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7 Proven Ways to Cope With Homesickness While at College

Homesickness at college is more common than you might think. Here are 7 ways to combat those feelings when away from home.

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Going away to college for the first time is very exciting but also very stressful. There is a whole lot that you, a new college student, would need to do, which can be very overwhelming at times.

If you are going to college down the road from home or even going across the country. There are things that you can do to help you make that huge transition just a tad bit easier and fight off homesickness.

As a fellow college student, I am in my second year of this crazy life, living almost 370 miles (about 596 km) away from home. I, alongside other students, have some tips and tricks to share. Here are some ways to help with homesickness and having that big life transition over to college easier to handle.

1. Go Out and Make Friends

A group of people talking and having fun.
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As a new college student, going out and getting involved is a great way to meet new people. Making new friendships and relationships with others will help with adjusting to a new environment. Going out and meeting new people is not an easy task to do at first. Here are some ways you can go out and meet new people around campus, including, but not limited to:

  • Campus Clubs
  • Organizations
  • Sororities & Frats
  • Social events around campus
  • Sports teams

As a new college student, every other Freshman is in the same boat as you. They are in a new place, with new people. In the beginning, it is uncomfortable to put yourself out there, but once you start to branch out, you will feel more connected. Those new people that you meet, will become a support system in a way. Once you start to meet new people and establish relationships, it will become easier.

2. Decorate Your Living Space With Comfort Items

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Decorating your dorm or apartment that you will be living in will help you feel less homesick, and it is an overall fun thing to do, for most. Bringing items from home can help lessen the feeling of missing things from back home. It can be pictures of family, friends, and pets on the walls, stuffed animals, and blankets. Even bringing some snacks that will remind you of home can help a great deal.

Comfort items would help to make us feel better after not feeling the best. Decorating with items from home would make the living space more welcoming, familiar, and cozy.

3. Stay in Touch With Family and Friends

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Staying in touch with family and friends back home is very important. You should find ways to talk to old friends, parents, siblings, and even pets. It can be via any means. For example, FaceTime, WhatsApp, etc.. Whether it is random calls or scheduled ones, try to be in touch with the people you care about back home.

The trick with talking to family and friends back home is to not talk to them too much. Do not talk to your family more than the people at college. Life is at college and talking to loved ones too much will take those new experiences away. You, as a college student, need to find a good balance between talking to people back home and being present at college.

4. Acknowledge Your Feelings

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Having feelings and emotions is a part of being human. If you are feeling homesick or any other emotion you may be expecting, acknowledge it. It is completely normal if you get homesick, about 50%-75% of the population has experienced homesickness.

There are ways to go about your emotions and feelings of homesickness. It is ok to have these types of emotions after a big life change, here are some ways to help cope:

  • Talk to the RA (resident advisor)
  • Stay in your room and watch a movie
  • Reach out for help

Acknowledging these feelings and letting yourself feel these things are important. Homesickness can show up in many different ways for different people. Reach out for help if you need to, there are plenty of resources on campus to go to. Including RA’s, counselors, etc.

5. Tour Around Campus And See What College Has To Offer

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Going around campus and exploring has many beneficial effects. Staying inside your room all the time will make the effect of feeling lonely and intensify the feeling of homesickness. Staying in your room makes it easier to think about home. Go outside and just start to walk around. Explore the campus that you will be staying at for the next few years. These activities that you can do include, but are not limited to:

  • Go to a local restaurant/try new restaurants
  • Sightsee
  • Go to fairs
  • Go to a museum
  • See a play and/or musical

Going out and seeing what your college has to offer will help you handle the feelings of homesickness. As well as it gives you the chance to see your college and know the places you like and would want to go to when you’ll be there.

6. Make a Routine

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Having a change in environment and uprooting your life is a difficult change. You most likely will not have the same routine as you did back home. But establishing a routine and keeping yourself busy will help you with being homesick and the transition to college life much easier.

Making a routine is easier said than done. As a student, your class schedule should shape much of the routine you have. Classes should not be the only thing a part of your daily routine. Some activities that you can add to your routine can be:

  • Waking up at the same time
  • Having time for self-care
  • Campus sports teams or clubs
  • Going to the gym/exercise, inside or outside

Having a few activities that you will be doing regularly, doing them every day will help you get settled into a new environment. Establishing a routine creates structure, which would help any incoming college Freshman.

7. Keep Yourself Busy

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Keeping yourself busy at college will help decrease the feelings of loneliness and homesickness. Getting involved with your campus and keeping yourself occupied with different activities with help shorten the experiences of homesickness. Do not overbear yourself with a ton of things to the point of stressing. Do enough where you can still relax and have some ‘me time.’ Going outside and keeping your mind on other things, such as:

  • Hanging out with new friends
  • Sports Teams
  • Exploring campus
  • Doing homework and studying
  • Decorating
  • Cleaning your room

There are many things that you can do to keep yourself busy in college life. Keeping busy and making memorable memories at college will be worth it. This helps a great deal with homesickness as well because homesickness is often triggered by feeling lonely or empty. Keeping yourself occupied and with friends will lessen the effects of the emotions of homesickness.

When keeping busy, try new things that you might not have tried before that could fill your time, such as:

  • New sport
  • Try some new foods
  • Try to get a part-time job
  • Try to get an internship

This even applies to studying abroad or leaving home for a long period of time. College life is the time to remember and make memories. Homesickness will come and go, but keep in mind the tricks of going out, keeping busy, and making friends.

Written By

I am 20 years old, born and raised in the state of New Jersey. I am currently at West Virginia University, studying to get my bachelors degree. I am studying multidisciplinary studies with the minors in creative writing, history, and philosophy.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Chris C

    December 23, 2023 at 1:33 pm

    I just loved your article especially the point you made not to keep call home to talk to family and friends. Your life is now at college and you need to own it.

  2. Kimm Crispo

    December 23, 2023 at 2:24 pm

    Great advice and very well written.

  3. Linda Carter

    December 23, 2023 at 4:20 pm

    Lauren, What a well written artical, full of good advice and common sense. Love you. Mom Mom

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