Are you feeling homesick? If so, you are not alone! While many students look forward to the freedom and independence of college, it’s not uncommon for feelings of homesickness to arise. Surrounded by newness and unfamiliarity, you may crave the familiarity and comfort of home, your long-time support system, and loving pets. You also may long for home after experiencing some form of rejection, anxiety, or uncertainty. You might feel distressed when you cannot physically go home the moment you wish.

Homesickness is a normal, natural process when adjusting to college. Remind yourself that these experiences are typical when acclimating to a new environment in general, especially when your surroundings and/or the culture are much different from home. People vary in their ability to adapt to change and transition, so be mindful not to compare your experience to those of others. Whether you’re a first-year student or simply adjusting back to campus after a break, show yourself compassion and patience as you navigate these changes. 

Common Experiences: 

  • Feeling anxious when leaving or being apart from loved ones
  • Thinking about home often
  • Negatively comparing your adjustment to your perception of your peers’ experience.
    • “But they seem like they are loving college… there must be something wrong with me.”
  • Feeling sad and/or becoming tearful
  • Wanting to stay in your room and isolate from others
  • Second guessing your decision to attend college
  • Dreading your return to campus after a weekend or holiday break

Helpful Tips:

  • Keep in touch with loved ones by scheduling a call or facetiming with them. 
  • Attend the Student Involvement fair held each September! Connect with others on campus by joining an organization or club based upon an activity or cause that you value. This can be a good way to meet peers who share common interests.
  • Remember why you wanted to come to college. When feeling homesick, you’re probably thinking about all of the reasons you love home and want to go back. Try to reconnect with what excited you about going to college and how it relates to how you want to grow and develop as a person. 
  • Resist the urge to go home every weekend. It may bring temporary relief, but come at a long-term cost and be counterproductive to your goals.
  • Create your “home away from home.” Whether it’s a dorm room or an apartment, create a cozy space that feels homey and comforting. Bring familiar items from home, like favorite blankets and pillows. Put up pictures of friends and family.
  • Challenge your perspective. Having alone time does not always have to mean loneliness. Having alone time can provide unique opportunities for self-growth and increased autonomy. It’s a good time to explore or reflect on your values and goals.
  • Talk about it. Hearing about the experience of an older sibling, RA or mentor, who has gone through it, might be helpful.
  • Consider joining a group or workshop at the Counseling Center.
  • Don’t try to bury the feeling. Utilizing alcohol, drugs or other unhealthy behaviors to manage your feelings will only make things worse. The feelings will likely emerge later disguised as headaches, fatigue, illness, or lack of motivation
  • Take good care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep, eat well and find ways to physically move your body. Establish a schedule and maintain a routine. We typically miss the comforts and safety of home most when we are tired, exhausted or stressed.
  • Try to schedule plans to eat with others. Going to the dining hall alone can feel overwhelming. Reach out to others to see who is available to join you for a meal. You’ll find that others will welcome the invitation.
  • Engage in some self-reflection: 
    • Do you notice any patterns when you are experiencing difficulty? Is there a certain day of the week? A particular time? If so, increase structure and schedule plans in advance on those days or during those times.
    • Think about adjustments in the past… perhaps your adjustment to high school or a summer camp or program. What helped? What didn’t? 
    • What are your expectations for your college experience? Do you expect it to be similar to high school? Do you expect to make friends quickly? Finding close friends doesn’t happen overnight. Remind yourself that forming friendships takes time. 
  • Resist the urge to pick up your phone during times when you can engage others in small talk. Examples may include times such as the start of class, while waiting in line, or when sharing meals.
  • Invite others to get together to study or complete homework as a way to begin to build connections. This approach can help to reduce feelings of social anxiety by focusing on a shared task together.
  • Utilize campus amenities. Explore all that the Lafayette campus has to offer. Take advantage of resources like the library and the recreation center.
  • Get to know the local area. Explore what the Easton community has to offer. 

Seeking Support: 

Feelings of homesickness will generally begin to decrease after a few weeks. If your feelings persist or worsen, consider reaching out to the Counseling Center to help explore and process your emotions. The Counseling Center is here for you as you transition to make Lafayette your home away from home!

Additional Resources:

Watch this video that highlights you are not alone in your transition to college!
Explore this resource on how to adjust to college.
Come meet the Counseling Center and learn how to THRIVE at Lafayette!