Photo Illustration by Michelle Nelson
Photo Illustration by Michelle Nelson

Homesickness.

It’s sort of a taboo conversation to have when you’re an adult. No one wants to admit that they might be missing home, parents, friends or even pets. They may feel vulnerable or even embarrassed by their emotions.

It’s common to think you’re the only one feeling this way, especially when everyone is reluctant to open up. Despite the happy faces that your roommates and classmates may be putting on, they may in fact be going through the same thing.

I remember the first time I felt truly homesick. It was at the end of my first day of classes. The newness of my apartment had worn off and the realization that I was now going to be living away from home had set in. These feelings took me by surprise, because as a kid I was never homesick.

I ran off to summer camps, friends’ houses and church trips with nothing more than a smile and wave to my parents, if that. It wasn’t that my parents and I weren’t close. In fact to this day we are very close. I just felt confident and comfortable when I left for these trips.

I suppose this is why I felt so shocked when I experienced actual homesickness for the first time.

I had just finished my last class of the first day of school. I walked into the bathroom and allowed myself to cry. I couldn’t believe how suddenly all the emotions had come. Why did I feel so bad? It wasn’t like I was thousands of miles away. It’s a measly 300 miles from St. George to Ogden. I knew I could pick up the phone anytime and talk to my parents, even Facetime them.

Still, the sinking feeling in my chest didn’t leave and I went home feeling sick to my stomach.

The homesick feelings not only made me miss St. George, but placed doubts in my mind. Was coming here a good decision? Would I ever like it here? What would happen if I went back? Those thoughts drove me insane. I was stuck questioning every decision I ever made.

My parents and friends back home gave me advice, support and encouragement, but nothing changed until I decided I was done being sad. I got out of my funk by getting involved. It may sound silly, repetitive or even something like your mom might tell you, but it’s true.

I looked into clubs and organizations at school, scoured online for a job, took drives to help familiarize myself with the area and attended church meetings. I didn’t turn down any offers from roommates or classmates to go out and do things, even when I didn’t feel like doing much besides sleeping.

Everything didn’t magically change just because I stepped out of my apartment, but soon the doom and gloom that surrounded my thoughts began to clear away.

I became involved in different clubs and organizations on campus. I began to make friends with my roommates and classmates. I found a job that I liked and enjoyed going to. Before I knew it, a day or two would go by before I remembered to phone home. My homesickness had subsided and I felt not only a mental change, but a physical one as well.

Don’t be embarrassed that you’re feeling homesick. Own up to those feelings so that you can do everything in your power to work through them. Your time here in college isn’t permanent and you need to enjoy it while you can.

 

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