What is homesickness?

Homesickness is a common occurrence, especially among college students. The move from living at home to living on a college campus is a big transition. A new environment can cause anxiety and a depressed mood, which is sometimes feel overwhelming.

You may feel isolated and lonely and not receive the full benefits of living in the college community. Usually with time, students are able to adjust to their new environments and enjoy their new lifestyles. 

For some students, the transition can take a long time because thoughts of home, including routines, physical surroundings, people and pets preoccupy their minds and interfere with their lives. Not feeling comfortable where you live is a frightening experience.

What can help?

There are many things that help alleviate the anxiety and depression associated with homesickness:

• Talk to someone, anyone. A friend, counselor, RA, professor, tutor, nun, priest, etc. can all help.

• Try not to escape from campus every weekend or holiday. Staying on campus gives you the opportunity to get involved with activities and become acquainted with others in the college community. Remember, you need to familiarize yourself with your new surroundings in order to feel comfortable.

• Stay in touch with people from home. Call them on a regular basis, plan trips to visit, have them visit you, etc.

• You are not alone. Remember that you are not the only person on campus dealing with homesickness. Perhaps you can even befriend someone who experiences the same symptoms as you. You can cope together.

• Having fun on campus is not being disloyal to the people back home. You are allowed to have fun in your new setting.

• Be sure that your life is balanced. Though college comes with academic pressure and a higher workload than high school, make sure you incorporate fun into your life to prevent burnout.

• Get enough sleep and food. Bad nutrition and lack of sleep can directly affect your mood.

• Join a club or organization. Being involved on campus not only gives you something to do, but it provides an opportunity to socialize and gives you a sense of belonging.

• Remember that it takes time. Don't expect feelings of homesickness to go away within a few weeks.

• Give it at least a semester. After that, assess whether the campus is right for you. Talk to a counselor to figure out your options.

For more information on Homesickness, visit http://www.counselling.cam.ac.uk/hsick.html

Resolve Crisis Network: 1-888-7-YOU CAN (1-888-796-8226)
www.upmc.com/resolvecrisis

Visit the La Roche University Counseling Center in Bold Hall Rooms 261 & 259. Schedule an appointment with a counselor by calling 412-847-2506.