Sticking It to Homesickness
With the end of summer comes the start of back-to-school and, for many students, the excitement and anticipation of entering college for the first time. Once college starts, though, some new students may soon find themselves wishing they were back at home. Homesickness, defined as “distress or impairment caused by an actual or anticipated separation from home,” is a common affliction among new college students. If you are experiencing homesickness, try some of the following suggestions.
There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom
Or is there a girl in the boys’ bathroom? Nothing in your life has prepared you for things like regularly sharing a co-ed bathroom with twenty other people or attending a class with 400 other classmates. The thought of these experiences might make you long for the comfort of home. But don’t worry—very few, if any, of your peers are accustomed to such situations. You’re not alone when it comes to new student jitters. Realizing this is the first step to addressing homesickness by developing “self-compassion,” or the understanding that every other new student feels just as nervous as you do.
Crossroads Isn’t Your Mom’s Kitchen
You’ll probably never mistake the food at Crossroads for your mom’s delicious home cooking. But the good news is you won’t need to. Students of all cultures and backgrounds will be happy to learn that Berkeley is one of the most gastronomically diverse cities in America. With an array of restaurants specializing in all types of world cuisines, it’s likely that you’ll be able to find n Berkeley whatever food you’re missing from home. And once you find it, you’ll be well on your way to curing homesickness, because eating familiar foods is one way of reducing “acculturation stress,” or the stress of adapting to a new environment.
Go Hit the Club Scene
If the sheer size of college feels overwhelming, then consider joining a club to shrink the student population into more manageable subgroups. A great resource to start with is the club directory. Even better, find out for yourself what each club is about by attending the annual Calapalooza club fair, held this year on August 29 from 3:30 to 7 pm on the Sproul Plaza. In addition, once classes start, you could join one of the Student Learning Center’s study groups if you’re having trouble with academics. You might just find your homesickness disappearing once you start getting more involved on campus, since “the more invested students feel in their new school… the less homesick they are likely to feel.”
Relationship Status: It’s Complicated
Friending your parents on Facebook might be uncool, but it’s certainly acceptable to contact them every once in a while if you’re feeling blue. Occasional email, text, or video chat exchanges are good ways to re-establish connections with people you miss and encourage “positive adjustment” to the feelings of separation that accompany homesickness. But even if you don’t contact your loved ones, they’ll probably contact you—because even though it may sometimes seem like you’re all alone in a new place, the truth is that your family will always care about you no matter where you are.
- Homesickness and Adjustment in University Students from Journal of American College HealthCitations <http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/07448481.2012.673520>
Article by Jersey Deng
Feature Image Source: BRIC Language Systems