There are 1,031 miles between me and home. When I started college, I told myself it wasn’t a big deal, and I was right. I had the distraction of my friends and a busy schedule, and I called my parents every day. Plus, being in a city as rich in culture as New Orleans, it was easy to get lost in the atmosphere, and I told my mom it felt like an extended vacation.
But eventually, reality set in. Two weeks went by, and I started to really realize that I wasn’t at home. For a myriad of reasons, I also didn’t go home until Christmas break. That meant I went almost four whole months without seeing my dogs, cats, or family. I got homesick in a bad way. All I wanted was to just lie in my own bed with my cat on my lap, but my bed was in Virginia and cats aren’t allowed in my dorm. So I came up with a few tips for myself to make it through the semester, and I want to share them with anyone else who’s missing the comforts of home.
1. Bring home with you
There are always little slices of home you can pack up and bring to college with you. For me, it was a wall hanging that had been in my room for years and my childhood stuffed animal. Check on the guidelines for your dorm, but most items you may want to bring will be allowed on a college campus. Keep whatever you bring in a place that is visible so you can look at it whenever homesickness hits.
2. Bring pictures—all the pictures
Take pictures of pets, friends, family, or anything else in your life’s highlight reel, and plaster them all over the place. Whether it’s just taped to the wall, made into a collage, or put in a frame, having photos up is a way to revel in the good times from back home. If you don’t have an easy way to print pics out, have a photo album bookmarked on your phone or laptop for easy access.
3. Communicate often
For most problems in life, communication is key, and homesickness is no different. Call family when you’re missing them, keep in contact with friends, and let friends on campus know what’s going on. A lot of students are away from home and probably feeling the same way as you. Talk about it, especially when it gets bad. You’re not alone.
4. Make new memories
Nothing will ever be like home, but it’s important to not wallow in sadness for too long. Go out and experience your new environment! As being at school grows more comfortable, the pain of being away will lessen, and your new normal can be really wonderful.
5. Value your time home
When you’re home, don’t spend your entire break thinking about how you’ll be leaving again. Instead, do as much as you can with the time you have. See all your friends, pet your dog, and just treasure every second. When you do leave again, get excited about going back to school because going back means you’ll have more stories to tell everyone next time you come home.
Being far from home is one of the most difficult things I’ve had to adjust to in college, but it’s given me a greater appreciation for the time I spend at home. It’s also taught me to find a little bit of home everywhere I go as I continue to grow and learn.
Sometimes all you need is someone who understands you, so check out our YouTube channel for more advice from students like you!