Handling Homesickness

Parent’s Weekend has come and gone, and  your homesickness may be even harder to suppress than before. Missing home is common among all college students (upperclassmen included!). It’s okay to long for the comforts of home, but if you’re fighting back tears, let us at least help you get through until winter break.

Be active, and get involved. Keeping yourself occupied is a sure-fire way to kick the homesick blues to the back of your mind. Join a club or sign up to play an intramural sport. Go to more sporting events than just football, like women’s volleyball or some varsity games. There’s over 400 student organizations at your disposal on-campus, and plenty of campus sponsored events to attend year-round. This is the best time to find your niche.

Make new friends. You are not the only freshman or transfer-student on campus missing home. Use your memories to your advantage as a conversation starter! It may help you feel more at ease to talk to someone who is feeling the same as you. For those who know friends from your hometown at Penn State, keep in touch and spend time with them, or maybe create a new friendship from an old acquaintance. Hanging with familiar people and reminiscing is a good way to get the support you might be missing from home.

Explore the campus. Familiarizing yourself with your surroundings can help you feel more comfortable in a new environment. Try taking a different route back from class to your dorm or apartment every day; scope out some neat places to go study, or just take a walk downtown. Penn State is a big campus with so much to offer. Plus, this is the most gorgeous time of the year- snap an Instagram on your trek!

Keep in touch with Mom and Dad. Living at home, your parents were around all the time. You’re used to talking to them on a daily basis. So, why not call them every day just to say hello? Just because you’re far away doesn’t mean you have to stay distant. Talking to them often is a good way to stay in the loop with each other’s lives. Says sophomore electrical engineering major Carly Ahlstrom, “taking advantage of modern technologies such as Skype and FaceTime became very useful whenever I felt homesick. Having a virtual face to face conversation with my parents and seeing my home or other familiar places in the background was very calming.”

All things considered, the only guaranteed cure for being homesick is a positive attitude. If you accept it as a part of life and focus your attention on the present– reminding yourself why you came to college in the first place– then you will be just fine. Get out there and enjoy being a Penn Stater! Soon enough, you’ll realize Happy Valley can also be considered home.

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