With one child in college and another on the way next fall, I have become quit familiar with the homesickness of a college student, particularly during that first semester when they are trying to find their own way. Being away from home for an extended period of time, for the first time, can be daunting for anyone, especially a young person.
According to Quintcareers.com, homesickness is one of the top ten reasons why college students drop out. College is stressful enough with extra responsibilities, classes, a new move, and new friends, and then add being away from your support system on top of it, and things can seem overwhelming. Here are a few suggestions for dealing with homesickness.
Before your child goes to college, look at all of the extra curricular activities the school might have to offer. Set up an atmosphere of anticipation before they leave home. If they are busy with school work and activities, they are less likely to be homesick. Also, before your child leaves home, schedule their first visit back. By having a scheduled visit, they will have something to look forward to.
1. Check out the campus it self, by scheduling a school visits. Many colleges include tours for incoming freshmen, including a look at classes, extra curricular activities, and dorm rooms. Knowing what to expect can ease the tension of being away from home.
2. Look at extracurricular activities that the college might have that you would be interested in. Being excited about an interests, and looking forward to something can help make the transition even seem fun. If you are interested in a dance team, check if the college has one. If you like chess, apply to be on the chess team.
3. Although your first urge is to come back home the very first weekend after school starts, give yourself some time. It is important to become adjusted to the new surroundings before running home. Get to know the college, other students, your classes, and activities . Then schedule a short visit home
4. Of course keep in touch with family and friends. With cell phones, and social networking sites such as Face book and Twitter, keeping in touch is easy. But remember your parents and friends have a life, and don’t want to hear from you a zillion times a day.
5. Make friends. If you stay in your dorm room by yourself, you won’t have many chances of becoming involved and meeting other students. having a support system is important, and new friends who might be going through the same feelings as you can help.
A great resource for new college students is the guide by Penn State Erie, The Behrend College: A College Guide to Overcoming Homesickness. The guide includes symptoms of homesickness,, the differences between homesickness, and depression, factors contributing to homesickness, and tips for dealing with being homesick. While there is a difference between missing home and depression, school counselors are always available to talk, and may even have solutions for dealing with being away from home and friends. After all, no one wants to drop out of college because of a case of being homesick. Take it from a seasoned parent of college students, and a college student herself, in no time, college will actually be fun!