Student Life

How to Beat Feeling Homesick in College

It's normal to feel homesick -- here are strategies to cope.

Student Contributor, Aleena Islam

January 20, 2022

Feeling homesick in college is completely normal. The trick is to make campus feel more like home.
How to Beat Feeling Homesick in College
For many students, college is a new period of your life -- a time of adventure, excitement, anticipation, growing up, and moving out. However, with all these positive aspects of college also comes the possibility of getting homesick. If you’re experiencing homesickness in college, then the first thing you should know is that you are not alone. According to a study done by the UCLA Higher Education Institute, just about 70% of first-year college students get homesick. Feeling homesick is completely normal as college is a major transition that takes time to adjust to. This article will help you learn how to beat homesickness in college and ensure your college experience is as enriching and fulfilling as it can be!

Identifying that You're Homesick

College students are usually very busy, hopping from class to class, studying late at night, and going out with friends. It can be hard to notice the impact of homesickness if you’re constantly in motion. According to a US News article, some homesick symptoms include irregular sleeping and eating patterns, difficulty concentrating on academics, and increased feelings of depression and anxiety. If you’re noticing any of these symptoms or can’t stop thinking about your home, then it’s time to put together a strategy to help you overcome this. This article also equates homesickness with grieving the loss of the home, sense of belonging, and routines that a student had before coming to college. In other words, feeling homesick is a completely valid and normal feeling that is shared by many.
Once you identify your symptoms and homesick feelings, you may be wondering how long college homesickness lasts. You’ll probably be wanting to get rid of it as soon as possible, but the short answer is that there is no answer. It’s different for everyone, but there are things you can do to minimize its impact.

Strategies to Help Beat Homesickness

There are lots of ways to overcome homesickness in college. Take a look at these strategies and see what will work for you.
  1. Establish new routines on campus. From a fellow college student, I know how difficult it can be to maintain regular routines throughout the week. Each day brings a different class schedule, different activities, and an all-around different vibe. That being said, it’s still important to implement some semblance of a routine to help you develop feelings of belonging and a sense of self that can help overcome homesickness.
    This can be done by eating your meals at the same time every day and having a set sleep schedule. Try doing a short workout in the morning at the same time or reading a book each night before bed. Every little thing truly does matter!
  2. Find a new community. It may take some time, but you will find your place and your people at your university. Finding a new community that you’re comfortable with is a great way to beat homesickness, as you’re finding your home away from home. This community can be a friend group, a club or organization, or a place you like to study; the possibilities are endless! Put yourself out there and explore to find where you belong.
  3. Stay in touch with your friends and family back home. This may sound counterintuitive to beating homesickness but going to college doesn’t mean you cease to communicate with your friends and family. If anything, you can use this as an opportunity to grow closer! It’s not recommended to go home every weekend or so since that can only exacerbate the feelings of homesickness, but a phone or video call every night can help greatly. Hearing your family’s voices and seeing their faces may put you at ease and help you grow familiar with the college environment.
  4. Establish new traditions and find new hobbies/interests. Another thing that can make college feel like home is establishing small traditions to make college feel more lived in and secure for you. Examples include going out to dinner with friends after every exam, splurging on a coffee every Friday, etc. Do small things for yourself to help yourself feel better! It may also help to get involved and expand your interests in college. College is a time of reflection and growth, so finding new interests can really help you to feel like your campus is your new home!
  5. Seek professional help. If all else fails and the feelings of homesickness continue to persist, it may be time to seek professional help. Most campuses have some sort of health and counseling service that could be a valuable resource. As mentioned earlier, homesickness is a completely normal feeling, so don’t be shy about getting help! Hopefully, these strategies can help you beat homesickness in college and allow you to thrive in this new chapter of your life!

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