I do not get homesick. I remember thinking during the first semester of my freshman year that I must be doing something wrong because you’re supposed to get homesick at least once, right? Wrong. Not everyone gets homesick, and that’s OK. It’s also OK if you do.
There is no prescribed time for homesickness. Some freshmen experience it during their second semester once the excitement has worn off and their activity level settles into a routine. For others, homesickness can occur after freshman year, too.
For those of you like me who do not experience homesickness, it does not mean you don’t miss your family, neighborhood or friends back home. To me, it simply means I accept where I am as home and make the absolute best of my experience. I studied abroad for six months in the U.K. This had been a dream of mine for a long time. I was excited, ready to go and had zero hesitation. I loved every minute of being in Cambridge for the summer and London for the fall. I made international friendships and stateside friendships. I enjoyed it because I did as much as possible while I was there. This motivation can easily be applied to college life at UNH.
The only time I struggled while away from home was when Thanksgiving rolled around. It’s my favorite holiday, and it was hard to be away from my family, but I was still able to celebrate in London with friends. We called it the “Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.” This was one of my favorite memories from my time there. I think I am adventurous and eager to explore, which is why my transition was smoother when I entered college and later when I studied abroad.
For those of you who DO experience homesickness, this is a natural feeling to have. It is important to note that homesickness is very different from depression and anxiety. Unlike depression and anxiety, the feelings of homesickness decrease once you’re home. However, it is not recommended to go home every weekend, if you have that option, because you will miss out on making needed connections on campus. College is all about stretching yourself and learning to exist independently. As a senior, I can honestly say these four years have been incredible. Try not to take for granted what you can do in your time here at UNH.
Some common signs of homesickness:
- Anxiety about being away from home
- Constantly thinking about home or wondering how people back home are doing
- Feeling isolated and lonely
- Feeling that others are enjoying college but that you cannot
- Disinterest in making new friends at school
Ways to take care of yourself:
- Get your body moving, whether at Campus Recreation, in College Woods or walking to class
- Get a massage at Health Services; they are amazing and prices start at just $40
- Treat yourself to an ice cream cone at the Dairy Bar
- What do you like doing in your free time? Have you been doing that lately? If not, make time to do activities you enjoy.
- Talk with someone about how you are feeling, and don’t let your fear of being a burden get in the way. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to a friend or family member, you can make an appointment with a Wellness Educator/Counselor at Health Services.
Things to keep in mind to help you feel more comfortable at UNH:
- You do not need to become best friends with your roommate. If you do, great, but there is no rule saying this has to happen.
- Talk to students in your classes. This may feel awkward at first, but it works. I met one of my very good friends in a physical science class, and we bonded over our constant confusion. That started our friendship. Join a club, activity, sports team and/or student organization — something! You’ll meet like-minded people who share the same interests as you. WildcatLink is a great resource to learn about clubs and events happening on campus.
- Go to UDay on September 13. This is a must.
- Keep reading UNHTales to hear about what other students are up to and find ways you can get involved.
- If people invite you to a meal, GO! You can initiate and invite people, too.
- Be open to new experiences and new people. UNH is a diverse campus, so try to take advantage of that and get to know people.
UNH offers A LOT. However, it is up to you to make the most of it.
It’s also ok if you’re not sure what you want. That’s basically the point of freshman year — figuring out who you are, whom you want to spend time with and what classes grab your attention. By sophomore year, you’ll find your niche. I still have more learning to do, and I’m graduating in May. Life is all about learning. But freshman year in particular is when you’ll learn a whole lot about yourself, your comfort levels and how to balance your academic and social life.
A few resources to get you started with getting involved at UNH:
- UNH Sport Clubs
- UNH Group Exercise
- UNH Intramurals
- UNH Aquatics
- UNH Wildcat Link – More Organizations
- UNH Greek Life
- Student Health 101 Magazine
- Health Services events and groups
More tips on coping with homesickness.
YOU got this, Wildcat! Welcome to UNH!