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“Choose to be present wherever you are.” (Madeleine Barry / Col­legian)

As I stuffed my clothes into my closet the day I moved into Olds Res­i­dence, I remember feeling like I was Joan of Arc, ready to march forth into the world and conquer any­thing and every­thing in my path.

Then I had to hug my mom goodbye. When she let go of me and drove away in our family van, I felt a lot less like Joan of Arc and a lot more like… Eeyore. Home­sickness had me down pretty much imme­di­ately. I didn’t sleep that night, and even though things got a lot better very quickly, I still wanted my room and my house and my family and my dog.

You probably under­stand the feeling. Know that it gets better with time and a little effort. I still feel a twinge of home­sickness every now and then, as most my upper­classmen friends do. Here’s our best advice to get you over the home­sickness hump.

Wait it out

When it feels like home­sickness has set a fog over your entire day, you might con­sider trying to ignore it. Senior art and English major Patrick Lucas said he longs for his hometown of Sag­amore Hills, Ohio, once in a while, but he chooses to focus on other things in lieu of dwelling on nos­talgia.

“I don’t think about it,” Lucas said. “I just think about what’s in front of me.”

It’s not always healthy to apply this tactic to your problems, espe­cially emo­tional qualms. But press with your day on if  a sudden gloom of home­sickness cap­sizes you as briefly as it does infre­quently.

Choose to be present

Some­times the pain of wanting to go home is too acute to treat with a blind eye. Senior Greek major Emily Barnum rec­om­mends a more inten­tional method.

“I think it’s good to acknowledge feelings, but choose to be present wherever you are,” Barnum said.

You may miss a lot about home: your mom’s banana bread, your dog Spot, your favorite chair on the back porch. But there are plenty of things to grow fond of here in Hillsdale, and soon you’ll be missing those things whenever you’re home. Try one of Rough Draft’s deli­cious muffins, vol­unteer at the local animal shelter, and find a tree over at Baw Beese Lake to enjoy the great out­doors.

“When I was overseas this past summer, I would journal how I felt, but then shift to focus on building rela­tion­ships with those imme­di­ately around me,” Barnum said. “I also tried to identify the joyous little things unique to my current place. It also helped to imagine sharing them with those I loved back at home.”

Strategize communication with friends and family back home

One of the toughest parts of going away to college is making new friends. This is also one of the very best ele­ments Hillsdale offers. While you may become fast friends with your next door neighbor in your dorm or with the kid dozing off next to you in Western Her­itage, you’re still going to miss those pals who have known you for your whole dang life.

When senior pol­itics major English Hinton moved to Hillsdale from Florida, she and her best friend were deter­mined to stay in touch. The pair scheduled FaceTime dates and phone calls, and made sure to stay in contact as fre­quently as pos­sible, even if that meant a two-minute chat on the phone while one of them walked to the library. Hinton said she finds moments to catch up with her friend between classes, waiting for coffee dates, or even just walking to her car.

“Rather than scrolling through Instagram for 10 minutes or lis­tening to your head­phones, just call your best friend,” Hinton said.

Be vulnerable

Everyone knows the impor­tance of “putting yourself out there” as you enter Hillsdale’s social scene, but no one needs the advice lit­erally every single mom on the planet gives. Do try to meet lots of new people. But when you click with someone, don’t be afraid to open up and share what you’re going through, from home­sickness to stress.

Senior history major Reuben Blake said he hasn’t dealt with a lot of home­sickness since his family moved so much when he was young, but he has felt the trans­for­mative power of strong friend­ships at Hillsdale nonetheless.

“Finding friends who are okay with my mess and push me deeper into spir­itual maturity has been invaluable,” Blake said.

Let it out

When all else fails — and trust me, all else will fail — dig your head into the softest pillow you own and unleash a few minutes or (let’s be real) a few hours of sobs.

For junior English major Molly Kate Andrews, whose home in Wash­ington state is a two-day road trip away, this tip has eased her home­sickness more than any other.

“Stay busy, plug in with your friends, call home on the weekends, and cry. Def­i­nitely cry. It feels so good,” Andrews said.

  • Alexan­derYp­si­lantis

    It’s been 47 years since I went away to college, but I can recall the feeling of strangeness being on my own in a strange place for the first time. It passes, quickly. One thing to remember is you’re all in the same con­dition. Those new neighbors or room­mates are probably feeling exactly the same way as you are. Keep busy, try and get out of your room and mix with other folks. In numbers there is comfort. Expend energy and you’ll sleep at night better. Believe me, you’ll quickly become accus­tomed to your sur­roundings and feel at home. The real hard chal­lenge is leaving all the fun at college and going to a new job after grad­u­ation!