An article titled “Dealing with Homesickness” gives three ways to ease into the challenging transition to college. The ways were bringing something from home that provides you comfort or is a reminder of home, getting involved on campus and meeting new people, and to balance your time between getting to know the new environment and keeping in touch with your friends and family (“Dealing with Homesickness,” 2017).
Another article titled “How to Handle Being Homesick at College” suggests ways that students can create a sense of home on campus. Some of the suggestions were recognizing the feeling of homesick is normal, reach out to others for support, share your feelings, familiarize yourself with the new surroundings of campus, stay in touch with friends and family, and connect with other students through clubs or campus jobs (Moody, 2019).
I personally have moved over 2,500 miles away from Washington State to attend the University of Pikeville in southeast Kentucky. I am on the Women’s Bowling team here. I knew that coming this far away from home was going to be difficult for me when I began this transition and I want to be able to help others through this tough time. Some of the ways I have been coping with being away from home is spending time with my teammates, keeping myself busy as much as I can, and keeping in touch with friends and family at home.
When doing my research and talking to others, I realized I was doing the right things to get through this transition. These ideas are helping and I want to be able to help others after me through their homesickness.
Vanessa Fuzie – Bowling Teammate Interview
- Where are you from?
- What’s the longest amount of time you have been away from home?
- What are some of the ways you are personally coping with being away from home?
- What is something you brought from home that is helping you?
Her response was:
“I am from Las Vegas, Nevada. Before going to college, the longest time I was away from home was about 5 days. Now this is a huge change for my family and I. Being this far from them is difficult, but luckily in this day and age, we have the technology to FaceTime and text whenever we feel. FaceTime and texting are a way me and my family cope with me being gone. I brought some room décor from my room back home to college to make my dorm room as homey as possibly. I also brought a blanket that I have always used since I was a child.”
Bobby Brown – Women’s Bowling Coach Interview
- How long have you been coaching college bowling?
- About how many miles is the longest you have brought someone to be a part of your college team?
- What are some of the things you do and provide for your team when they are away from home to help them through this transition?
His response was:
“I have been coaching bowling for 22 years now. The locations of some of the players I have had in the past to current players are California, Washington, and Puerto Rico. I am currently recruiting more international players. This year is Mexico, Germany, Ukraine, Singapore and Brazil. My major goal is to make it known that my family is your family. We do family activities like cookouts and game nights and other things to make them feel at home. I also use my resource on campus also Family Connections and Student Success to help with the transition. The major thing is to show them that they are part of something here.”
Stephanie Stiltner – Director of Family Connections Interview
- How do you help parents when communicating to them about their student’s homesickness?
- What are some campus resources for students who are struggling being away from home?
- What are ways that parents can help their students when they show they are homesick?
Her response was:
“When I meet families during GROWL, summer orientation, we talk about homesickness and that it can happen to anyone. A student can live within driving distance of campus and be homesick. I encourage families to have a conversation with their student before they move to campus about communicating with family once they are “at college.” Students and families often have different ideas of how often they will communicate and how they will communicate. By having a conversation early, both the student and family can agree upon when and how often they will be in touch. By opening the lines of communication, families can help identify homesickness in their student and make sure their student is comfortable reaching out to them with issues related to homesickness.
The best advice comes from fellow students. They will tell incoming students time and time again that the best thing they can do to become adjusted to campus life is to get involved. Don’t stay in the residence hall and leave only for classes and meals. Attend events, strike up a conversation with someone on the same residence hall floor, join a club, or find a study group. There are countless ways to become involved on campus. Start early and attend all New Student Orientation and Welcome Week events. Everyone who attends those events are in the same boat as you … new to campus and figuring out this thing called “college.” Students can also reach out to: First-year advisor, First-year seminar instructor, Resident assistant, Campus counselor, Campus chaplain or Someone in the ACE Program (if they participate in ACE).
In most situations when support is needed the best thing we can do is listen. I ask families to listen to their student to let them know they are being heard and that the family member understands the student’s concerns. It’s important for families to help students identify and address issues that lead to homesickness and not give them a quick “out” and tell them to “just come home.” Families can help their student through homesickness by following guidance from their student. Some students may want to hear every detail about what’s going on at home while others may be upset by the idea of what they are missing. Again, listen. And traditional care packages and cards from home are always welcomed by students. I mean, who doesn’t like to receive a card with a handwritten note, and maybe a $20 bill?”
I believe that all these interviews gave useful information. Hearing from a student and being able to compare feelings and ideas are helpful. Being a part of a team has been very helpful through this process. Feeling as though my team is my family has been a big part of getting through this transition. Be sure to communicate with your family on what each of you need through this new transition. Just remember to get involved, create a group of friends, familiarize yourself with the new surroundings, and stay in touch with home (Moody, 2019).
Dealing with Homesickness. (2017, February 22). Retrieved October 11, 2020, from https://www.settogo.org/dealing-with-homesickness/?gclid=CjwKCAjw2Jb7BRBHEiwAXTR4ja5BMznokQgv3xZMlpYEjMja6e8rCX-rEsVWDkWP9lS_-_IByBm1GxoCmX4QAvD_BwE
How to Handle Being Homesick at College. (n.d.). Retrieved October 11, 2020, from https://www.usnews.com/education/best-colleges/articles/how-to-handle-homesickness-in-college
Interview with Vanessa Fuzie
Interview with Bobby Brown
Interview with Stephanie Stiltner