Written and Media by Mary Todd Christian
My freshman year at Greenville was one of the most memorable years of my life. However, the first couple of months, it was also the most trying. It was the first time I had been away from home for an extended period of time, and on many occasions I found myself having difficulty functioning because of immense homesickness. Even though I am now a junior and I am very comfortable living in Greenville and familiar with my surroundings, there are times when I still find my thoughts lingering back to home. At first, I was embarrassed that I was still getting homesick, but I have come to learn it is extremely normal and there are actually benefits to being “healthily homesick.”
Learning to Rely on Yourself
Being that I live 12-13 hours away, I’m not exactly able to hop in my car and go home for the weekend. I also can’t call my parents to get me if my car breaks down or I am out of necessities. This period of homesickness allowed me to learn how to take care of myself in various ways. It’s almost as if it is a look into the real world where you are the only one who you can depend on.
Once in college, the safety net of our parents and home are not as close as we would like to have them. We can’t depend on our parents to help us meet people and form friendships as we did when we were younger. The friends I made my freshman year truly helped me combat much of my homesickness. The silly late night talks with the girls on my floor helped me forget how sad I was and instead helped me branch out and create lasting friendships. On the days I was feeling down, my friends were able to help me cope.
Increased Confidence and Self-Esteem
There is something to be said about working through your homesickness. You find a sense of accomplishment and pride just in knowing you are able to function on your own. If I had spent my first year of college at a school near my hometown, I know I would not have grown in confidence. Knowing I can carry through my day without being dependent on other people is something I would not have been able to experience if I did not go through a period of homesickness.
A Greater Appreciation for Home
During all the years I lived at home, I definitely took my house, comforts and many times parents for granted. Allowing myself to go through a period of homesickness, truly opened my eyes to how much my parents supported me all those years. Not to mention, it’s easy to miss the little things such as your own room, homecooked food, and places to find peace and solitude which can’t otherwise be found at college. Even though, home might feel a little different each time I return, I look forward to the treat of spending much-needed quality time with family.
Homesickness is a natural part of the “college experience” but it doesn’t necessarily have to cripple you. While it’s difficult in the beginning, taking the time to reap the benefits of being on your own will be a great service to yourself in the future.