Homesickness, it's universal. Psychologists call it "separation anxiety" and few people are immune. In most cases, periods of homesickness (especially just after a transition) are normal. Not only are you experiencing a major adjustment to your new environment, but you are also experiencing a loss of what was comfortable and predictable.
Here are a few tips to help you through it now or in the future.
1. Acknowledge that you are feeling homesick. Much of what you know and can rely on is back home. Homesickness is a natural response to this sense of loss.
2. Talk about it with an older sibling or friend who has gone away from home. It takes strength to accept the fact that something is bothering you and to confront it.
3. Bring familiar items from home to your new location. Photos, plants, even stuffed animals help to give one a sense of continuity and ease the shock of a new environment.
4. Familiarize yourself with your new surroundings. Walk around. You will feel more in control if you know where buildings, classes, and services are located.
5. Invite people along to explore. Making friends is a big step to alleviating homesickness.
6. Stay connected with people back home, but limit telephoning and e-mailing. Set up e-mail connections with friends at other colleges or universities. Share your experiences and activities with them.
7. Plan a date to go home and make arrangements. This often helps curtail impulsive returns and keeps you focused on your goals in your present surroundings.
8. Examine your expectations. We all need time for ourselves, including time for proper rest, nutrition, exercise, and relaxation. Laugh at your mistakes. No one is perfect. You're learning.
9. Seek new opportunities. As scary as it is to see all those people, all those classes, all those buildings, all those choices, they will provide opportunities to meet people who like what you like. Take classes that you're interested in and get involved in your favorite activity, or try new ones.
10. If your homesickness persists, take additional action. Buried problems often emerge later on, disguised as headaches, fatigue, illness, or lack of motivation. Consider talking to your residence life staff or contacting the Counseling Center at 231-7671. We are located in #212 Ceres Hall and open M-F from 8:00am-5:00pm. After hour calls are transferred to the community hotline, FirstLink.
Adapted from information provided by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Counseling Services, and from Brian Kassar, Psy.D., at Montana State Counseling and Psychological Services .