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Finding comforts away from home
Although the distance from home becomes easier over the years, some students find the feeling of homesickness always remains.
“I still have it,” said senior Michele Corr, a sociology education major. “Freshman year it’s so hard because you are in a new environment with new people and you just want to be where you are comfortable. You also feel that this will never compare to home. Being a senior, I still need to go home and see my family, but now I have a life here and this is my family away from home.”
Some find the difficult transition makes the comforts of home seem more appealing.
“I miss home and seeing the day to day events that you are so used to your whole life, but last year was a large adjustment, living with people in close proximity and having to deal with things that you are not used to and people who may act and think differently then you do,” said sophomore Jaime Edry, an international business major.
Others feel very adjusted to school, and do not find homesickness a problem.
“I’m not [homesick]. I’m not fond of people back at home and it’s such a friendly atmosphere here, compared to home,” said sophomore Rob DiGregori, a physical therapy major.
“The homesickness has definitely lessened since freshman year, because being a junior you realize how fast the semester really goes, plus being only two and a half hours away and having a car, I realize I can pretty much get there whenever I want, but most of all I miss the food,” said junior Craig Seigel, an accounting major.
Joining clubs and staying active can often help aid student’s discomfort. Also, academic confidence plays a large role in feeling secure, so keeping good grades is also helpful. The Learning Center is always available to tutor students.
“As soon as I became involved on campus, I began to feel much more accepted,” said sophomore Lindsey Herold, a psychology major. “I definitely recommend joining clubs. You’ll meet so many people that way.”
Remember, it is okay to feel homesick. Even if things are going well, it is perfectly normal to feel nostalgic when thinking about one’s hometown. After all, home is a comfort place with familiar territory.
Keeping in touch with loved ones from home, bringing photographs, bringing pieces of their room to school and planning occasional visits home can help make students feel more comfortable in a new place of residence.
According to the University of Cambridge Counseling Service, “Research on homesickness amongst British university students shows that 35 percent of new students experience some homesickness, and that between 5 percent and 15 percent describe the experience as frightening: a few will go on to develop depression.”
Any change is hard, and everyone adjusts to a new environment in different ways. Some students find the change easier in the beginning because they are so overwhelmed with new people and routine, that they often do not think about feeling sad.
“The first few weeks of school I was just so excited to be here and get set up, that I hardly missed being home at all. After I started to get settled into routine, though, and had some down time, I would feel a little sad inside,” said freshman Rebecca Monte, a business major.
“Some students will start by being mildly depressed and anxious several weeks before leaving home, in anticipation of the impending change,” the Counseling Service said. “Others will be fine initially, and then to their surprise find themselves feeling homesick later in the academic year, perhaps after the Christmas break, or even at the start of their second academic year. But commonly it is the first few days or weeks after arriving at university which are the most difficult.”
“It’s weird, but I always find the second semester to feel a little more empty because the rush of the new living arrangement is over,” said junior Sean Wildom, an undecided major. “Sometimes I don’t even feel like coming back from the holiday break, but I’m always glad I did.”