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How to Deal with Homesickness When Living Away from Home

Student Life

Almost everyone deals with homesickness the first time they live away from home. Whether that’s at a summer camp, at boarding school, or at college, homesickness is something that plagues us all when adjusting to new environments.

I, for example, moved away from home to attend boarding school last year. Although I wasn’t initially too homesick—the excitement of moving in and starting high school overpowered all else—there were many times throughout the year where I missed being at home, where I missed my old friends, where I missed the comfort of my old life.

But getting over homesickness is not as difficult as it may seem! And so, here are a few tips on the best ways to overcome your homesickness, whenever it may strike.

1. Schedule time to call home

Whether you are feeling homesick or not, scheduling consistent times to call home is always a good idea. It’s a good way to make sure you are keeping in contact with your family, even when school grows busier and busier. Creating a consistent routine also makes it so that you know exactly when you will be able to talk to your family or friends. That way, you can enjoy everything around you at school, knowing that it won’t be long before you talk to your family or friends again.

Your parents are also probably adjusting to no longer having you at home, which means they will definitely want to hear from you frequently. To avoid hearing another lecture about why you never call home— trust me, every kid who has recently started living away from home will hear this many, many times— save yourself the hassle and schedule a consistent time that works for you and your family.

You can decide for yourself how frequently you want to call home. Some students call home every day, others every week—choose whatever works best for you. If you are feeling particularly homesick, remember that calling through FaceTime, where you can see each other's faces, is always more comforting than a simple audio call.

2. Keep in contact with friends from home

Keeping in touch with people you no longer see every day can be difficult, but frequently talking to friends from home can make you feel less homesick. Even if you are busy, try to message or call friends from home, at least every week or so. Let them know how school is going for you and ask how they have been doing. With everything that goes on around you while at school, it can be difficult to remember to message your friends from home, but you definitely don’t want to lose some of your best friends by falling out of touch.

To keep from feeling homesick, it can also help to plan visits with your friends from home. Ask if they will be passing by the area you attend school— if so, schedule a quick meeting! No matter how short, seeing each other in person after being away for a while will help strengthen your relationship. You can also start planning hang-outs for when you head home for break. Even if it’s still a couple of weeks away, simply planning these meet ups can make you feel better about being far away from home.

3. Keep yourself busy while at school

Besides keeping in touch with family and friends, keeping yourself busy while at school is very helpful for avoiding homesickness. As much as talking to people from home who you are familiar with can make you feel comforted, be careful not to do this too much, because it can make it harder for you to adjust to life away from home. Talk to family and friends, but in the first few weeks in particular, try not to spend all of your time holed up in your room talking to family members and old friends.

As much as it may seem intimidating to immerse yourself in the new environment surrounding you, it’s the fastest way to get over your homesickness. Throw yourself into making new friends, trying new things, and doing well in classes. The more involved you are with everything around you, the less you will feel sad about missing home.

4. Make new friends on campus

Moving to a new place can feel horribly lonely, in part because you are leaving your old friends behind. One particularly good way to feel less sad about this is to make new friends at school! Reach out to people around you, whether they are in your classes, in your dormitories, or in the same extracurriculars as you. It might feel awkward at first, but remember that just about everyone is as nervous as you are, so they’re probably hoping you’ll make the first move and introduce yourself. Once you’re more familiar with each other, the awkwardness will fade away. Make yourself open to befriending anybody you meet—you never know when you’ll meet a best friend!

5. Branch out and try new things

Another good way to push homesickness out of your mind is to immerse yourself in new things. Join new clubs, take interesting classes, go to events with new friends— the point is, do anything that seems interesting to you, and don’t hold back! Starting at a new school or entering college is a fantastic chance to try new things you might not have even heard of before, so look at everything with an open mind.

There you have it! Five tips on the best ways to overcome your homesickness the first time you’re living away from home. Just remember: everyone goes through feelings of homesickness at some point, and as miserable as you might feel at the moment, it will most definitely get better.

Angeline Zhao
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Angeline Zhao is a tenth-grader at Phillips Academy Andover. She loves journalism, competition math, teaching, and playing card games. Angeline often spends hours overanalyzing books and binge-watching shows like Gilmore Girls and Brooklyn 99.