College provides you with many opportunities, not only to gain higher education and prepare for a career, but also to meet new people, explore a variety of interests, and begin to figure out who you are as a person and what you want in life. In other words, college is a great adventure. Unfortunately, it’s also the first time most teens are away from their family, their friends, and their home, which can definitely lead to homesickness.
If the pressures of college are getting to you and the unfamiliar faces and places are making you anxious, your first inclination may be to bolt right back to the safety and security of home. However, you’re better off sticking it out. Eventually you’re going to find your niche and become more comfortable and confident in the college setting. You just need to find ways to overcome being homesick.
The best thing you can do is to maintain regular contact with the people you love. As your support network, your family and friends can help you through this difficult transition, even if they’re far away. Sometimes just hearing a familiar voice over the phone or seeing the faces of parents or friends via Skype or Facetime is soothing enough to help you relax and reassert your desire to remain where you are and continue working toward your goals.
In this day and age, your loved ones are only a push of a button away, so make time in your busy schedule to stay in contact. Keep in mind, new friends and interests can also be a great distraction, as well as a quick way to start feeling more at home in your new surroundings.
You can also ask family and friends in your hometown to send you care packages. A box of mom’s cookies, your favorite indie ‘zine, or items from your local haunts back home can definitely give you a boost when you’re missing the places and people you love.
Of course, your family members and friends lead busy lives as well and may not have a lot of extra time to put together care packages for you. However, you can do a lot on your own to keep these people and places fresh in your memory.
Start by putting together a collage on your pinboard featuring photos of family members, friends, and places you enjoy back home. You can also set up slide shows on electronic devices (laptops, tablets, smartphones, even digital photo frames) so you can always see a friendly face. You might even put together soundtracks that remind you of particular people, places, or events. If you can’t get a loved one on the phone, these tricks may be enough to see you through your homesickness.
Don’t forget, there are also ways to create a little slice of the familiar wherever you are. Instead of buying a new comforter for your dorm bed, bring the quilt your mom made for you as a kid. Bring favorite items from your bedroom like posters or a nightlight. You can also ask your parents to write down your favorite recipes – you may or may not be able to make them depending on your living situation, but you might want them at some point anyway.
This way, whether you’re on campus working toward a bachelor’s degree or you’re living in an apartment and taking University of Maryland’s online MBA program you can still feel like you carry the best parts of home with you wherever you go.