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Navigating Homesickness

Homesickness can occur whether you are three weeks or three years into your college career, and the word itself sums up both the physical and emotional discomfort that go along with it. Your stomach is in knots from newfound anxieties and overwhelming pressures; you are exhausted from staying up late doing the homework that you are not used to doing after a long, relaxing summer. It can strike without warning or without a very large trigger: maybe you fail an insignificant quiz, or your roommate gives you a funny look that you completely misinterpret. It causes you to feel sensitive and vulnerable, and you just want to be at your own house with your family and your old friends. You miss the life that is the most familiar and the most comfortable to you.

That being said, there’s a lot more to homesickness than missing your house, your friends and your family. A lot of the time, what is actually provoking this all-consuming desire to be back at home is simply dealing with the need to adjust. At the beginning of every school year, every student will go through a transitional phase, regardless of how many years of college they have under their belt. Even if your friends at school are great and you are having tons of fun, you are bound to at some point feel a little lost, engulfed, and maybe even worried that this sensation will last forever.

The best thing to do is simply not to panic. Fortunately, homesickness is a temporary state. Just like grief over a bad grade, it is a feeling that will go away with time. If you  find yourself feeling down and waiting for the feeling of homesickness to pass, here are some tips to help you alleviate it.

 1. Call your parents.

Although most college students will only call their parents when things are going either swimmingly or tragically, try to make a habit of calling your parents just to check in, tell them about your week, and also to hear what’s going on at home. Sometimes just hearing your mom’s voice or a funny story about your dog is enough to help soothe the discomfort of homesickness.

2. Make fun weekend plans.

Take advantage of BC’s close proximity to Boston and plan a trip downtown with friends. Choose a fun place to get dinner, go shopping on Newbury or buy tickets to a show. Planning an exciting and eventful weekend will give you something to look forward to and help get you through a long week of classes, which will take your mind off of being homesick.

3. Find your routine.

As time goes on, you will naturally create a schedule for waking up, eating meals, going to class, exercising and spending your free time. Find ways to distract yourself and get involved on campus. Find a group of friends to eat meals with between classes. Stay healthy and active and try a new fitness class. Get involved on campus by joining a club or activity that interests you. Even if you feel swamped with work, by carefully choosing how you spend your time and creating a schedule that works for you, you will find time to fit in your schoolwork.

4. Stop in at office hours.

You would be surprised by how amazing most of the professors at BC are, and how much they care about their students. Being homesick means not only missing your parents, but also interacting with adults in general. Stop in at two or three professors’ office hours and make the effort to get to know them.

5. Take a deep breath…

…and try to keep things in perspective. Be patient, and know that what you are experiencing will pass. As hard as it might be, what you are feeling is leading to your own growing maturity and sense of self. Difficult times of change and transition like these help shape and strengthen you. This most certainly will not be the last time you have to adjust to a new and unfamiliar life, and it will only better prepare you for what lies ahead.

6. Remind yourself why you’re here.

You chose to come to BC for a reason. There was something about this place that excited you and made decide to spend four of the most important years of your life here. Remember what those reasons were, and write them down. Whenever you start to feel like you’d rather be somewhere else, look at your list and let it help you.

7. Stay true to yourself.

While it may seem tempting to change yourself to better fit into your life at school, you must avoid doing so. Continue to do the activities that you enjoyed in high school, and find friends that will appreciate you, your interests and your values. You’ll soon find a new sense of home that, although different from the one you know and love, is actually pretty awesome.

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