Friends are key to coping with homesickness


Photo credit: Ren Rader

Illustration by Ren Rader

Homesickness in college is pretty commonplace. Whether home is a one-hour drive away or halfway across the world, feeling homesick is valid and not something to just brush off. Homesickness looks like a variety of things, too. You can barely tell whether a person is homesick in some cases.

However, this doesn’t mean that you’re alone in this feeling. You’ve heard this a million times before, I’m sure, but you’re about to hear it again: everyone will get homesick at some point or another in college. Although the feeling is not very pretty, it is not fatal.

As someone who is very close to their family, my first few weeks here at Trinity have been a bit stressful and, quite frankly, a bit lonely. I sometimes question whether I am capable of making it here on my own.

I remind myself of the support I have at home constantly, but sometimes, I still feel like it’s me against the world. However, the more people I talk to, the more I realize that I am surrounded by others who know exactly how I feel.

“I started to feel homesick after about a week at Trinity,” sophomore Ardi Saunders shared over email. “I would call my parents two to three times a day for the first couple of weeks. Whenever I felt lonely, I would call them and talk about inane things like what I had to eat. I also listened to the Mamma Mia 1 and 2 soundtracks on repeat because it reminded me of fun times with my sister.”

Saunders’s home is about a five-hour drive away in Coppell, Texas. Saunders remembers when her feelings of homesickness were strongest, and she has since learned from those experiences. When reflecting, she offered some advice she would give her past self.

“I would recommend that the sooner I reach out to potential friends, the sooner I will find them. I shouldn’t be concerned about looking awkward because I will, but the right people will appreciate that, and others won’t hate you for it either,” Saunders said.

Junior Jessie Metcalf shared that her home is not so easy to pinpoint on a map. She explained that half of her life was spent here in America and the other half in England, so naturally, she formed a strong connection to both places.

“I actually felt homesick immediately upon arrival at Trinity. After about a month or two, I settled in, and the homesickness abated,” Metcalf explained in an email. “Initially, I just wallowed in the homesickness (not recommended), but now it really helps to call people — family or friends — and chat with them for a while.”

When asked what advice they would go back and give to themselves, Metcalf responded, “I would try to remind myself that home is always there waiting for me and think about all of the things that excite me about my future here.”

Overall, homesickness is not a “one-size-fits-all” sort of deal. The feeling affects everyone differently, but that does not mean that your feelings are less valid than others. Moreover, there are a variety of ways to take control of the situation. Here are two final tips about how to handle homesickness.

First — and you may have guessed it — talk to people. However, this does not mean to always be out and never give yourself time to recharge. When you are feeling homesick or just generally lonely, choosing to isolate yourself can be a dangerous route to take, so leaving your dorm and talking to other people can help with this.

And second, keep your eyes on the prize. You came to Trinity for a variety of reasons, and maybe you were full of excitement before you got here, too. Whatever you were feeling and whatever your reasons for attending were, you are here because you are supposed to be here. Not only that, but you also have a community backing you up. Home will always be there, and years down the road, you may come to realize that these are the glory days.