From Tears to Cheers: Embracing Growth and Healing Homesickness

When I first moved into my boxy, hostile college dorm room, I was exhilarated thinking about what the next three weeks of summer camp would hold. The first week consisted of joyful, productive days. However, by the second week, the shock had worn off and I found myself with overwhelming feelings. These thoughts consisted of sadness, yet with no reasoning behind it. I felt upset but I did not know why. Through a quick Google search, I found out it was due to homesickness. Although nothing can replace one’s family, friends and community, here are three ways to gain control of and get past your emotions.

1) Stay in touch with meaningful people back home.

Friends and family are most likely the thing that causes the most sorrow when moving away from home. Most people miss their company, advice and presence in general. Personally, I called my mom every night and morning when I felt the worst. Furthermore, I texted my best friend back at home with my day-to-day problems or worries. I was able to enjoy their presence while not being too reliant, giving myself the opportunity to adjust. Regardless, it is important to build fresh relationships in the new environment. Make sure not to spend more time texting/calling those at home than spending time with those physically around you.

Most people have traditions at home. So, start your own! For example, set a weekly video call date over dinner. Or, created a shared album where everyone can add photos. Technology is an amazing resource.

2) Spend time alone in order to recognize and come to terms with emotions.

Although it may seem that this statement is directly contradicted with the previous tip, it is important to find a good balance. At times, dealing with these feelings, trying to make new friends and schoolwork can be extremely overwhelming. Set aside designated time to self care such as meditating, journaling or other expressful activities. This can aid in navigating tough emotions and learning the specific source of sadness.

3) Build a routine to form a sense of familiarity.

Establishing a day to day groove that may mirror life at home will aid in reducing the overburdening of stress. Especially if written down and reinforced, this could also benefit by improving essential time management skills. For example, if specific time for homework everyday is planned, it will ensure a lower chance of work turned in late or missed. On the other hand, more importantly, time set aside for hobbies or activities that are familiar brings the comfort that home provides. The perfect blend of new and old will form a smooth journey into solace.

In conclusion, homesickness is a confusing and unforeseen feeling that countless people encounter, particularly when they are in unfamiliar surroundings. As I discovered throughout my stay at summer camp, it is crucial to recognize and confront these emotions to regain stability and progress. Although nothing can entirely substitute the solace of our loved ones, companions, and communities, there are techniques we can utilize to deal with homesickness.  Take that terrifying, unfriendly dorm room and transform it into your own safe haven.

Amal Akhtar – Phillips Exeter Academy – DMSF Class of 2027