It’s August, that time of year when new and returning college students go back to campus to start the new academic year, many of whom stay in dorms. For most of them, college is the first time staying away from home and the comforts or boundaries of living with family.
During my first fall semester of college, I loved having my family visit – it was like I was experiencing home away from home. But, it was always their departure that got to me. I found it hard to watch them leave, and I’d always stand and watch my family drive away, until they were no longer in sight.
Since then, I still don’t like seeing them leave, but I’ve found some benefits to help me get through the homesickness. I know I wasn’t alone and that even the toughest and emotionally strong-minded students usually experience some degree of homesickness. While homesickness may feel painful at the moment, here are some benefits that I’ve found.
1. You have people you care about.
You’re homesick because your family and friends from back at home you care about and miss. That’s great! It makes the visits back home that much more meaningful and enjoyable.
2. You are somewhere you otherwise wouldn’t have been.
If you just stayed at home with the people you love and enjoy spending time with, you wouldn’t be where you are right now. You wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience where you are right now. It’s a time to meet new people, make new friends, try new things, and learn more. While you may be able to read some things in a book or on the Internet at home, many things would go unknown to you if you didn’t come to wherever you are.
3. You can have more stories to share.
While you’re out in college (or wherever you ventured to), you’re going to have memories and experiences. As they happen, they become stories waiting to be told and shared with others (or written down for yourself). They may be funny or amusing, hard and painful, memorable, life-changing, a learning experience, or random. Whatever they may be, they’ll be more for you to talk about later.
4. You learn more about yourself.
Being away from what’s familiar, like people and places, can force you to learn more about yourself. You can learn how you react to different events or responses in the absence of family, friends, and recognizable sights and scenes (if you haven’t done so already). You may also learn about how you like the new place you’re at, how you really like your dorm, new cultures, new ideas, and how you like your campus or the area you’re living in.
5. You can prove to yourself that you can be independent.
If you’ve been living with your family or with someone else your entire life, and if you’ve been depending on them, this is your chance to show people that you can do things on your own. You can show that you (hopefully) keep your room clean while you’re alone, always find something to eat, do your own laundry, and have conversations and make friends on your own.
6. You have the opportunity to change for the better.
When you’re around the same people regularly, or you’re usually in the same place, you tend to have some sort of routine. Routine’s are great because it helps you have a plan, but often times, people tend to stay the same as they’ve always been. If you’re at college, you can’t usually use the same routine you’ve been using at home. You have to change it, and that’s what allows for change for the better.
Realizing these six benefits helped me get through my second semester, and hopefully, you’ll get through all of your’s. Next time you find yourself missing home, just remember that everything’s going to be great, and don’t forget to Smile 4 a While!
Cover Photo: Photo Pixabay from Pexels