So you made the move to the college of your dreams, but now you’re starting to miss home. Having feelings of homesickness are normal when you move to any new environment, whether it’s 3000 miles away or just 30 minutes. Homesickness is really about missing a feeling of familiarity. You may miss your old friends, family, pets, or just the comfortable surroundings of your old bedroom. Being in a new space means you don’t have that sense of familiarity or comfort that you need in order to feel that this is your home. Knowing how to cope with homesickness is essential for anyone moving into new surroundings. Read on for some tips and tricks to help cure your homesickness and, just remember, these feelings aren’t going to last forever.
Make the new space yours.
Whether you’ll only be there for a semester or a couple of years, make your new space yours. If you can, try bringing some items from home that will help make the space more familiar. Photos, memorabilia, decorations, and even pillows are great things to bring in order to make your new living situation feel comfortable. It’s also important to decorate the new space to your liking. You don’t have to go all-out with the interior decoration, but giving your space some personal touches will help make it feel more home-y. You need to make sure your space feels comfortable and familiar.
Create a bucket list of things to do in your area.
Do a little bit of Internet research into the new area you live and find the best places to explore. Check out that cozy coffee shop on the corner or hit up that club with the cool DJs on Friday nights. By creating a list of things to do in the neighbourhood, it will help you get out of your comfort zone and explore the area you’ll be living in. The more you learn about your area, the more familiar it will become to you. Plus it can help you meet new people and these types of personal connections are essential for making the new area feel like home.
Get involved on campus.
Another great way to meet people is by getting involved with things on campus. Whether it’s through orientation week or a regular activity, this can help you meet students going through the same transition of living in a new place. Getting busy can also help take your mind off of the homesickness and can, once again, start to make your new surroundings feel more familiar.
Take a break social media.
Having constant reminders of what your friends and family from back home are doing is not going to help your homesickness. If you feel that seeing pictures from your Aunt’s birthday last weekend or your friends’ latest coffee dates is getting you down, take a break from social media. Or at least limit your usage to once a day. Not being hooked to your phone or computer screen all the time will give you more incentive to get to know your new community, which will even further take your mind off of the homesickness.
Set up a regular time to call your friends and family.
Staying connected with your friends and family is important- but too much can actually feed your feelings of homesickness. Daily updates about what you’re missing aren’t going to help you become adjusted. Pick a time (or two) during the week to call friends and family. Sticking to a schedule will help get you into a routine that will make your new space feel more familiar. It will also ensure that you’re staying connected to you loved ones and that you don’t run out of things to talk about like you would if you talked everyday.
Create and stick to a routine.
This goes hand-in-hand with the point above. Creating a routine will help you become more accustomed to your surroundings. Base it off the general routine you had before you moved- whether that’s waking up and watching some Netflix or hitting the gym. Keeping old habits will also help make everything feel more familiar and home-y.
Do things you love.
Whether you’re a dancer or musician or writer, make sure you don’t stop doing the things you love. It’s so important to have quality ‘me’ time, especially when you’re in the middle of a big transition. Doing things you love will help focus and de-stress you and, like everything that has been mentioned in this article, it will make your new surroundings feel all the more familiar.
Talk about how you’re feeling.
Don’t keep your feelings locked up inside of you. By being out and open about them, you can identify and then confront what you’re feeling. Take advantage of weekly phone calls or Skype dates with loved ones to express how you feel or talk it out with one of the new friends you’ll be making at college. So many students are experiencing the exact same feelings as you, so looking to each other for advice and support is a no-brainer.
Give it time.
Feelings of homesickness are only temporary. The more time that passes in your new surroundings, the more familiar they will become. The degree and length of homesickness varies from person to person, but after awhile these feelings will pass. If you’re feeling extra anxious about your homesickness, don’t hesitate to reach out to the mental health and counselling services on your campus. They are there to help you through this scary, but exciting transition to college life. Probably, by the time you visit home for winter break you’ll be homesick for your dorm or apartment on campus.