photo

Homesickness/First-year concerns

Homesickness

Is missing home making it difficult for you to enjoy your college experience? Feeling homesick, or longing for home, family and familiar routines, is quite common. Living away from home at college may be your first major life transition, and may trigger feelings of excitement, uncertainty, and anxiety. For some, it takes time to establish a routine and make new friends on campus, so it is not unusual to feel alone and sad. The increased personal freedom that comes with living away from home can feel exhilarating. At other times, the freedom feels like just too many things to decide! Some students feel overwhelmed with the task of making daily decisions about everything, like where and what to eat, when to study, what activities to join, with whom to associate, and what classes to take. Students in any class year may feel homesick because they have left behind familiar family members, friends, places, and customs. You are not alone!

Some common stressors associated with starting college:
New environment/new people/new living arrangements
Greater personal freedom and independence
New responsibilities/more decisions to make
Changing relationships with family and friends at home
Coping with long-distance romantic relationships

Typical thoughts of homesick students
"Everything is so different from home; I don't know if I will ever get used to this place."
"No one understands my customs, and the food is not at all like home."
"I wonder if [Mom, Dad, Grandmother...] is okay without me."
"How will I make friends? What if people don't like me?"
"My roommate(s) is so different from me."
"The work seems hard and my professors don't know who I am."

Physical, emotional, and behavioral symptoms of homesickness
Difficulty sleeping or eating
Lack of confidence
Nausea and/or headaches
Crying and sadness
Overwhelming emotions
Skipping classes; struggling to complete assignments
Calling home frequently
Feeling sad, "low," anxious, or worried

How to help yourself adapt to college
Be patient; give yourself time to find your way
Recognize that you are not alone; many students feel homesick
Decorate your room with photos from home
Learn about campus clubs, activities, and events; try one!
Invite your roommate or a classmate to join you for supper
Start a study group with some classmates in your most challenging class

Resources
"Adapting to College" Support Group at the Psychological Counseling Center; Call to inquire about joining: 845-257-2920
Link to list of New Paltz clubs run by the Student Association: http://www.newpaltz.edu/sub/organizations.html
Link to list of programs run at the Student Union: http://www.newpaltz.edu/sub/dept_programs.html
Student Association: www.newpaltzsa.com 845-257-3070