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WANNA GO HOME? Ways to Relieve Homesickness

By: Bobbie Slocumb

Are you feeling lonely? Left out? Are you missing your family or old group of friends? DENIAL is no longer a river in Egypt. What you may not realize is those feelings of anxiety and loneliness are normal reactions to being away from a familiar environment.

My Experience with Homesickness

I consider myself a fairly strong individual. I am a senior at Georgia Southern and I still, get homesick. I often endure two kinds of homesickness. One kind of homesickness happens when I travel to my first home, Queens, New York. Its most difficult when I'm actually in New York. Very rarely do I travel to there but when I do, I'm flooded with all kinds of memories. When I see the handball courts across the street from my grandma's house where I flirted with my first love or where I had my first kiss, it never fails, and emotions take over.

The second kind of homesickness I feel happens when I come back to school after summer recess at home in Atlanta. I love living there because of the new memories I have made in my adulthood. I always get emotional when my family brings me back to college. However, throughout my college career, my homesickness has gotten much easier, with my special teddy bear, George and dozen photo albums. Then, there was my grand realization that I will probably live in several cities at several places. My home is wherever my mother and brother are.

When you are separated from your family, friends, people, things that you have known for most, if not all of your life, it can be stressful. All of the adults in our lives (i.e., parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents) say that going to college is an exciting adventure and that we will get over feeling homesick. Maybe they have forgotten what it was like to leave home for the first time. Yes, it is exciting but it's also scary and sometimes nerve-racking.

Some Things to Know about Homesickness

Homesickness is not a weakness. It's a reflection of adjustment. Here are some helpful tips on keeping the horrible homesickness beast in his lair.

  • Admit It: Homesickness doesn't make you less of a person. It is a feeling. Admitting that you have this feeling makes you more aware of your emotions.
  • Wait It Out: Try and wait out your homesickness. Give yourself time to become familiar with your surroundings. Managing homesickness takes time and patience.  Who knows, you may feel differently with time. It usually passes within weeks or months. By that time, you will probably forget that you were ever homesick.
  • Bring Companions: Bring photos, stuffed animals, a special toy or thing from home. I have my photo album filled with pictures from both homes, Atlanta and New York. Trust me, this helps.
  • Leave Your Room Once in A While: Go outside. Explore your campus community. There is a whole world out there waiting to meet you. Don't keep them waiting.
  • Get Involved: Participate in campus events: Be apprised as to what's happening on your campus. This is your NEW COMMUNITY, get to know your neighbors.
  • Give a Little: There many things that will take your mind off your homesickness. Try volunteering, giving your time and service to those who are in need of both.
  • Talk About It: Talk about your feelings with someone who has been away from home. It helps to be able to relate to someone who has been in your shoes.
  • Go Away, Why Don't Ya?: Make plans to go home every once in a while so you can look forward to those visits. This keeps you focused on other things and curb any impulsive trips home.
  • Meet & Greet: Find opportunities to meet new people. You don't have to go above and beyond. Just try and make a little effort. You may gain a new friend and a good experience. The friends I have, I met in college and I wouldn't mind knowing them for a lifetime. Don't tell them I told you that!

I guarantee that if you try at least two or three of these tips, you can and will get through your homesickness. Believe it or not, homesickness doesn't last forever. Getting over it is quite doable. If I did, you can as well.
If your homesickness becomes a burden for you, feel free to contact Counseling and Psychological Services at 402-280-2733.

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