How to handle homesickness

Pujan Dahal

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“When I have to study until late for test, and wish my mom would get me a cup of coffee, but she isn’t here. It hits me, I miss home,” said Ashish Sharma, freshman Computer Science major.

Sharma said that even though getting into college makes him excited, the feeling of moving hundreds and thousands of miles away from his home and loved ones makes him sad.

“I don’t get to see them regularly.”

Sharma said that he also misses ‘the authentic home food’.

“Not just family, I miss the local cuisine and the dishes my mom used to make. Apart from regular ingredients, her dishes would contain love and I miss that”

Professor William McCown said that the first year of college can be very difficult for some students. Freshmen often feel a deep sadness at leaving behind childhood friends and family.

“Anyone can experience homesickness. It’s normal for people to experience some degree of distress when they are away from home. It’s a common part of transitioning to college,” said McCown.

We are biologically wired to be comfortable to the familiar things around us.

“I can recall an incident of a student who was home felt homesick for college. Home sickness is deep longing for the things we are used to,”said McCown..

McCown said that it’s not difficult to get rid of home sickness.

“Home relationships and ties are very important and real. The best thing to do if you are experiencing home sickness is to acknowledge it and face it.”

When you recognize this feeling, it is much easier to seek out help for it.”

McCown said that alcohol and drugs doesn’t help, in fact it can lead to depression.

He said that males face home sickness more than females do.

“Males hide their feelings and are severely affected, but females speak out”.

He said that home sickness is not culture specific but it’s easy for the international student to get over home sickness.

They can cook their food, converse in their mother tongue and hang around their networks”.

International students are frank than the American students about these issues.

“I usually talk to my best friend when I feel lonely and miss my home. I share all of my feelings with her. This lightens my heart,” said Melanie Prud’homme, graduate student, marriage and family therapy.

Prud’homme said that she sticks to healthy habits.

“I ensure atleast 8 hours of sleep a night, exercise regularly, and eat right.”

McCown added that we are very fortunate that our university has the counselling department which assists students to get over such traumas.

“We also have free clinics in STRAUSS. There are community counselling center and family therapy clinic too. Various sessions organized by the student center to deal with distresses and students can be a part of them.”