Let’s be honest — your first night away from home and in your dorm or apartment may not be as exciting as you dreamt it to be. Instead of making friends, you may find yourself a bit sad or even downright depressed. Don’t worry. It’s totally normal to want to call home or video chat with your mom (or favorite pet). Homesickness comes with the territory of being a student away from home. The good news is that curing homesickness while away at college can be done in just a few steps.
Set Up a Schedule
Before your parents say goodbye, schedule a time to call or check in with them. This could be an hour after they pull away or a week from now. Pick a time that makes you feel comfortable and write it down in your calendar or planner. When homesickness gets to be too much, you will always know you have a bit of home to look forward to. If it helps, you can even make it a regular date.
Find a Connection
A new college town may not seem as great or familiar as home. However, instead of dwelling on losing your favorite coffee shop, restaurant you frequented with friends, or clothing store, make it a mission to find a replacement. Visit all the coffee places in your new town, take a friend and go shopping, or ask upperclassman for recommendations for a favorite late night diner. This will get you out of your dorm and out exploring. And instead of comparing, you may just find yourself with a list of places that’s just as good (if not better).
Living with boxes and storage bins is no way to make a dorm a home. As soon as you’ve got a free moment, unpack right away. Get it done quickly and then either trash or store what you don’t need. These items are meant to be for the transition, not for the now. If you’re using plastic storage bins, dress them up spray paint, decals, or cloth coverings. Trunks can be made into seating areas. And suitcases can be stashed under the bed with winter clothes inside for extra functionality.
Decorate the New Place
And then, get to decorating. Did you love the mirror in your bedroom back home? Recreate it. Need a quiet place to get away from a noisy roommate? DIY a canopy seating area. Looking for some inspiration? Purchase a motivational poster your mom would have approved of. And don’t forget pictures! They’re an important part of making homesickness feel less powerful.
Be Open and Honest
Homesickness is completely normal, even if you’re an adult. We all miss things and people that are familiar to you. That’s why you’ll probably find a person to commiserate with a roommate, a new friend, or even your RA or residence director. If you feel like extra support is needed, ask for a coffee date to discuss your feelings and be sure to listen to them talk about what they miss too. Just hearing it from someone else can reassure you that it’s okay to long for the things we love back home.