Most of us, at one time or another, have missed home – the familiar atmosphere where we have spent the first few years of our lives. Beginning your experience here at the University of San Diego may generate excitement as well as some anxiety. Some students may quickly overcome the anxiety as they adapt to a new environment, and some students may experience a longer transition as homesickness emerges.
If you are homesick, you may notice an increase in depressed feelings, anxiety, or even minor physical ailments. Some students may feel anxious or mildly depressed several weeks before leaving home in anticipation of change. Others may find themselves feeling homesick later in the academic year after the excitement and activities of the first few weeks of school wear off.
So what might help? Below are a few tips:
- First, realize that missing home is absolutely normal.
Missing home, the place, the people, and the pets, is normal. Adjustments of learning how to cope in a new environment take time to develop. If possible, talking to people from the same area as you or friends from high school that have also moved away can help feeling connected to your hometown.
- Schedule visits home
Setting definite dates to visit home or to see your friends and family can help give something to look forward to, but be first let yourself have enough time to get used to your new environment and make connections on campus. If you go home every chance you get, it will be more difficult to create the connections and sense of home here that will ease your transition.
- Stay in touch
Weekly phone calls may help reduce your feelings of homesickness by helping you feel more connected to home without reinforcing the feelings of homesickness. This may be a good time to have a good old-fashioned pen pal and send handwritten letters to your friends at different schools!
- Get out of your comfort zone.
College is one of the best times to explore different activities. The Alcalá Bazaar is a great opportunity to get to know your roommates better and see all that USD has to offer.
- Take good care of yourself
Remember to eat healthy foods to keep functioning at your best. Try the healthy food options at the different dining areas, try a new exercise class down at the Missions Gym, or walk this beautiful campus with your new friends.
- Use your on-campus resources
Homesickness is a great topic to reach out to various resources about, whether that is your RA, your SA, a faculty member or club advisor – there are many peers and professionals on campus who can help shed light on navigating homesickness. If you are having ongoing difficulties coping or feel that your homesickness is growing into something longer lasting, please reach out to Student Wellness.
What if trying to manage my homesickness on my own isn’t working?
Many students who are dealing with anxiety find it challenging to manage their homesickness on their own. If you are having a hard time getting through your day due to your homesickness or are noticing that it is impacting your ability to connect on campus it may be time to come to the Counseling Center and talk with a counselor.
The Counseling Center is a confidential resource open Monday – Friday 8:30am-5pm, with extended hours until 6pm on Wednesday during fall and spring semesters. The easiest way to secure an initial consultation is by making a same- or next-day appointment via the Wellness Portal. Students can also call or come by the Counseling Center to arrange for an appointment.
I need to talk with someone now and the Counseling Center is closed!
If you have an urgent matter or are having thoughts of suicide and the Counseling Center is closed, you can speak with a counselor after-hours by calling the Counseling Center at 619-260-4655 or by calling Public Safety at (619) 260-2222 and asking to speak with the counselor-on-call.