Many college students face homesickness within their first semester of college. Some students’ homesickness will go away in the first few hours after meeting new friends, but others may take a little longer. My first semester in at Southern Arkansas University was difficult because I had never left home for more than a week prior to moving into my residence hall. Although it was a hard transition, there were several simple things that helped me get pass my homesickness.
- Frequent phone calls. My First year of college, I spoke with my mother two times per day. She would call to wake me up for class in the morning, and at night, she would ask me about my day and say goodnight. The phone calls made me feel that even though I was separated from my family, I could still reach them anytime that I needed them.
- Receiving unexpected mail from family. In the spring of 2009, I was stressed with classes and tests. I couldn’t seem to get them off my mind. On Valentine’s Day, I wasn’t expecting anything, but I got a card from home, which was very exciting. It gave me chance to get my mind off the stress I was facing.
- Build a relationship with a Resident Assistant. Resident Assistants or RAs are placed in the Resident Halls and trained to assist the students living there. They are students as well and have probably been in your students’ shoes before. My freshman RA, Elizabeth, helped me adjust by inviting me to various campus events and talking to me about being homesick.
- Attend Campus Activities. By attending campus activities, students get so involved that they don’t think about missing home and family. On a daily basis, the Bruce Center Game Room and Sports Lounge is open, along with the SAU Aquatic Center which houses a basketball court, swimming pool, and workout facilities. Throughout the year, various student organizations host activities where all students can participate. My first activity to attend was Family Day. I was excited that my family was able to attend and share in my college experience. We had fun watching the Bed Race and Greek Canoe Race. I would encourage you to make plans to attend Family Day with your student on September 25.
- Get Involved. The ultimate way to alleviate homesickness is to get your mind off of it. By joining student organizations and staying involved in them, students can defeat homesickness and learn needed skills. I joined Student Activities Board, Residence Hall Association, East Hall Council, Black Students Association, and Genesis Ministries Choir my freshmen year. The first things I learned were time management and communication skills. After getting involved and planning activities, I didn’t have time to be homesick. On the weekends that I went home, I counted down the hours until I would be back at Southern Arkansas University.
About the author: Nicole Woods is a senior accounting major from Hope, AR. Nicole was also awarded 2010 SAU Student Leader of the Year, SAU’s most prestigious leadership award. Nicole plans to attend graduate school to attain her MBA degree after graduation. She is also employed as a student assistant in the Office of Student Life where she coordinates the SAU Alternative Spring Break Trip and assists the dean of students with various projects.