Dealing with homesickness and making friends

By John Linderman

Elm Staff Writer

Picture this: it’s late November and the wind chill has you shivering. End-of-term papers are due soon, and that’s not including finals and all the studying that those demand. You are huddled in your room, cranking out work in isolation. Perhaps you’re counting down the days until finals week begins, or when the whole debacle is over and winter break starts. Worst case scenario, you may postpone your own well-being until all the work is finished and you return home.

I’ve been in this spot before with the familiar feeling of homesickness. Maybe earlier in the semester, when you are reunited with friends again, or separated from, and the weather is warm, the idea of homesickness seems sort of silly. Come those finals days though, when work must be crammed in and you feel helplessly stuck in your room or the library, homesickness will haunt you like a specter.

You can feel homesick for anything: friends, family, food, or familiar sights and scenes. If anything, you should allow yourself to feel homesick: it’s a universal feeling that most of the time comes from loneliness. We will often daydream of spending time with family and hometown friends when we are homesick.

Homesickness also occurs most often in colder and more stressful months. Both the temperature and the workload easily leads to loneliness, so it is important that when later in the semester comes, you prioritize healthy work habits and try to see friends often. During finals, students often study with each other in groups for more efficient study sessions, and to battle the discomfort solitude gives us.

So, when those final weeks do start rolling in, remember to stay in contact with friends, and perhaps open up about any homesickness you may feel. There is a good chance your friends are homesick too, and would love to share stories about their hometown spots and friends.

Another easy remedy is to simply hit up all your friends and family from back home. Text messages are great, but phone calls are even better for reconnecting and making plans for when you eventually get back. Call your parents, aunts and uncles, or Facetime your pet.

One last thing: never postpone your own well-being in the name of studying or work. Putting social media and entertainment on the back burner may help you, but remember to keep your body and mind healthy whilst you survive weeks of sedentary torture. If you see a friend struggling, offer a hand or reminder that you are there to help them. It might not sound like it, but it is easy to stop caring about your health when work becomes pressing. It happens most often with freshmen, who are initially excited that college class work does not demand immediate attention, but soon drown in paper extensions and studying in the latter months of the semester.

Homesickness may get you feeling down, but there are plenty of resources and tips to get you by while the semester counts down. The health and counseling services are available Monday through Friday, 8:30 A.M. to noon and 1:00 P.M. to 4:00 P.M. Your professors, RAs, and peer mentors are always ready to listen too. Your writer sends you good vibes.

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