A large portion of the incoming student population may experience homesickness as the excitement of going to college and living on their own starts to wear off and they settle into a new routine of going to class and studying.
There are resources available to help students get through this emotional rollercoaster without having to leave college.
According to the Random House Dictionary, homesick is defined as “sad or depressed from a longing for home or family while away from them for a long time.” It is normal to become homesick when leaving your friends and family behind. Homesickness can be overcome, even if the feelings are overwhelming at first.
It is OK to have a sad day every once in a while, but not every day. According to an advice article on About.com, “letting yourself process through your emotions can be a great way of dealing with them.”
Another About.com article suggests “Five Things to Do to Combat College Student Homesickness” and offers solutions to help students manage their feelings. It suggests that students call home, but no more than once a day.
Another suggestion: if you miss home too much, then going home once could help. However, going home too often could make matters worse. Going out with friends at college can help students relax and make the transition easier.
Furthermore, calling friends from home can provide emotional assurance as they may be experiencing similar feelings. Getting out of the dorm room, trying new things and experiencing college life may assist in keeping students’ minds busy and not focused on missing familiar surroundings. If you, in good faith, try all of these options and are still overwhelmingly homesick, it doesn’t hurt to ask for help.
Students who feel continually sad or depressed can reach out to trusted professors, resident advisers and on-campus counselors.
At USF, the Counseling Center offers assistance for all types of problems, including depression. The service is confidential, and all students are eligible for counseling.
The center is located on campus in the Student Services building (SVC). Students can make an appointment by calling 813-974-2831. For more information, visit its website at usfweb2.usf.edu/counsel.
Homesickness is natural, but the feelings will likely subside with time if students remain active at college, make new friends and call or visit home occasionally. In a few more weeks, college will feel more like home, and students may be homesick for school when they head home for winter break.
Regina Farrell is a junior majoring in art history.