Your parents help you move into your dorm and even take you to lunch before they leave. As you watch them drive away, you realize that you are now on your own. You fight the tears as you walk slowly back into the dorm and wonder how you are going to get through the next four years without them by your side.
It's common to experience extreme homesickness in college. Knowing that homesickness is normal is key to getting through the first few weeks of college. Rest assured, you are not alone. Virtually every new college student has their game face on, but is feeling homesick inside.
Remember that college is a great adventure and you can have so much fun there. Begin by creating a plan and sticking to it. Courage is key. You may have to reach outside of your comfort zone to make new friends and become part of the university community. If you head into the first weeks of college with the right mindset, you are destined to make lifelong friends and create a new home away from home.
Here are five ways that you can remedy homesickness in college.
1. Attend Welcome Week Events to Get Rid of Homesickness in College
One of the most important things you can do during the first week of college is to attend new student orientation and welcome week events. Colleges plan intentional social activities designed to help new students meet one another and become familiar with the campus environment. A perfect way to get rid of homesickness in college is to distract yourself from feelings of loneliness. Ask your roommate to go with you to welcome week events so that you don’t have to go alone. Most dorm floors meet and go to social events together. New student orientation activities will help you make new friends and forget about feelings of homesickness.
2. Plan When You'll Go Home
Your first instinct when you are homesick at college during freshman year may be to go home, but don’t do this right away. It is important to push through feelings of sadness and establish a new routine that will help you focus on being on your own. Avoid the temptation to go home the first weekend after getting to college. Plan a visit in the future, but wait at least two months to make the trek to your home town. If you have a set date to go home, like Thanksgiving, you will have something to look forward to, and this will help ease your homesickness.
3. Get Involved on Campus
It's important to get involved in a campus organization right away. Take advantage of intramural sports, academic clubs, music ensembles or anything else that interests you. You can also apply for a job on campus. The average college schedule includes 15 hours of class time per week, so you will have extra time to devote to a special interest. Getting involved will help you make friends, develop a resume and become connected to faculty and staff. You will be surprised at how joining a campus club will help you get rid of homesickness in college.
4. Create a Homey Living Space
A simple way that you can feel less homesick in college is to create a comfortable living space that reminds you of home. Bring your favorite blanket and have some photos of your family that you can put on the walls or on your desk. If you create a dorm room that feels like home, you will begin to think of it as your own place.
5. Establish a Daily Routine
Time management is an important element of success, but it will also help you battle extreme homesickness in college. Idle time will only provide you with the opportunity to feel lonely or bored. Print out a weekly schedule and fill each hour with something to do. Class comes first, then study time, followed by campus clubs and social events. Be sure to exercise and sleep to create a healthy routine. If you have something to look forward to each morning, you will soon settle into a daily lifestyle that is all your own. If you continue to experience extreme homesickness in college, consider seeking the help of a counselor and be sure to talk to your parents about your feelings.
Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education. Dr. Meier is is a regular contributor for The Equity Network and has worked in education for more than 30 years.