How to Help Homesickness in College

Posted: September 26, 2017 | Author: Jodi Lee Simmons | Read Time: 3 minutes

Eccles Living Learning centerAt this point in the semester we often find that students are struggling with homesickness, adjusting to roommates, and learning to manage their school work. The excitement of their new experiences may be starting to wear off, and you may find that things are starting to feel more difficult for them. While this is very normal for students, it can still be hard for us to watch our students struggle, especially when we feel far away. College Parent Central offers the following tips to help students who feel homesick:

Be willing to listen to your student’s feelings and validate that they are real. Sometimes just being able to express her feelings may be what your student needs. She may not need your suggestions, just your understanding ear. Don’t trivialize or dismiss her feelings.

Recognize that colleges work at, and are often quite good at, identifying and dealing with students who are experiencing homesickness. Orientation Leaders, Resident Assistants, counselors, and other college personnel are trained to help students adjust to college. Suggest to your student that he talk with someone on campus about his feelings.

Remind yourself that increased independence is one of the goals for your college student. Going through this difficult phase may be part of the necessary process of emerging adulthood. Give her support, but know that she needs to deal with this situation.

Although you want to let your child know that you miss him, don’t dwell on how empty the house seems without him. Let him know that you are also adjusting to changes.

Encourage your student to stay on campus rather than making frequent visits home. It is difficult to adjust to college if you are not there – especially on the weekends, when more of the social activity may occur.

Continue to make positive comments about the college and the college experience. Don’t buy into negativity expressed by your student.

Let your student know that you believe that she can handle this situation. You believe in her abilities.

Suggest that your student take some time to make herself more familiar with the campus. Study a campus map, take some walks around campus, find some new and interesting places. The more familiar she becomes with her new home the more quickly she will feel comfortable.

Suggest that your student pick some small goals – for the next day or week – to do something to take action and not be a victim of her feelings. Doing some small thing- attending a club meeting, having dinner with a new friend from class, talking to a professor, attending an athletic event – will help her to feel in control.

Suggest that your student get involved on campus: attend a club meeting, join an intramural sport, volunteer to help somewhere. Students who are more involved are happier – and better – students.

Help him think about whether some extra academic support may help with classes and schoolwork. Perhaps he is feeling overwhelmed and could use some help studying. Perhaps a study group would help – not only academically, but also socially.

Please feel free to contact the Parent & Family Services office any time your student has a need and you aren't sure where to send them for support. There are so many resources available, let's help your student use them. We also understand that in many instances you may be the first to recognize that your student is struggling emotionally, physically, mentally, etc.

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