Two weeks into the semester, and you can’t fall asleep. You spend your time lying in bed, scrolling through your Facebook feed. All of the friends and family members you left behind seem to have moved on without you. You were supposed to be starting this exciting new phase in your life, and here you are, wishing you were still at home.
But you’re at college to get an education. These years are a special time where you can learn how to live and work on your own; it’s hard to do that when you wish you were someplace else.
Let this be your wakeup call to live in the moment. If you’re missing your family, or just feeling blue, here are five practical steps to stopping homesickness, sometimes before it even starts.
1. TAKE A BREAK FROM SOCIAL MEDIA.
Sometimes, you need to put some distance between you and the ones you left behind. Try staying off of social media for a couple of days. It may seem hard at first, but you will have fewer reminders of what’s going on at home. This will also lead you to more opportunities for plugging into campus life.
2. DEFINE YOUR SPACE.
If you’re at college and feel like you’re living out of your suitcase, then it’s time for you to unpack. Add some posters to the walls or a few of your favorite quotes. Make your dorm room or apartment start to feel like home, and it’ll be easier to come back at the end of the day and actually want to be where you are.
3. MAKE A “COLLEGE BUCKET LIST.”
Keep your mind off of your friends and family by looking at all of the great opportunities before you. Take a look around campus and write down all of the things you want to do before you graduate. Say a prayer at chapel? Perform a spoken word? Once your list is finished, you can get started.
4. TRY SOMETHING NEW.
Being away from home can feel lonely. Fight against that feeling by taking immediate action. Join a student group. Play an intramural. Participate in the arts. This will not only keep you busy; it will make you new friends along the way.
5. DOCUMENT POSITIVE MOMENTS.
Once you’ve found some new friends and made yourself at home, it’s time to return to social media. Your friends and family from back home want to hear from you, and they want to know that you’re okay. Take time to appreciate the new people and experiences around you, both in real life, and the digital one. One day, you’ll back on those moments, and you’ll smile.
Avoiding homesickness is not about forgetting or forsaking where you come from. It’s about living in the moment. College is a short-term period in your life, but it’s an important one. You need time and space to mature, but it’s okay to grow up. Home will still be there when you’re done.