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Missing Home: 5 ways to combat homesickness

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By Joe McHugh

Homesickness can be one of the hardest things for anyone, let alone a college student who is leaving home for the first time. It is something that is new and unknown, which can be scary to tackle without friends and family. Making new friends and experiencing new things can be a daunting task, but with enough confidence it gets a little easier. Here are some ways to remember home and kick that homesickness to the side.

1. KEEP IN TOUCH WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS

This is the No. 1 way to avoid homesickness. Talking to family and friends from home is the best way to break out of the funk from switching places. Call family and tell them all about this new experience. Family love to hear about what is going on and how things are going, so keep them in the loop. They can help and make things easier during the transition. If you have the capability, find a way to Facetime or video chat with family and show them your new dorm and the new place you will be living. It will feel like they are right there with you. Playing games with friends from home can be a way to ease into leaving and help with being bored. If they are also transitioning to college, then talk to them about it. See how their experience is going and compare it to what you are going through, so you won’t feel alone and can make the first bit of your new situation a lot easier.

2. MAKE A HOMECOOKED MEAL

There is nothing better than having a dish that you have had for as long as you can remember. So why not cook it yourself? Call whoever makes the best dish and ask for the recipe. Whether it’s grandma’s famous meatloaf, or your neighbor’s cornbread, cooking that meal is sure to remind you of home. It will keep you busy and making the meal will turn out hopefully just as good as whoever makes it.

3. PLAN SOME ACTIVITIES WITH NEW FRIENDS

Another way to beat homesickness is to plan some activities with new friends or classmates. People who have been to college often say, “I met some of my best friends in college.” Why can’t you? Homesickness works because of the memory of all the friends you had at home, and you miss them. That is alright! College is a time to make new friends and emerge from the cocoon into a social butterfly. Plan a time to study or find a cool place to hang out — the options are endless.

4. KEEP BUSY

It sounds like a simple concept but making the time that you have full of activities, studying and other things will keep your mind busy and away from longing home. Like the last point, the possibilities are endless, and it is a great opportunity for you to express yourself in your new area. Go for a walk around campus and find cool new places to study or read a book. Walk around your area to find interesting places to eat or places to go out with your new friends. Think of anything and there will be something to keep you busy.

5. FIND THINGS THAT REMIND YOU OF HOME

Finding things that remind you of home can be difficult, however finding things that make your new place feel more like home can be very effective at getting rid of homesickness. If you have a particular family activity, like game night, plan that with your new friends and make that a weekly thing. If you have a specific night where you have a certain food, such as pizza on Fridays, do that as well. This will scratch the itch of being away from home and put you right back into that feeling of comfort.

Overall, homesickness is not a hard task to overcome. There will always be that part of you that misses where you came from. But the other part of you should be more than eager to hop right into this new situation and make the most of it. CT

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