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I never really felt homesick my first semester of college. Everything was so new and exciting, and I was so busy adjusting and studying for all my classes that I never had a lot of time to think about home. Sure, I missed my family a lot, but it was never a huge issue. However, when I came back to college after winter break, homesickness hit me hard. I had just spent a wonderful month with my family enjoying the holidays, and now, I was back in my boring dorm room, feeling as lonely as ever.

I remember spending a really fun night with my friends a couple days after classes started again. I was telling two of my best friends that I really needed this night because I was feeling really homesick, and both of them responded that they felt the exact same way, especially after having such a great time at home. That is definitely my first tip: have a great support system.

It’s great to have your friends as your support system, but college is an adjusting period and for some people it’s not easy to find their group of friends right away. I know I didn’t find my best friends until my second semester of college. If you’re feeling homesick, try reaching out to others who may be feeling the same way. For example, if you’re an international student, join the international student club or organization. You’re bound to find others who are feeling the same way you are.

Remember that homesickness is completely normal among college students, especially if it’s your first time away from  home. Everyone adjusts in a different way. Like I said, I didn’t really feel homesick my first semester, but I most certainly  did in my second and third semesters. I consider myself to be pretty independent, and when I started college I was used to spending time away from my family, just not for extended periods of time. Others feel homesick as soon as they start college, but adjust easily later on. Everyone’s situation is different, but feelings of homesickness are not abnormal.

You’ll feel better if you just talk to someone about your feelings, even if it’s someone from home, like friends or family. It  may seem at times that you’re the only person who feels homesick, but I promise you’re not. Most college students have feelings of homesickness at least once or twice during their college career. Everyone looks like they’re having a ton of fun on Facebook or Instagram, but most of us feel lonely or lost from time to time.

It’s really important to stay in touch with your family and friends from home. I’m constantly texting my family and  boyfriend funny pictures or just updates on my day, and they respond in the same way. It’s a really great way to stay in  touch because it makes you feel like part of that person’s day. I try calling or Skyping them at least once a week, and it’s  always great to talk to them and tell them about what I’m doing.

And if it ever feels like too much to handle, reach out to professionals in your campus. Counselors are trained to help  students, and they have a lot of experience with students feeling homesick, so they’re equipped to help you. Homesickness  is common among college students, so you won’t be the first person to seek the help of on-campus professionals.

Building on what I said earlier about having friends as your support system, having my best friends to talk to whenever I’m feeling sad has definitely made college a lot more enjoyable. My three best friends are also international students from Latin American countries, and it’s amazing to have them around for support. Whenever one of us complains about being homesick, we respond with “join the club.” But all jokes aside, it really is great to have someone who understands what you’re going through.

Remember, if you’re feeling homesick, you’re not weird. Even if you’ve never felt homesick before in your college career. Moving away from home is a part of growing up, and like anything else in life, it comes with an adjustment period. Everyone’s adjustment period is different, but it will most certainly get better.

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the author

Clarissa Gallardo is a sophomore at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Originally from Panama City, Panama (only place in the world where you can see the sun rise in the Pacific and set on the Atlantic!), she is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Mathematics and Ballet. A member of the Honors Program and dancer at heart, you can find her studying at the library, scrolling through her Tumblr feed , dancing, or reading. Clarissa has a really bad case of wanderlust and is obsessed with white chocolate mochas, The Big Bang Theory, and Doctor Reid from Criminal Minds. You can follow her on Twitter and on Tumblr.

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