Combating homesickness at every stage

As the highs of Welcome Week begin to fade and the reality of September begins to sink in, some students might start to experience the dreaded, elusive phenomenon of homesickness.

Especially common in freshmen, homesickness is most evident when thoughts of comfort and simplicity replace thoughts of excitement for the future.

Homesickness, while very hard to define, is still a very real feeling  that many students face in varying degrees throughout college.

You might feel childish or weak for that quiet longing of familiarity, but addressing your changing mood head-on makes for a stronger and more mature student in the long run.

Assimilate

First and foremost, UW- Madison is your home and will be for years to come.

Begin (or continue) to love it. It is very difficult for Madison’s shimmer to dim before the end of four short years.

This school is absolutely brimming with potential for new friends, new experiences and new adventures to take on—it just takes you stepping out that door to find.

Discover the crevices and gems the city has to offer and begin to settle into your one-size-fits-you niche.

While you are discovering these new places, meet the like-minded people there. A network of friends and peers can surround you with the security and comfort you’re searching for.

Find a balance

Generally, the first instinct is one of two extremes: either you pull away from family and friends too much or attach too much.

Heading home when the going gets tough is too easy of an escape route. The experiences you face in college are the ones that prepare you for the real world. And, much to our dismay, the real world often doles out few easy fixes.

On the other hand, avoiding the problem by avoiding the people you miss can be equally detrimental.

Some might react by pulling away from taking long phone calls or engaging in meaningful conversations over text.

Perhaps the more unhealthy option of the spectrum, this can create a one-sided sense of dread caused by lack of communication. It also can have an adverse effect on relationships—destroying something meaningful out of the fact that you just care too much.

Work hard in school

In the context of hard reality, the ultimate reason you decided to attend this college was to receive both an education and a diploma. In other words,, you actually did come here “to play school.”

Your diploma provides a certification that begs future employers to take a chance on you. It means your time here was worthwhile, and you have evolved into a mature and intelligent “Adult.”

However, this reward can only be derived from the amount of work that students generate. College classes are more than a letter grade and prepare you as best as they can for the looming, but bright, future.

Maintain hobbies

While schooling is vitally important, it is also essential to put in the effort and time to keep the hobbies you held before coming to  Madison.

Find a balance between pleasure reading and textbook reading. Just because you start college doesn’t mean you have to stop enjoying the things that make you happy.

Not only does this provide a constructive distraction, it also generates a sense of familiarity and warmth (in other words: home).

See farther than the immediate present

As hard as it might be to believe, this is all just temporary: both the good and the bad.

So take advantage of the moments when home is a feeling rather than a concept that you’re mindlessly chasing.

It’s not going to be that nuclear family image you picture. If anything, savor those moments where you find your parents’ laughter in the chorus of old-fashioned songs you used to loathe as a teenager. Or your best friend’s quirkiness in that indie band that you watched play last weekend.

Even better, replace that longing pit in your stomach with a rooted sense of self, so, that no matter where life takes you, home never feels miles and months away.

Home becomes wherever you and your mindset is.

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