1. Have you had a significant amount of students coming in talking about homesickness? Are they mainly first-years? Transfers? International?
Adjustment concerns or ‘homesickness’ can impact all students. For many first-year students, you may be living away from home for the first time and may find yourself missing family and friends. The same thing can occur for transfer students who are attempting to navigate a new setting. The problem can be even more difficult for international students by the culture shock of discovering a new country. Difficulty adjusting can be an ordinary process because you are naturally attached to familiar people and places. Adjustment concerns often dissolve away naturally in the first few weeks of a term as you invest your attention and energy in the new challenges of your course and social life.
2. What are some of the main causes of homesickness? Why are our students feeling this way?
Your homesickness may continue if you are struggling to find your niche or place at TWU, or if there are problems at home that you are worrying about. Often times, it is hard to form new friendships and learn a new daily routine. If you are living independently for the first time, you may be experiencing an adjustment tincreased independence and responsibilities.
3. What are some tips that you would give a student who misses home?
If you still feel homesick after a few weeks, don’t lose confidence that you can adjust to living independently from home. It’s a good idea to put up photos and call/text home, but try to reduce phone calls and visits over a few weeks and provide yourself with as many enjoyable distractions as possible. The more involved you can get on campus the better! A few ideas are to plan your day with a new activity, join an organization or activity, invite someone to go out and do something fun with you, and get some exercise even if it is walking.
You may have difficult points, but this is part of the huge transition process that you are in and your mood will lift given a chance. Recognize that this is a transition in your life and is only a temporary feeling so congratulate yourself for sticking with it! Try to get involved with things that you can talk about when you do call home, things that your parents or other caregivers, siblings and friends can encourage you in and feel proud of. They probably miss you too and are also going through their own adjustment process. Since university life demands a high level of self-organization because you have so much freedom, think about how you divide up your time. Try and schedule a good amount of study hours a week for academic work in order to make the most of your free time.
4. How is homesickness effecting these students emotionally/physically/ mentally?
There are many different ways that adjustment concerns or homesickness can impact you. Some students may experience a general feeling of loneliness and isolation, while others may feel less motivated and less interest in being physically active. Other ways homesickness can impact you is by changes in your appetite or sleep. Also, you may find yourself frequently comparing your new surrounding to your home. Regardless of the way homesickness is impacting you, it is important to talk with others about your feelings, whether it is your roommate, resident assistants, professors, or your family.
5. If they have any further questions, or would like to seek help, who should they contact?
If you have further questions or would like to seek help, please contact the TWU Counseling Center at 940-898-3801. The TWU Counseling Center is located in West Jones Hall and is open Mon. through Wed. 8 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Thurs. through Fri. 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. We can assist you in gaining support while you continue