You may have been excited to start college (I was!), but then as you watched your parents drive away from you, or you drove away from them in the driveway, an intense feeling of dread might have kicked in. No one is quick to admit it, but homesickness is a thing, a very real thing! And contrary to what the moniker might entail, it doesn’t really have much to do with your home, or the physical place you lived.
Home is Where the Heart Is
In an article published by CNN, Josh Klapow, a clinical psychologist and associate professor at University of Alabama explains that homesickness “stems from our instinctive need for love, protection and security — feelings and qualities usually associated with home” (Ho).
So even though your dorm might be bland, your mattress is lumpy, and your roommate is weird…those aren’t really the reasons why you’re so sad all of a sudden and want to go home. What you really miss is just your family and friends!
It doesn’t mean you’re a baby! It means you’re human. So if you’re feeling guilty about this, don’t! It’s perfectly natural.
Know you’re not alone…
‘Cause I’m gonna make this place your home! In the words of the great Phillip Phillips, settle down it will all be clear. Everyone is homesick at first (even if they don’t say it) and you have people to talk to! The most important thing is that you find each other and share these feelings. Talk with your roommate and bond over your favorite things from back home.
Friends are the Medicine
If homesickness is from our instinctive need for love, then the best solution is just to find your new family. Your friends are what make your Carolina experience great and what will make UNC your new home. Don’t shut yourself in your room and just watch Friends on Netflix while crying about the good ol’ times. Get out there! Meet people! Go eat on Franklin with your suite or introduce yourself to your next door neighbors! You will find that as soon as you find your school family, you won’t be so homesick anymore because you are home!
Not to mention, our residential communities always have fun things going on like parties, free food give-aways, game nights, and more! Take advantage of these opportunities to have a good time!
You’d be surprised by how much decorating your room like your room at home or anything else cozy can make you feel a lot better!
Don’t Forget Your Roots
Just because you’re having a good time in college doesn’t mean you should give up on your old friends and family! Keep in touch with them because they miss you too! (Especially your parents, seriously!) Skype is a great way to catch up! Once a month, have a Skype date, and share your current adventures! This will help any residual homesickness!
If You Still Feel Alone…
Carolina has a lot of resources that can help you improve your mental health. CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) are a great resource available to all students at UNC. They are committed to helping you!
Your RA is also a great option! They are basically like your mom. But cooler. 😉
If All Else Fails…
Visit home. It takes the strongest person to say they need a break. Take a weekend, have your mom hug you, and pack you some food to remind you of home. You’ll come back feeling rejuvenated and ready to try again!
Don’t stress too much about homesickness. Once you get into your studies, you won’t even have enough time to think about it. As someone who left the nest early to go to boarding school, I understand how scary it can be. It only took a week for me to find my family and start calling my school home. The real problems is when you go back home for the summer and then start telling your parents you want to go home.
“You are at home!”
“No! Carolina, home.”
If you ever need anyone to talk to, feel free to reach out to me or the rest of the bloggers! You can never have enough friends!