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Homecoming Bonfire!

As of today, I'm over halfway done with my second term. Even with a tough computer science course, my Winter term has been going well. I've made new friends, grown closer to old friends, and have (mostly) gotten the gist of college! And that makes sense. The Fall term starts with having to get used to a new environment. And one of those things that comes with a new environment — something that I struggled with — is homesickness.

My dog back home, Maddie!
My dog back home, Maddie!
Personally, my first couple of weeks of Fall term weren't bad. Sure, I was sad the day my parents dropped me off, but I was also excited! I was starting a new adventure. Also, I was soon met with a variety of things to keep me busy (the main thing being school). But then, a month in, I've started to miss the things back home, like my family, my friends, and my dog.

A friend who is a '20 made an excellent observation of why the hit of homesickness is not immediate. One month is usually the maximum amount of time you are away from your home — like with summer camps. By the fourth and fifth week of fall term, you hit that one month point, and the realization that you are at college feels more real. 

So, as someone who experienced this feeling a good amount, I want to give some tips I've found that help ease homesickness. Then, when you are here on Dartmouth's campus (or any campus for that matter), you're prepared to face this common occurrence.

Go to activities on campus, like the Homecoming Bonfire!
Go to activities on campus, like the Homecoming Bonfire!

  1. Don't isolate yourself. Sometimes when you miss home, you want to just curl up in your bed until the storm of homesickness passes. It's not always good to wallow in your feelings. Even though you are away from home, take advantage of your new surroundings! Go to a home sports game. Check out some restaurants in town. Make some new friends in clubs. Do some activities with your community house. Stay active to not only distract from homesickness but also to familiarize yourself and grow in your appreciation of your college!

  2. Don't always believe social media. Seeing the smiling faces of my classmates on Instagram made me believe that I was alone in feeling homesick. Everyone seemed to have found their friend group and transitioned into college smoothly. Don't believe that. Everyone struggles with homesickness to some degree; some people are just good at hiding it. I would suggest limiting screen time while getting into the groove of college to prevent feeling like experiencing homesickness is abnormal. Plus, it makes you stay focused on schoolwork!

  3. Call home. It's okay if you want to talk with your family back home; don't feel like you don't have to do everything by yourself. Personally, calling home helped me realize that I'm not truly alone in this journey. Just hearing my parents' voices helped ease my homesickness.

Some friends from the Christian Union club!
Get out of your comfort zone, even if it means wearing a hamburger inflatable!
Homesickness — in some form — always happens. I remember missing being back in Pennsylvania with my regular surroundings, and I sometimes still feel those pangs of homesickness. But you have to remember that you aren't alone and that you will get through it. College is a hectic transition in life, but with the right mindset, it is a wonderful time. You'll make friends, you will try new things, and you will find your place!

Until next time!

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