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Homesickness: More common than you think

Posted by The Elm on February 8, 2014 Leave a Comment

By Emma Way Senior Writer Whether you came from 20 minutes away or 20 hours away, homesickness is not uncommon for college students. Feelings of missing home can come in a wide variety of severity. According to CNN, homesick people may feel anxious, sad, and have persistent thoughts of home. At Washington College some students travel all the way from Hong Kong while some have lived in Chestertown all their life. Some students may struggle with missing their families, but not know how alleviate their feelings of homesickness, so take it from the upperclassmen experts on ways to help in making that transition. Sophomore Ryan Miranda, hails from Conneticut and decided to come to WC for its strong Anthropology program as well as active crew team. Initially I was really looking forward to what I would learn as well as the people I would meet. After a few weeks of school I began to get homesick. I started to miss the little things about Conneticut that I loved, he said. Dominic Lathos, junior, came to WC from California in order to be closer to Washington DC. I choose WC because it was the only campus visit that I had where I felt comfortable on the campus and knew that I could make it my home away from home. Freshman year there is so many new things to experience and new people to meet that I didnt really have time to be homesick. I would say that sets in later, during sophomore and junior year when youve continued to miss birthdays and some holidays a couple of years in a row, said Lathos. First year student Elizabeth Stackowitz, is from Long Island, N.Y. and said, I like Maryland a lot better than New York sometimes [but] I miss my twin sister a lot. Overcoming homesickness when a student is so far away from home requires a few key ingredients. According to Lathos, having a good support group of friends is vital to easing the feeling of missing home. He said, I really have made a second family at school so I end up being homesick when I fly home to Cal ifornia as well. I got over the feelings of homesickness by keeping in contact with my family and friends. Ill call my mom maybe a couple times a week [and] Ill also call or text with my sister, brother, or dad as well as my best friend, said Miranda. Lathos also said that keeping in touch with family is very important in making a smooth transition. The best way to overcome feelings of homesickness is to call or Skype with your loved ones whom you are missing. It really helps just to hear their voice and a good conversation with them can keep the homesickness at bay, he said. Immersion is another key aspect of making sure every students experience at WC is positive. Getting involved with clubs or even having an on-campus job can help consume time they may have previously been spent thinking about what you may be missing from home.

Keep an active social life, and mingle with people from different cultures. Go out, and do stuff. The busier you are, the less homesick you will get, said Anja Trenkwalder, a first year student from Austria. Stackowitz recommends breaking the ice by complimenting people as well as getting involved with clubs or even Greek Life. Additionally she brought a lot of pictures with her to college and uses them to make collages to remind her of her family and friends back home. The best tip I would give to any student who is feeling homesick is to not be embarrassed to call home. When you need help or are stressed and need someone to talk to, call your parents, theyve been through this before and can give a lot of advice, said Miranda. According to Josh Klapow, a clinical psychologist and associate professor at the University of Alabamas School of Public Health, cited on CNN, feelings of homesickness stems from o ur instinctive need for love, protection and security feelings usually associated with home. Feeling homesick for a brief time during a period of transition is normal and nothing to be worried about. Its just your emotions and mind telling you youre out of your element, said Klapow.