Most new freshmen are very happy about leaving home and being on their own for the first time. They anticipate total freedom from parental scrutiny and discipline.
Then, typically after just a few weeks on campus, when the excitement wears off and the freshman must face the reality of being away from the family. That’s when homesickness happens. A disturbing new thought occurs. Living with Mom and Dad wasn’t so bad, after all. Am I suffering from separation anxiety? I miss them so much!
In reality, homesickness can be divided into two segments. One is actually missing the love and concern parents have provided for 18 years. The other is a more selfish emotion. The new freshman yearns for the everyday services provided by those loving parents. No one is around now to pick up dirty clothes, provide three meals a day, do chauffeur and shopping duties, provide all the comforts of home and perform a score of other services that have been suddenly cut off.
How can the new freshman adopt to college life and work through those feelings of homesickness? The best way is to just dive into your new life with enthusiasm. Expect the homesickness to linger for awhile, but once you realize you’re on your own, you’ll get over it.
1. Set up a system of daily cleaning. If you have roommates, you can be sure they won’t appreciate dirty socks and underwear all over the floor. Set up a routine to keep clean by using the dorm laundry facilities at least once a week. If you have roommates, arrange duty schedules so that each roomie does a fair share of cleaning and other regular chores.
2. You’re from a home where a loving Mom stored all your clean clothing neatly in drawers and closets. Do the same, so that you can find stuff quickly each morning.
3. Your Mom and Dad always made sure you went to school each day looking your best. Now on your own and with no one to remind you each day, do the same as a college freshman with proper grooming and personal cleanliness.
4. Remember your Mom’s lectures about eating healthy. Follow her advice with three well-planned meals every day. Go easy on the between-meal snacks, especially the fatty, sugary and salty kinds.
5. Get plenty of exercise. Your Dad isn’t around to roust you out of bed for a morning jog or bike ride in the park. You’ll be busy with your classes, but take time out to get some meaningful exercise. Use the campus gym, pool or running track for at least 20 minutes each day.
6. In this day of all types of electronic communications devices, you can beat the homesickness by making it a regular routine to get Mom and Dad on your cellphone, twitter, tweet or other device. If it has still photo and video, it will give you the best way to have daily chats about how you’re doing at college.
Just after you ask for more money you desperately need, don’t forget to tell Mom and Dad that you love them. Be sure to add that you miss them and appreciate all they’ve done so that you are now a proud college freshman.
If your Mom and Dad have done a good job of preparing you for college, you shouldn’t have much trouble dealing with homesickness. It’s a natural feeling to miss the people who have loved and nurtured you for 18 years. However, once you get into the routine and excitement of campus life, your homesickness will fade away to become fond and loving memories.