Homesickness: it is the taboo feeling all freshman avoid thinking and speaking about at all costs. We entered into adulthood the moment we bid our parents goodbye and began making everyday decisions on our own. What time should I wake up and go to sleep? Is it socially acceptable to eat ice cream after every meal? Essentially, we are growing more mature and learning new lessons each time we answer one of these subconscious questions.
However, there are some questions we avoid answering in hopes of easing the transition into college: What is my Mom doing right now? Is my family having a good time without me? Are my parents missing me? As “adults” we feel we no longer need to dwell on our old memories of home for we are in the process of forging new memories at Ithaca. We fight off thoughts of our parents, our home and our pets because we feel we need to move on from that phase in our lives and begin a new one.
From my experiences thus far, no one readily shares their thoughts of home, on this new transition and on any negative feelings that come with leaving our old lives behind. What is wrong with stating one is homesick? When did this normal and expected feeling become a negative character trait? For me, it is natural to talk about my home and my parents. My family is comprised of my best friends, of people I love spending time with. It was hard for me to leave them behind. For the first week of college, I felt as though I was dropped off at a foreign destination and was forced to be social and make myself comfortable amidst feelings of discomfort. Everywhere I looked I saw a smiling and exuberant face and I couldn’t help asking myself why I didn’t feel the same way. Each time I attempted to find solace by asking my new friends if they missed their home, I was met with hesitation and ultimately a resounding “not really.” Why was I the only one struggling with transitioning into a new life apart from my family?
It finally took two days of crushing sadness and a teary phone call with my Mom to make me realize I am not the only person experiencing these feelings. There are kids at every college who question their purpose for being there, who question if they are truly ready to transition into a new life. Though no one shares these feelings because they believe it makes them appear weak or juvenile, homesickness is an extremely common condition. If you are feeling this way, know you are not alone. I am, too, as well as thousands of other college students. Once we realize this fact, we can breath a sigh of relief and push ourselves to make the best of these four years. Join a club, go to someone else’s room, take a walk with a friend around campus. As you slowly acclimate yourself to college and begin to build a routine, comfort will slowly creep in to your everyday life.
Know you are not far from your family. Whether you are from Orange County, New York or Orange County, California, your family is only a phone call, text, or FaceTime session away. Personally, I have found comfort in talking to my Mom each night before I go to bed and texting her updates throughout the day. These small acts make me feel connected to my life back home and to my parents. Calling a parent or sibling does not make you weak, it makes you strong. They provide reassurance and support when you are doubting your ability to handle college.
As time goes by, the transition will become easier. Take your time and give yourself a break if you find yourself feeling sad, frustrated, or anxious. It will get better, and soon you may find yourself texting, calling, or FaceTiming a little less than before.