According to Christopher Thurber, a psychologist at Phillips Exeter Academy, a boarding school in Exeter, N.H., “about 20 percent of students entering college say they’re bothered by missing home, and about 5 percent have homesickness so severe that it interferes with their daily lives or causes significant symptoms of anxiety or depression.”
Here are some suggested strategies for battling homesickness:
▪ Realize that homesickness is natural and everyone feels it to a greater or lesser degree.
▪ Don’t make any snap decisions to leave; time is the greatest healer.
▪ Figure out what helps you relax (music, exercise, etc.) and what makes you happy on campus, then do more of that.
▪ Get busy. Focus on the new opportunities, new people, new surroundings.
▪ Try not to be alone too often. It’s much harder to be sad, bored and lonely when you’re with other people.
▪ Determine what you’re missing from home and see if there’s some way to replace or replicate it on campus.
▪ Don’t call home too often. It’s better to plan specific times to chat. Many homesick students find Skype or FaceTime more challenging because they can see their parents, siblings, pets, house, etc. Try and keep it to a brief phone call.
Lee Bierer is an independent college adviser based in Charlotte, N.C. Visit her website College Admissions Strategies.