The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

There’s No Place Like Home: How to Deal with Homesickness in College

SJU students use various tactics to not only soothe feelings of homesickness but to also help them push through the semester by only seeing their family through the phone.
Photo Courtesy / Unsplash Christian Erfurt

College is a time of seeking personal growth, whether it be through joining a club or meeting new people. But going away to college is a big transition, and it can be strenuous to leave home. Throughout this new chapter of life, homesickness can hit hard. Here are a few ways St. John’s University students acknowledge and combat homesickness. 

Acknowledging Homesickness

If students notice feelings of homesickness, a beneficial way to cope with these feelings is to acknowledge them rather than ignoring it. Missing home is a normal emotion, one that most students feel when first moving away.

“I feel that my mood and my outlook on college life as a freshman suffered because of my homesickness; I bottled these feelings up and chose to ignore them,” sophomore Sarah Esposito said. “Looking back now, wallowing in my homesickness took the excitement away from a lot of things.”

When noticing repetitive negativity surrounding homesickness, try engaging in another task. These can be small activities to pass some time, such as cleaning your room, going for a walk or listening to some music. Additionally, establishing a self-care routine can reduce anxiety, depression and stress, and help students adapt to changes and build strong, beneficial relationships. 

Maintaining Connections to Home

Bringing pieces of home with you to college – like a favorite throw pillow or a stuffed animal –  can make a living space feel more inviting and comfortable. Additionally, students can try mirroring the aesthetics of their home bedroom. 

“My bedroom at home has gray walls and a lot of wooden accents, so when I moved into my dorm, I wanted that same color scheme,” said senior Molly Shaughnessy. “I think this brought a nice touch of home with me to school that kept me company while I was hours from where I grew up.”

Scheduling visits home by glancing at an academic calendar can provide students with motivation and something to look forward to. Organizing a visit home in advance and planning activities with friends and family can help the semester fly by with more positive feelings.

Getting Involved (and Distracted)

Joining a club is a great way to make friends and get active with campus life, as is joining a fraternity or sorority, which can aid in leadership skills and increase social and recreational involvement. 

“Getting involved on campus through being a brother of Phi Delta Theta as well as holding various Executive Board positions in the Arab Student Organization has allowed me to truly create a home away from home at St. John’s,” says senior Adam Mokbel. “Whenever I come to campus, I’m excited to be here because I know that being involved and making friends through these organizations make it more fun to study, do homework or even just grab lunch.”

As a student, taking advantage of the available campus amenities gives time to explore campus. Colleges usually have a gym and recreation center, along with a library with study spaces throughout campus. Trying different dining options on campus is an exciting way to distract oneself from homesickness.

While homesickness can plague many students, it doesn’t have to remain detrimental to a student’s college experience. Viewing new experiences as challenges instead of threats will transform your mindset into a more optimistic one. Picking up the phone and calling home once a week, joining a new sport or club and searching campus for its amenities are beneficial ways for a student to combat homesickness and remain present.

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