Being away from home is an exciting thing! Although, it can sometimes lead to longing for home. Here are some suggestions for you to help cope with this very common feeling. We have also included some tips for parents to help their students with this transition.
For StudentsOwn That You Are Feeling Homesick
Missing family and friends, and feeling sad are natural responses to leaving home.
Talk About It
Talk with your RA (resident assistant), First Year Experience (FYE) mentor, a friend, a parent, a brother or a sister who has experienced leaving home.
Keep in Touch
You may call home a lot during the first week or two. It is okay to share with your family the fact that you miss them. Try to decrease phone calls after the first couple of weeks. You can increase email messages by describing your activities and experiences. Share how important it is for you to hear back from the people you care most about.
Bring Things That Will Help You Feel at Home
Bring pictures of family, friends and animals. Bring stuffed animals, comforters, pillows, etc. to help ease the transition from home to St. Norbert College.
Give Yourself Time
It may be unrealistic to stop missing home after the first week at school. Realize that new situations take time to get use to and that you will probably always miss home to some extent. After a while, intense feelings of homesickness will subside.
Give Yourself Permission to Not Be Perfect
Wouldn’t all of us would like to be popular, well-adjusted and earn all As? That doesn’t happen, even for those who look like they have it all together. Give yourself permission to make mistakes and enjoy the journey as much as the destination.
Share Your Journey With New People
Ask someone from your residence hall or a class to go along with you as you explore the campus and the De Pere community. Begin making St. Norbert College more familiar to you.
Set a Date to Visit Home
Long weekend is usually the first weekend in October. This four-day break is an ideal chance for you to get away from school without feeling as if you are falling behind in your classes.
Invite Your Family to Campus
Family Weekend is a great time to invite your family to visit your new home! This popular annual event provides parents with a glimpse of their student’s life at St. Norbert. The weekend coincides with SNC Day, the college’s biggest annual celebration. There’s no better time to experience the very best of what our campus and the surrounding community have to offer together.
Don’t ignore your feelings by just wishing they would go away. Trying to ignore your feelings now will often result in other symptoms – stomachaches, lack of motivation, fatigue, drinking alcohol, depression, anxiety, etc. Counseling and Psychological Services is a great resource for you to use. We can help you come up with healthy ideas to deal with the feelings you are experiencing.
Get Support & Get Involved
The more places you go and the more things you do, the more people you will meet. Get involved in your favorite activity or try out a new one. Ask how different offices and committees support students. Some places to check out are Residential Education and Housing (REH), Campus Ministry and ALIVE to name a few. Check out the involvement fair that is held in front of the Campus Center in the first few weeks of school to learn about more than 70+ social groups and organizations on campus.
Homesickness at college is pretty common. Students may not often talk about it with each other, but many of them feel the effects of it. Home-cooked meals, a more ordered schedule and a life where everything isn’t new and challenging may seem appealing to a newly entering college student.
- Offer support. One of the best ways to help your student is simply to acknowledge their concerns, encourage them to talk and listen to what they have to say. You can’t make the homesickness go away, but you can help your student adjust to make lessen their feelings of homesickness. Listen through the tears but also spend time talking about what kinds of things he or she can do to feel less lonely and homesick.
- Be reassuring. Reassure your student when they call. Sometimes, even a brilliant, bold college student just needs to hear a familiar voice.
- Allow too many trips home. One of the biggest mistakes parents make is letting their homesick student come home too often. Visits home every weekend can actually be detrimental to a student’s ability to conquer their homesickness. After all, a student needs to establish college as their home away from home; visits back home prevent them from doing so by keeping them from building emotional, social and intellectual connections with their school. Many of the activities that will help your child get through their feelings of homesickness occur on the weekends.
It may be challenging for you, but set a weekend a month or two away when he or she can come home. That way, there’s a date your student can expect to enjoy home cooking and sleep in a familiar bed, but your son or daughter will have to find ways to pass the time until that date comes.
- Visit campus too often. You may be tempted, especially if your student lives fairly close, to go visit over the weekend. Just like too many visits home prevents a student from connecting with his or her new campus, too many visits from parents can be detrimental. Is it wrong to treat your daughter or son to a nice dinner? Absolutely not.
Limit your visit and consider inviting their roommate or other school friends along. This can help your child further establish friendships and let you see who they are connecting with.
Counseling and Psychological Services are always available to talk with you about any questions or concerns you may have about how the adjustment to college is going for your child. Give us a call at 920-403-3045 or send an email!