At college, homesickness can be a new reality for students who choose to attend college far away. For students, clear signs of homesickness include suffering grades, increased isolation, and depression. On Eastern Nazerene College’s small campus, there are many ways to avoid homesickness.
Regardless of how independent students are or how far away they are from home, most students struggle with homesickness at some point in their college experience.
Regardless of whether you are from California, Arizona, or a different country, leaving home for the first time and developing a new daily routine without your parents is challenging. Due to transportation costs and scheduling conflicts, most students are not able to travel home frequently for visits.
A useful way to avoid homesickness, it is to stay busy. The more free time you spend doing nothing, the more time you have to think about home and what you miss. Students can easily find jobs on campus whether in admissions, the book store, Hebrews, or the mail room.
However, this is not just a way to distract yourself from homesickness: you also experience the working world and increase your own budget. For example, Junior Sayre Borden, a transfer student from California, works eleven hours a week in the mailroom. He explains that “so far, the semester [has gone] by very fast because I always have something to do.”
Particularly at Eastern, there are many options for how you can spend your free time. You can support various athletic teams at their matches, participate in intramural sports, or go to the many late night events. Also, from Eastern’s campus, it only takes 30 minutes to go to downtown Boston by train.
Another way to ward off homesickness is to spend as much time as possible with other people and share your feelings with them. Being open with those around you is key. You can live anywhere with the right people; you just have to find them. Sophomore Jasmine Lattinville from Redlands, California, states: “I keep myself busy and spend time with the people I love.”
It is important to stay determined in your studies and to not think too much about home. Student Sayre Borden, who mainly misses the warm California weather, advises people to “just think about something different.”
It is natural to miss family, friends, and pets from home, but we are living at a time when you can use technology to overcome the distance barrier. Borden tries to Facetime at least once a day with his girlfriend of eleven months. Students who cannot use Facetime can make use of Skype or other messaging systems.
Be careful, however, not to spend too much time talking to the people you miss. Jasmine Lattinville says, “As bad as it sounds, I also avoid talking to my parents, because it helps a lot.” Latinville explained that talking to her parents usually makes her miss home even more.
Many students bring extra comforts, such as pillows or pictures, to ENC in order to feel more at home in their dorms. Lattinville usually eats food that reminds her of home. For instance, she likes to eat Mexican food or ice cream “because that is [her] comfort food.”
There are many ways to combat the feelings of homesickness, and it is important to find the ways that work for you.