Homesickness can consume you if you don’t do anything about it…so put yourself out there and make some changes! New York University has a “Welcome Week” for incoming freshman before class starts. I wasn’t missing home yet largely because of these first couple of days. For my year, it was a week of different events where all the students could get to know
each other. Most of the students came onto the campus not knowing anyone; people were friendly just for the sake so they could have people to be around with. During this week of fun I ran across all Manhattan with my new teammates, got on stage for a hypnotist show, and started a dance circle at one of the first parties for the freshmen. A lot of colleges set up these types of social events so the freshmen can all get to know each other. They want the students to avoid feeling homesick which is great for the transition process, but:
There will be times when you are missing home and this is inevitable.
Once you make the decision to go far from home, you’ll either be perfectly fine the first couple of days or you’ll be hit right in the face with loneliness. You’ll start using google to read about missing home. It’s different for everyone. Recognize that this happens to most people, and will happen to you no matter how severe. There are plenty of kids for example who are fine the first month far away at college; once their friends start heading home for the weekend they start calling/Skyping home.
Do not let this habit take you over.
For my first real winter, I missed the California warmth. I took the easy access to the beach and year long summer weather for granted. Seeing all my friends posting pictures at the beach on Instagram did not help when I would walk to class after a snowstorm. There’ll be times when you feel like you are missing out on something fun. You’ll feel uncomfortable that you’re in a different environment. You’ll stay in your room all day wondering what to do. You’ll count down the days when you get to head back to home. You’ll spend hours and hours missing home. Go ahead and let it all out: call up home and stay on for as long as you like, Skype your friends at weird hours cause you are all at different time zones and let them know how you are doing, lay in your bed listening to sappy Bruno Mars or Green Day songs… let it all out on ONE day.
Limit your emotional combustion to just one day and pick yourself right back up. The more time you spend trying to connect back home, the more you will miss it. It’s perfectly fine and normal to feel homesick, but you cannot let it consume you. You’ll read other homesick tips online that’ll tell you to cry it out. They’ll tell you to take your time with it. Don’t let it stunt your growth in your new environment. Keep a positive mindset and fight back.
Heres the reality: You have to get a life. Get busy, start building your social circle AT YOUR NEW HOME. This is part of the process that will make you stronger. It’ll only work if you move on with your life and create new memories.
If you live in a dorm you are surrounded by a bunch of students and you can go tell them your life story:
- Keep your door open or unlocked when you are in there. This small tip will give people the sense that you are friendly.
- Sit in the hallway and say hi. I didn’t do much of this my freshmen year, but it worked for everyone else on my floor who got to know each other.
- Go to the free food events your RA gives out. It’s easy, you show up, get free cookies, then go back on your laptop in your room looking up Key and Peele. But hey, at least the people know who you are so that’s a start!
If you can’t stand the people in your dorm that’s cool too, but you still need to get a life! Get out there and meet some people. My freshman year roommate hardly interacted with anyone on our floor; frankly, he didn’t care. Instead of just being all alone he would head upstairs to visit some other friend. He would go meet up with other people in the library to get some work done. He had his own group of friends on the golf team, he was fine not being best friends with everyone on the floor. I never got the sense that he was missing home at times, but who knows. Some people are very good at hiding these feelings, I guarantee you’re not the only one at your college who is feeling alone.
You don’t have to be super close with your floor or suite mates. For most people, they’ll serve as a safety net especially during the first week of school when you hardly know anyone. Over the course of the school year you may find other people to chill with. That’s also fine. Just don’t be a complete jerk and flip off the people on your floor when they say hi.
Joining a team/club/frat/sorority/underwater basket weaving association/makes the process much easier
This is an expected suggestion, but I’ll go into detail: I didn’t want to go far for college because I was comfortable with my lifestyle back home. Part of that lifestyle involved my cross country teammates in High School. We all need a group of people to feel belonged, whether it be through family or friends. I was nervous about leaving all of that behind, but the bright side was that I was going to be a Student Athlete at NYU. The first couple of days were easy for me because I wasn’t going to NYU alone. As a student athlete, I essentially had a group of people to already hang out with. We got to know each other more by working out and studying together. It helped me from missing home.
Take the time to branch out. Other than the track and cross country team, I also met people at the International Filipino Association (NYU IFA) and Hillsong College Church Group. It’s important to add variety next to your core group of friends. You gain perspective and will meet people who can teach you what they know and offer advice. You may meet other people who are homesick and they may be from your original area!
If you are used to traveling far and meeting knew people these tips will be common sense. For people like me, who have never lived far away from home, I hope you will look back at the end of your school year and think to yourself that going far wasn’t bad after all.