Advice for Homesick College Students
“Why did you come to Ohio?” This was the question I get asked often when fellow Buckeyes find out I am from San Diego. Being from California and going to school in Ohio has been an adjustment to say the least. Dealing with weather: manageable; classes: do-able. The greatest struggle has been and continues to be homesickness. There are two main times I’ve found homesickness to be the most overwhelming: exam time and sickness time. In this article I’ll discuss strategies to help college students get through the worst of times and stay mindful in college despite being so far from home.
Exams – students hate them and professors love to give them. Add a sprinkle of wanting to go home and there’s a recipe for potential disaster. Studying for any kind of test can be a high stress time for students and that stress can lead to feeling homesick. The first tip I recommend is scheduling breaks. Call your mom, tryout a workout class, or take a walk. Do something to take your mind off of things. Not only is this a way to increase productivity, but it’s also a way to take a step back and consider all the amazing things in life.
Another way to handle homesickness during exam time is to avoid studying alone. My lowest of lows were when I was sitting by myself in the dimly lit library basement surrounded by complete strangers and stress. Even just having one study buddy who can provide you even the slightest bit of comfort could be the difference between getting through exam week or feeling unbearable homesickness.
Finally, keep perspective. When I failed my first exam it was the closest I’ve ever been to transferring home. At the end of the day, one quiz, test, or exam does not define anyone. Failure is a part of life and will only give space for growth. Take a breath, talk to your professor about ways to improve, and keep pushing forward.
You know the feeling of that first sneeze, first stomachache, first scratch at the back of the throat. That’s right, I’m talking about sickness season. In high school getting sick, while not ideal, still meant a mini-vacation from school. College is extremely different. Family is not there to buy you soup or to put water next to your bed. Getting sick in college, to be candid, sucks. The first tip is to try not to get sick in the first place. Take as many preventative measures as you can. Get regular sleep, don’t share drinks, and of course, get your flu shot.
There will still be times when you will get sick despite the steps you’ve taken to prevent it. When that happens reach out to your friends. It seems like a small task, but people will surprise you. One of the times I felt Ohio State was a home away from home was when my friend Charlotte bought me tea and soup from Panera and delivered it to my bedside in my residence hall. Give people the chance to be there for you. And be there for them when they need it.
Lastly, take the time to get better. Staying up that extra hour to study, go out, or finish the last episode of a show is not worth it. Get plenty of sleep so you can get your body better. Make yourself and your health the priority.
There’s no one fix that can help stop or prevent homesickness, but during the most homesick-susceptible times I hope these small tips and tricks help. Just remember – breaks come faster than you think and home will always be there, but the college experience is what’s fleeting. So do the best you can on exams, be as healthy as possible and enjoy yourself.