Move-in week is usually exciting. First-year students are going to college for the first time, and upperclassmen are returning for a new year. Even with the thrill of making new friends or reuniting and adjusting to classes, some students still yearn for home. With students returning to campus from fall break, I decided to explore reasons behind the phenomenon of homesickness.
According to an article in Psychology Today, the transition from high school to college isn’t meant to be easy. Students can experience homesickness when their parents drop them off. But this doesn’t just happen at freshmen move in; it can strike at any time during the school year. It makes the college experience less enjoyable at times and causes parents to worry more.
To get a better idea of how homesickness affects students, I sent out an online survey to Ithaca College students. Out of the 100 responses I received, 88 percent of respondents said they have experienced homesickness at one time or another. However, 90 percent of those who felt homesick said their homesickness was seldom or occasional compared to the 10 percent who said they felt it often or daily.
No matter the severity, it’s perfectly understandable to feel occasionally homesick in college. Josh Klapow, psychologist and associate professor at the University of Alabama, explains in a CNN article that homesickness isn’t missing your literal house, but missing what you knew as normal and routine.
According to the survey I sent out, the most common causes for homesickness are stress and missing one’s hometown, family, friends and pets. When those familiar faces and surroundings are no longer with us, it causes anxiety, making the adjustment to college somewhat difficult. However, with many describing their homesickness as seldom, it isn’t a permanent obstacle. Homesickness can have a positive effect on students, allowing them to grow into mature adults who can handle their emotions and learn to live independently.
Homesickness is different for everyone. Some students can’t wait to go home for breaks, while others don’t miss home at all. For me, homesickness occurs during the stress of midterms and finals week. As a California native, I’m perfectly fine staying with friends or on campus during shorter breaks. Going home twice a year is enough for me, even if it means fewer visits to In-n-Out Burger.
It doesn’t matter if you’re from Syracuse, N.Y., Boston or Los Angeles, there is no shame in missing things about home.