It was about three years ago that I left my home state of North Carolina to fly to UAT. It was a little scary, because I knew absolutely nobody in Arizona, and the first few weeks were a little rough. Since we’re getting close to a new semester, I figured I would give some advice on how to survive feeling homesick.
The first thing to remember when going to college is that you won’t be the only new person there. It’s okay to be nervous! Just realize that there are plenty of other people just as nervous as you are.
When I first moved into the dorm, I was fine for the first couple of weeks. I met a lot of interesting people, I explored Phoenix, and I started my classes in complete confidence. After that, I realized how much I missed being away from my family, friends, and home. I felt really sad and didn’t have energy to do much of anything.
To cope, I did a few things. First, I put up some pictures from home that made me happy, but I also put up pictures of things from UAT and Arizona that made me happy. I read once that only focusing on things from home just makes homesickness worse, and I think that’s absolutely right. By putting up pictures of both home and Arizona, I was able to focus my energy on positive experiences from both without dwelling too much on why I missed home.
Making friends definitely helps homesickness, but it can sometimes be challenging to make friends in a new environment. The best thing to do as an incoming student is to be friendly and say hello to people. If you see a group of people hanging out and playing pool, introduce yourself! If you are walking by and see someone wearing a shirt you like, then let me know! If you’re not comfortable approaching people, find an activity or a club that you’re interested in and join it.
If you feel lonely or bored, find an RA. Besides being current students, the RAs know about what’s going on around campus. They usually host events like ice cream socials, dodgeball, Humans vs. Zombies, game tournaments and much more. Staying busy helps a lot. Plus, the more activities you participate in, the more people you get to know.
Try to keep in contact with your family and friends back home. A quick email, phone call, or text every now and then can be a nice way to keep in touch. Just don’t go overboard and spend all your time talking to people back home.
Overall, just try to keep in mind that homesickness is completely normal and you’re not alone in feeling homesick. Even students who have been in college for a few semesters miss home sometimes. But it does get better with time, support, and practice.