How To Handle Homesickness

How To Handle Homesickness

 Whether your hometown is located 20 minutes or thousands of miles away, it is normal to feel homesick at the beginning of college. Think about it: you have just entered a new environment where almost every face, building and experience is unfamiliar. Many of you are overwhelmed. I was overwhelmed too. 

Although homesickness is upsetting, there are effective coping mechanisms you can employ when it arises. One way to manage homesickness is to change your environment. For example, if you feel homesick when you are isolated in your dorm room, leave your dorm room. Go to the gym and workout or spark a conversation with a friend in your residence hall. You can also vent about how you are feeling to your RA who, by the way, has been trained to help freshmen with homesickness.

If you feel homesick while buried in assignments at the ZSR Library, give yourself a break. The workload at Wake Forest is likely more intense than the workload from your high school, and feeling homesick as you adjust is understandable. Take care of your mental health; if you need a break, give yourself a break. Step outside for some fresh air or go grab a meal from the Pit. Then once you’ve been able to refresh and reset head back to whatever it was you were initially doing. Sometimes, it only takes a change of scenery to snap out of feeling homesick or overwhelmed.

If a new setting does not do the trick, there are still many other strategies you can use to combat homesickness. Oftentimes, one of the reasons students feel homesick at the start of college is because they have not yet found “their people,” their close circle of friends; this uncertainty can trigger homesickness. If you have been feeling this way, do not fret. Try this: instead of digging yourself into despair, redirect your attention on finding quality people to whom you can relate. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by joining clubs and extracurriculars. Through these outlets, you will meet people with similar interests and passions. So, if you love to write, come to the Old Gold & Black (OGB). If you have the special skill of making others laugh, join the Lilting Banshees – our comedy troupe on campus. If you play a sport, join a club team we have everything from ballroom dancing and taekwondo to wakeboarding and waterskiing. The point here is that there is a place for everyone on this campus. Including you. 

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Finally, if you feel homesick, sometimes the best thing to do is to simply call home. It might sound counterintuitive, but from personal experience, I know how the voices of family and friends can be reassuring. These moments are reminders that, despite physical distance, bonds from home are still fully intact. Also, since these are the people who probably know you best, they might know just what to say to cheer you up. 

How do I know all this, you might ask? Well, just last year, I was in your shoes. I was a freshman, and as the homebody that I am I experienced moments where I really, really missed home. But those moments passed, and I adjusted. Now, a year into college, I have found extracurriculars that I love (thanks, OGB), professors with whom I have relationships and friends who in an unexpected way have started to feel like family. Wake Forest has become a new kind of home, and one that I love very much. And over time, Wake Forest can become a home for you, too. 

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