Four tips on combating homesickness in college

A student’s guide to managing feeling homesick while living away from home

Mirella Barrera-Betancourt | Staff Writer

While COVID-19 continues on its rampage around the world with the recent emergence of the delta variant, college students have held out and moved back to campus for in person classes. Although most welcome the change, many first-year students have taken the biggest hit. Following the events of virtual classes in 2020 and 2021, more college students than ever are having to endure a stressful change in schedule and routine. Here are four tips on managing homesickness while away at college.

Connect with family and friends back home. A good way to combat feelings of homesickness is to find ways to stay in touch with family members. An easy way to do so is by taking advantage of today’s technology and video chatting with friends and family. Seeing a familiar face in the midst of unfamiliarity has proven to be cathartic in more than one way. For those who live closer to home, setting up a time to meet up with family in person is also as effective.

Establish a routine and familiarise oneself with the new surroundings. College students can spend up to nine months at a time on their college campus, sometimes more. It is important that students learn to establish a set routine that makes their temporary living situation feel more like home. Walk around campus and become familiar with scenery and surroundings. Explore the town that will be called home for the next few years, such as grocery stores, restaurants and retail stores.

Get involved in campus activities by joining clubs, community organizations and volunteering. Everyone wants to be welcomed and feel a sense of belonging. Getting a job or joining clubs or other student organizations is a great way to combat feelings of homesickness. It keeps the mind occupied while also providing comfort and security. Western is home to more than 60 clubs and organizations, so students are sure to find something that reflects personal passions.

Take advantage of campus resources. Many first-year or transfer students do not take advantage of the resources their university provides. Western is proud to have their WOU Ambassadors, which work with the Admissions Office on campus to provide campus tours, help with preview days as well as other various on campus activities. Sometimes feelings of homesickness can be brought on by stress. When classes or workload gets tough, or if one is in need of a much needed emotional or psychological break, the Student Health and Counseling Center is open for virtual and in person appointments from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. to provide counseling. Western is also home to the PLUS team — students who welcome first-year students during orientation, New Student Week and registration. The PLUS team is there to serve any students in need of guidance, and are always willing to help make college a happy and healthy experience.

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