How to Deal with Homesickness when Studying Away from Home
written by myrra kate
(Note: I’m sorry for not posting yesterday, loves! I didn’t forget though; I just was so preoccupied with academic things – particularly, an assignment in a major subject. That was why I slept last night feeling guilty that I hadn’t had the chance to blog. Anyhow, here’s to compensate for what I’ve missed! Happy reading!)
When I first came here in my university as a freshman student, I became so homesick. I was so used to being with my family and friends that when I entered this unfamiliar territory, I felt like a stranger. I didn’t know anyone and I felt so lost. Nights were spent crying over the things I miss back home and days were spent thinking of what it may be like, at that moment, back home. Home indeed is where you belong, and this – this new place – may just be somewhere I couldn’t ever belong to.
But that’s because I thought of it like that. According to Dr. Josh Kaplow of the University of Alabama at Birmingham as was cited in the Her Campus site, “[Homesickness is] not about missing home—[your] house, [your] bed. Very often it’s about missing what’s normal and comfortable, what we’re used to, and not quite being comfortable with your new way of life.” He also added that “feeling homesick is part of learning to live a new life—you can’t do it without going through some sort of adjustment period.”
Thus, homesickness, unless it reached the most severe level, is not something to be worried so much about because it’s normal. We go through it while adapting to a new environment.
This is also where we can probably the quote “mind over matter“. Because I thought of my new university as someplace I do not belong to, that’s what I felt is truly happening to me. So the day I started to work on it and realize that it’s just normal to miss home and what used to be my everyday life there, I have finally accepted and embraced my new life.
Here are some tips in dealing with homesickness for when you’re studying abroad or away from home, or even when you simply are staying in a place quite far from home:
1. Read about it.
Simply put, when you know what you’re feeling or experiencing and have processed the how’s and why’s of it then surely, you will have found a way to get out of it. In this case, knowing more about homesickness through research, books, or advice from other people will let you understand that “Yes, right now, I may have this trouble but I have ways to solve it.”
2. Let it out.
Don’t be embarrassed that you’re feeling this way. We, as people who adapt to new surroundings and things, usually feel homesick even when we are not aware of it. We can feel it in varying degrees and we may get over it in different ways.
So cry if you need to, write if you want to, yell if you like to. As long as you’re not harming anybody then let it out. It’s good to release the bad vibes and welcome the good ones, right?
3. Call home… sometimes.
Don’t hesitate to call your parents or text your friends to ask how they are doing or what you are missing back home. It’s fine, go ahead! Communication is indeed necessary, especially in times like this.
However, don’t do it too much. Let yourself slowly adjust to a life away from them and a life that you will have to independently live. By doing so, you are making yourself more mature and more resilient.
4. Busy yourself with other relevant things.
This is where reading books or binge-watching your favorite series will probably help you in busying yourself. This is for you not to think of home too much.
You can also find some organizations that you’d like to be a part of or maybe even volunteer. Just do some things that would take your mind off home. Then, let’s see how it goes.
5. Find and meet new friends.
Cmon, you didn’t actually go here just to live a lonely life, correct? Go and meet new friends. Have conversations with lots of people so you can be more aware of what it is like in your new place or what your college life would be. Who knows, maybe some or one of these people may be a true friend you will treasure in the future, right?
6. Be familiar with your new place and the new people in it.
Not only by doing #5 can you familiarize yourself with your new environment but also by traveling. You may visit some new places either with a friend or alone. Find cafes that you can hang out to or benches that will give you that peaceful feeling. Just go and wander! Make yourself a place in your ‘new’ home and find somewhere you feel you belong to.
7. Keep a journal.
This isn’t required, of course, but this sure helps a lot. Writing your feelings out may give you that satisfaction that someone is actually listening to you and accepting you as you are, even with your private thoughts. Trust me, journals are one of the bestest friends you can even have (even if the relationship is only one-way perhaps).
8. Know that it will just pass.
Everything does. You’ll be shocked that one day, you’re already used to your new life to the point where you actually don’t want to leave it. Just remember that even if what you’re feeling now may seem somewhat unbearable and endless, it actually is the opposite. Remember, though, that sometimes, it takes an effort in getting out of your shell and adapting to the new life you have. And yes, actually, this is growing up. This is you entering a new phase in your life, making new memories, and stepping out of your horizons. That’s just quite thrilling, isn’t it?
Have you experienced homesickness as well? Share some tips on how you dealt with it and maybe, you can just help someone who is experiencing it now. Thanks for reading!
I'm Myrra Kate.
I help female entrepreneurs scale their income and impact by launching transformational online courses.
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