COLUMN: Feeling homesick? You're not alone


Homesickness helps me appreciate where I came from. 

In each of my three times moving up to Mount Pleasant, I felt homesick. But, as I lay uneasy in a room that doesn’t feel like mine, I understand what I have back home.

I have a family, and we aren’t perfect by any means, but we are a lot better than some of the homes my fellow students come from. Feeling homesick reminds me that I have something great to return to.

According to the Journal of College Development, “The loss of intimacy with precollege friends and family ties can generate a heightened concern about these relationships” assuming that there is an intimacy with family ties and friends to begin with. 

Some students don’t have a comfortable home to go back to, if any home at all. 

In a way, feeling homesick equals having some sort of privilege.

I didn’t have the perfect childhood. After my mom moved in 2011, my dad became the sole caretaker of my two sisters and I. He guided us through school, sports, heartbreaks, and other hard lessons learned in youth. 

For over 20 years we've lived under the same roof. I love always knowing I can come home to people who know me best and love me the most. They've seen me when I thrive and at my worst. They have always provided a shoulder to cry on.

Despite the hardships that come from a single-parent, all-daughter household, they have always been my biggest support system.

“Just say the word and I won’t go,” I tell my older sister while leaning against the doorframe, hesitant to leave. She laughs, “And stop you from living your life?” 

Homesickness helps me appreciate where I came from. Luckily, living only 40 minutes south of Mount Pleasant makes it easy to visit. The closeness was a big factor in choosing to attend CMU. I knew what I had, and how much I would miss it.

The homesick feeling usually goes away in a few weeks. You start to adjust to your surroundings, connect with others, and find your place. 

But when those feelings do return, here are a few things you can do to help speed up the process:

-Bring comfort food from home: Whether it’s a meal from your favorite restaurant or leftovers from a homemade dinner, it’ll help.

-Normalize calling your parents: Some students feel reluctant to call back home, and would rather just shoot a text. However, there is something about hearing their voices that is irreplaceable.

-Visit when you can: We all need a break from campus life on occasion. If you can, visit for a few days. The comfort of home might provide a healthy mental reset.

-Get out and about: See what Mount Pleasant has to offer by attending events, talking a walk through the trails, or hang out with friends, old and new. 

-Reach out to the CMU counseling center if you need someone to talk to. 

-Remember it is completely normal to feel homesick: there are other students who feel the same. Talk about how you are feeling and share stories from home.

It's nice to appreciate your home, but remember growth comes through uncomfortableness and new paths. Step outside your comfort zone and try to find a piece of home as you discover your new life at CMU.