How to Overcome Homesickness at College

Student, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Mar   2016



The adjustment from high school to college is difficult—anyone could tell you that. There are no parents to remind you to eat or teachers to prompt you to turn in your homework. Your old friends are probably no longer right around the corner, and your favorite ice cream place is now hundreds of miles away. You are completely on your own, and while that can be scary, it can also be incredibly freeing. Here are some ways to combat homesickness and turn it in your favor:

  1. Talk it out! You should completely embrace making your new college town your home, but it doesn’t hurt to talk about your hometown once in a while to friends. It’s interesting to learn how others grew up and chances are, they’re just as homesick as you are.
  2. Remember that soccer team you were on in high school? Whether it be a sport that you played or a prom that you planned in high school, you’ll probably find the equivalent in college. Find the club soccer team or event planning organization and join it! It’ll bring back memories and is also an excellent way to make friends.
  3. Call your parents. It might seem obvious, and of course you’ll call your parents every day...for the first couple of weeks at least. But it’s easy to become busy in college and forget about the people who raised you. Making time for at least a five-minute phone call will not only mean the world to your parents, but it will also ease any anxieties you might be having.
  4. Find out who you are. I know, simple task, right? But seriously—college is the time to explore all the things you’ve always wanted to but might not have had the resources for. There is no room for judgment in college, as there are hundreds or even thousands of other students who just don’t have the time to judge every person who walks by. Lose that fear you always had in high school and be whoever you want to be. I promise, this is how you’ll find friends for life.
  5. Find a spot on campus to just be alone. You’ll be amazed at how hard it is to be completely alone in college. There are people wherever you go on campus—your dorm room, the dining halls, and the library will always have people in them. And nine times out of 10, you’ll recognize someone in the crowd. Just as spending time with friends is important, being alone and taking a break from it all is important too. So find a spot where it can just be you and your thoughts. (My spot was this little reading nook on the second floor of our Global Center, but ssshhhh...)
  6. Hang up pictures from home on your walls. Bleak, prison cell-like dorm room walls can be depressing, but hanging up pictures of your friends and family can make it seem more like home. As the year goes on, you’ll have tons of new pictures to add as well!
  7. Embrace the fact that you have two homes now. Going back and forth will seem tiring at first, but at the end of the day, you now have two sets of everything (and more is always better, right?). Two rooms, two cities to call your own, and best of all: two families. Because that’s what your college friends will feel like at the end of the year: a family.

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About Tia Nanjappan

Tia Nanjappan is a journalism major currently attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Go Tar Heels!). She likes to be in the know about the world and thus is planning on pursuing a career in news reporting. When she is not reading up on current events, Tia can be found drinking coffee, trying to learn a new language, or shopping online.