickness is a longing for times gone by and for familiar faces and routines. The best way to combat this feeling is to establish a new routine and build up new satisfying relationships.

The anxiety caused by unfamiliarity can easily be cured by familiarizing yourself with your surroundings and your peers. Explore the new city you are in if you have moved. Make connections with other students. You will find that many students are happy to make new friends in college, so the process will be relatively easy as long as you know where to look. Your classmates are a good source of potential friends, as are members of a club or team that you are part of because you already share similar interests. If you are feeling particularly homesick, make it a point to call or write your family and friends from home. Hearing back from them will help to ease some of the distress caused by homesickness. Just be sure to also make an effort to create new valuable friendships as well rather than staying holed up in your dorm room waiting for your friends from home to contact you. Only then will you move on from your homesick blues.

Yet, for some people, homesickness does not fade. If you find that your homesickness and sadness is not getting better or is interfering with your health and studies, you should seek out the aid of your school counselor.

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