Moved Away From Home For The First Time? Here’s How To Manage Sneaky Homesickness
This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s fall editorial intern Hannah Yarrington. Find her on Instagram at @513hny. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the college school year in full swing, many people are starting to experience their first bout of homesickness after moving away from their parents. Going to a new place and leaving everything you’ve ever known is tough, and being homesick is a very normal thing that isn’t always discussed much. I feel like I’ve always heard that moving away from home will be great, and you can finally be your own person. And while that is true, it’s also terrifying, and sometimes, I just miss my mom. College homesickness is something that many of us Zillennials have experienced in our lives and is something I have personally struggled with for the first several years of moving out. It was a big adjustment, and I’m still learning how to live all alone. So, whether you’re struggling with college homesickness or have just recently moved away from home, here are some tips for managing the feeling and possibly overcoming it.
Find a hobby
Finding a hobby to do in my free time was crucial for helping with those lonely nights in my room. When you have those moments where you just moved in or are struggling to make friends, you need something to do to get yourself busy; otherwise, just laying in your bed on your phone will make you feel worse. Try reading, learn how to paint or crochet, cook your favorite home meals, and start going on runs or to the gym. Find something that interests you that you can do when you’re feeling lonely that can take your mind off of things. It’s okay if nothing sticks at first, but keep trying to find something you can be passionate about.
I know I know, this is the same thing that everyone says when you first go to college, but I promise it is so true. For me, joining clubs and organizations was hard at first, and I was really nervous about what people were going to think of me. But it’s important to remember that almost everyone there feels the same thing as you or has felt that anxiety before. I have met some really great people by just putting myself out there and just trying new things.
Again, this is often easier said than done, but putting yourself in a space with people who have things in common with you makes making friends a heck of a lot easier. Invite those people out and do something together outside of your club, and you can get to know them better and eventually grow to be friends. Remember that you can be brave, but you can also be scared, and that you are not alone in that feeling.
Decorate your new space
After moving out of your childhood bedroom, your new room and space just don’t feel like home; it feels like you’re just staying at a hotel. So, personalizing your room can make you more comfortable in an unknown space (here are some dollar store decor hacks to help you along). My apartment room became a safe place for me when I was first entering college and was something in my environment that I could control when I couldn’t control anything else around me. Get some things that remind you of home, put up pictures of your friends and family, decorate your room the way you’ve always wanted to, and just have fun with it. Having that safe space can make it much easier to adjust after moving away.
It’s OK to call and go home
When you first move away from home, calling your parents or going home for the weekend almost seems illegal. I feel like I’ve always been told that you have to stick it out to overcome homesickness and that you should have basically no contact with your family. But I don’t think that should be a hard rule. While you want to have some sort of separation from your family, you can call your parents when you’re feeling sad or unsure of life, and you can go home on random weekends even when it’s not a holiday. Becoming an adult is a hard transition, but you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Your parents know what it’s like having to grow up and can offer much comfort during this challenging time. Eventually, you will find friends and become more comfortable in your new space, but having the support of your family can be extremely helpful when taking these first steps.
However, I don’t recommend going home every single weekend. Then, you’re never able to be less homesick, and you’ll constantly just want to go home. It’s all about finding a good balance so you can feel connected to your new city or campus. But if you want to go home or call your parents, it’s OK, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed that you miss home. Staying at school all semester is not for everyone, and everyone’s college experiences are going to be different. So do what you have to do to get through it is what I suggest.
And that is a few different ways to make moving away easier and how to deal with that college homesickness or just your regular homesickness. I promise that things will get better, and it’s normal to feel like this. Even if it’s been two years and you’re still homesick, IT IS OK. People grieve their childhoods in many different ways, and just because you’re taking a little bit longer to get into the swing of things, you’re still doing a great job. Keep it up!
Are you dealing with college homesickness? What are some ways you’ve overcome it? Have you tried these tricks before? Let us know!