10 Ways to Deal With Homesickness
When I first went off to college in 2010 (yeah I’m old), I went to a small liberal arts school called St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX. It was only about 2.5 hours away from my hometown of Houston. I remember my parents saying goodbye to me in my dorm and my mom tearing up as she left. I’m an only child, so I thought it would take months of adjusting, but the cold, hard truth was I was only a drive away from Houston and my parents visited me often. I didn’t get homesick at all.
Fast forward to starting Newhouse’s Magazine, Newspaper, and Online Journalism program in July and moving to Syracuse, which is you know, a little bit farther away from Texas. I thought it would be so easy to move from Syracuse to Texas. It was going to play out like every young journalist movie/TV Show (Devil Wears Prada, 13 Going on 30, Sex and the City, Girls) who pursued their journalism dreams in the big city. Except this wasn’t NYC. This was Syracuse. And grad school isn’t Vogue. It’s death.
So below are ways that I’ve dealt with my homesickness — hope this helps baby freshman out there, and even the grown adults who are feeling the blues
1. Call your mom. There’s something about moms' voices that are instantly soothing. You can feel the ugly Kim K cry coming on, but when your mom picks up the phone, it’s as if you revert back to your 2-year-old self who fell on the playground. For some reason, Moms know exactly what to say and how to say it in the most “everything is going to be okay, I’m your fairy godmother voice.” Thank the universe for mothers.
2. Nails done, hair done, everything did. When I called my mom on the verge of tears, complaining about how much I missed home — she told me to go get a manicure. At first I thought her advice was ludacris. Like really, go get my nails done? Mom, I’m not 13. But there I was sitting in the mall, being asked what color polish I wanted and deciding whether I wanted an accent nail. For the first time that day, I wasn’t focused on missing home — rather, I was focused on trying out that new nail design I found on Pinterest. So whether it’s getting a manicure or just doing something that helps you get your mind off your homesickness, DO IT.
3. Make new friends, but keep the old. Yeah, your friends from home are great and everything, but they aren’t here. Join a club. Introduce yourself. Walk up to a stranger on the street. You need to start filling your life with new memories and new people, so you aren’t constantly thinking about the old ones.
4. See Syracuse. Back in July, I went to three different festivals in one weekend. It was exhausting, but so worth it. I was out experiencing Syracuse and learning about a new place. I wasn’t thinking about Texas, but instead watching jazz musicians, eating festival food, and hanging out with new friends.
5. Write a letter (yes, people still send those things). I share a journal with three of my friends from back home. We all write in it and trade it, like we’re in The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants, but less weird (we couldn’t find any magical pants). It’s cool to hear about their lives and still feel close to them despite the distance. You may not have a journal to share with your friends, but letters are also nice. There’s also just something so personal about getting a letter from a friend in the mail and seeing their handwritten words on the page.
6. Binge-watch ABC Family. There’s something about ABC Family shows that soothe my soul. Everyone is going through some crisis and you get to feel infinitely better about your life. I’m not sure why I like watching these high school children make huge life decisions as a 22-year-old adult, but somehow, it makes sense. Can’t you already imagine yourself feeling better after watching the girls on Pretty Little Liars follow another bad clue while simultaneously staying in high school forever? Sucks to be them. Disclaimer: For the ones who have no idea what I’m talking about, that sucks. But binge-watching The Bachelor or some other terrible reality show will also do the trick.
7. Accept change. This is so important. You are in a new place, so obviously it’s going to be different. The people you meet are not going to be exactly like the ones that you had at home. Accept it. This is what makes life a challenging adventure. This is also what it means to adapt to a new place. Learn to roll with the changes and embrace them.
8. Get someone to send you a care package. Care packages are like Christmas Day. You feel special when you have a huge box waiting for you to open, with all of your most missed things from home. And most likely there is food in it. What could make you feel better than food?
9. Listen to music. Beyoncé is my go-to whenever I’m feeling down, but listen to anything that will lift your spirits. But no sad music allowed — you need upbeat playlists that actually make you want to get out of bed and go to class.
10. Realize that it’s good to be out of your comfort zone. Homesickness is no fun, but there’s no point in throwing yourself a pity party. Being homesick just means you miss a familiar place. You’re not in Kansas anymore (or in my case, Houston). Life is all about stepping out of your comfort zone, because it is in those times when you grow the most.