Dealing With Homesickness

I hope everyone is settling into their first few weeks of school! The nervous feelings of entering that first class are gone, and you probably know where all your important buildings are by now. It’s also possible that you are starting to miss home.

It can be a really scary thing, especially if you’ve come a far way from home for the first time.

When I started my freshman year of college here at Iowa State, I felt kind of scared and lonely. Of course I felt excited too! But as a human being, it was hard to deny that I felt like I was trying to learn to do a bunch of things all by myself. I had left the friends who felt so familiar in my hometown, and my family was no longer just a bedroom away.


1. Call your mom, your dad, your guardian, or any family member that you trust.

I know, I know. Everyone always tells you to do this, and maybe it doesn’t sound like new advice. However, it’s commonly said because there’s a lot of truth to it. Even if they seem to be physically far away, your family will be there for you. Some moms might admit it and some might not, but they secretly really wish that you will call them. Making the effort to call a family member every now and then will encourage you to maintain a closer bond with them, probably make them feel happy and proud, while also allowing you to have someone that you can talk to about the little things that happened during your day. I called my mom every few days, and I found that we became even closer than we were when I lived at home with her, and I felt happy knowing that I had someone that I could always rely on if need be. So try it!


2. Even if it seems scary, try to step out of your comfort zone and be the person who starts the conversation to make friends!

Maybe you have a lot of friends here already, and maybe you’re still trying to find your people. Either is okay! It took me a long time to find people that I fit in with here, and to be honest I’m still searching. It is good to try to establish some relationships with people here to help you feel less lonely.

There are people sitting next to you in class, people working near you at your new job, or new people who live around you. Sometimes, the courage to start a 30-second conversation with a stranger could bloom into a friendship. I remember being really nervous as I entered a giant lecture hall holding over 300 students for one class, but I sat down next to a girl who I thought had a cute outfit. I complimented her clothes, and asked her general things about herself, like her name, major, and what city she’s originally from. After that, we began sitting next to each other each time we had that class, and then later we ended up having study sessions together before exams, and she ended up becoming a friend that I really like. However, none of it would have happened if I didn’t overcome my temporary fear of meeting new people and reached out to her. It’s all about taking risks!


3. Start planning for your next trip home!

I remember how excited I was for my first trip back to Cedar Falls, where I originally grew up. I started making a list of things that I could do when I got there, and what things I should bring with me when I returned to Ames. Making a list helped me to stop wallowing in sadness about how homesick I was, and to instead have something that I could look forward to that would motivate me to keep going.


4. Find the little things that make you happy here.

While it’s great to get excited about visiting home again, it’s also important to acknowledge the new life that you have started here. It doesn’t have to be anything spectacular. Sometimes it’s the little things that help. There was a big flower plant that I passed everyday that I enjoyed seeing, and I liked how my dorm room had been decorated.

Hope everything goes well! Good luck!

Categories: Advice, Campus, Campus life

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