Despite common opinion, college life is not easy. There is the constant struggle of juggling academics, extra-curricular activities, a social life, and then, the ever-changing effects of being homesick. Initially, it’s a sense of being out of place. All of your surroundings seem unfamiliar, causing a negative perception of the new experience. Studies have shown that not only is it quite common, but homesickness is a natural occurrence.
I remember my first weeks here at NC State as a freshman. I was three hours away from my hometown and surrounded by people that I’d met once or twice at orientation or not at all. It was an overwhelming feeling. After learning my way around campus and making friends, the feeling diminished and became something I now joke about. For some students, the transition isn’t so easy. Their persistent feelings of homesickness may lead to a lapse in concentration and ability to perform well academically. Other students may not suffer in the classroom, but act out in a social way, by either partying too much or not having enough social activity.
Homesickness can result in many different emotions; for some people, it’s loneliness, sadness, or anxiety. Getting to know a wide range of people last school year allowed me to see the different effects of being homesick. My out-of-state friends seemed to miss home more than my friends who lived across the state or here in Raleigh. This may have been because they weren’t able to go home as often or felt out of place being in a different state or region. They were affected by everything from climate and weather changes to slang and fashion trends.  To me it seemed the people who lived the closest were least affected by the transition, because their surroundings were somewhat familiar, so they adapted more easily.
After kicking the blues, you may feel like your bout with homesickness is long gone, but that assumption is far from true. Homesickness is a reoccurring problem that arises at different times. Some people experience it close to holiday breaks or around loved ones’ birthdays, and maybe even during a special event. There is no special gauge to determine how long or how often you will be homesick. For me it was something I learned to deal with on a daily basis. Missing your family and friends never ends, but it gets easier to deal with as you make new friends and become familiar with your new life.
Over the summer I experienced anxiety and sadness from being back at home. I missed the life that I had made for myself here at NC State. I wasn’t as busy as I had been the months before, so I felt like I wasn’t working toward any goals. I missed my friends and the environment that had become my life. Some of my friends enjoyed their time at home, while others were counting down the days until school started. I made frequent trips to visit my new college friends. This allowed me to keep in touch with my newfound life, while taking a break from school.
The battle is not choosing one life over the other or making one superior, but the goal is to adapt in a healthy and positive way. College is the time to prepare for the future and, although it may not always be comfortable, it can be a great experience. Whether you are a freshman, a returning student or a transfer student, NC State is equipped to meet all your academic and social needs. As you adjust to college take steps to make yourself happy, but stay in touch with the ideals and people that have brought you to this point. Remember, ultimately it is within your power to be happy both here and at home.