Today I’m here to talk about something that’s really only rung true this year for me… homesickness. I don’t think I fully understood how hard homesickness is until this year, as I’m in my first year of law school. Luckily, I’ve been so busy that most days I’m not totally aware I’m feeling homesick. It’s more like gut wrenching sadness I get when talking to my mom, or the choked up feeling I get after hanging up with my dad, or the nostalgia that overcomes me when I see something that’s reminiscent of California. Homesickness is rough, and can often be debilitating if it gets bad enough. So, I know that a lot of people feel homesick in college, especially their first semester of college. I was lucky enough to be close to home during college, and could easily go home for weekend if I wanted. Or my parents would come visit. I thought moving 3000 miles away would be a breeze, but I sure was wrong. As a result, I wanted to share my top tips for overcoming the homesick feeling, and what helps me stay positive even when I just want to FaceTime my mom and cry.
(1) Take every day as it comes. I can’t think too far in advance, I resist looking at the calendar, tallying how many days until I’m on plane because sometimes it doesn’t feel too far away, but as soon as I look at a calendar, the length left hits me like a train. I’ll be thinking, “oh, this semester is going so fast, it must be Christmas soon,” then realize I still have 50 days left until I’m CA bound. A way to circumvent this is to focus on each day, and just do what I can within that day without giving too much thought to being so far from home.
(2) Surround yourself with friends. This can help alleviate some of the lonely, homesick feeling, but it’s not a cure-all. Chances are that most your friends have seen family, so they’re not feeling homesick. It’s good to be around people, but I stress that when they start talking about trips home, it’s okay to tune them out. It may seem rude, but hearing about all your friends spending time with family will just make being homesick worse. Still, being with friends is definitely helpful!
(3) Make time to call family. Make sure you’re making time to call, FaceTime, etc. Keep your family present in your life, and you will miss them less. I always try to call my parents once a day, but sometimes that doesn’t happen so I try to ensure that the next time I talk to them, I have AMPLE time to chat.
(4) Remember that home misses you too. I get a text from my mom daily that she misses me. I understand that this distance isn’t easy on my parents and sibling, which makes me feel less bad for being sad and missing home. Reminding yourself that home is still there, waiting for you, and wanting you to return makes it a bit easier to be away from it. Home isn’t going anywhere!
(5) Look forward to the day you get to return. I know I said don’t plan too far ahead. What I meant was don’t look at a calendar each morning and count the days, and wallow in the number of days that remain. Rather, look forward to going home, but don’t dwell on how far away it is. I’m not going home for Thanksgiving, and ALL my friends are. I’m focusing on the work I’ll get done, and looking forward to Christmas when I get to go home after finals, and just relax with family and enjoy the holidays.
(6) My final tip is to be expressive. Say you miss family. Say you’re feeling homesick to your closest friends in the new environment. People are willing to help you feel less homesick, but they can’t help if you don’t tell them. People are not mind readers, something I’m learning now more than ever. Sometimes you have to just spell it out. It’s hard to acknowledge homesickness. I cry whenever I do, but it’s also a big help if people are aware you’re feeling homesick, and can try to make you feel less so.
How do you deal with being far away?