How To Avoid Homesickness
Moving away from your native home can bring about a condition known as homesickness. Feeling homesick is a natural stage. Allow yourself to feel homesick… it’s ok! Many people get homesick when moving to a new city or environment. It affects people who leave behind family and friends to begin new lives elsewhere, as well as those who leave home to move to university or college.
Heading off to college for the first time can be a bit intimidating. Whether you are a commuter or you live on campus, you will be surrounded by many unfamiliar faces. The friendships you form during this time are an important part of the experience, and can be quite influential on the rest of your life. You may think that its difficult to make friends in college, especially if you’re shy, but with a little effort it can be quite easy.
One of the best ways to avoid feeling homesick is to integrate yourself as fully as possible into your new way of life.
Getting a part time job is a great way of meeting new people! If you have taken up new employment, attend social functions, or join sports teams associated with your work community. Making new friends is the easiest way to combat the feeling of being homesick.
One way to make friends in college is to get to class early. Not all students show up late or right on time. When you arrive a bit early, you get the opportunity to socialize with other students that are in the room with you before the class starts.
Spend some time in the cafeteria. This is a great way to make friends in college, especially in the beginning of the school year. You can start a conversation with someone else that is sitting alone, run into those that you have become acquainted with through your classes and casually chat up someone on the food line.
Join a school club or association. This is a great way to meet people with similar interests.
Exercise can contribute to improved mood and better sleep.
Be willing to give up some of your free time in order to make friends in college. There are going to be some spur of the moment dinner runs, visits to dorm rooms, study sessions for a class, and parties on a Saturday night. A potential friend wants to be able to spend time with you to develop a friendship, and not get shot down every time they make an offer for plans. However, you should not skip classes or give up your study time for plans, which is something a friend (and other serious students) will understand.
Attend some of the college sponsored events. Whether it is family day, orientation, a football game, or a party, these are great opportunities to make friends in college. Your school’s website should have information on these events.
Offer your help to someone that needs it. If you find that you’re great in a certain class and an acquaintance tells you that they’re struggling, propose studying together after class in a public area. There is a chance that they may run into people that they know and introduce you. You get the opportunity to make new friends in college and do a good deed in the process.
Get away from your dorm room for awhile when you need to study. Go to the lounge area of your dorm, the library, or a spot outside on campus where you can get some work done, but be chatted up by another person that is interested in talking with you.
Simply staying busy will enable you to keep your mind active so that it does not preoccupy itself with thoughts of home. Take the time to get to know your new environment. By exploring the city and finding new places, you can lose any fear you have of the big city. Find a coffee shop that you can make your regular place, and people will soon get to know you and welcome you back.
In a foreign country, make efforts to learn the language, customs, and culture. Immerse yourself in the new culture. Feeling homesick is sometimes linked to culture shock, and the more you immerse yourself in the new culture, the less homesick you should feel.
Feeling homesick is similar to feeling loss for the life you have left behind, but family and friends are no more than a phone call away. You can always keep in touch through email, Windows Live Messenger (video camera is great!), regular mail, etc. Your family and friends will always be happy to hear from you, and even happier if a visit to your new city is extended.
Most importantly, if you want to make friends in college, be yourself and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Embrace your chance to meet new people and form friendships that could last a lifetime.
The good news is, homesickness resides in a semester or two. Be patient, hang in there, keep busy, and make friends. It takes time to adjust to major life changes like this one. Hang in there!