Homesickness. It’s something we all experience at some point in our lives. At college, it can be an almost crippling experience.
When I first moved to Lubbock, I was 4.5 hours away from home. Bear in mind, my hometown is a teeny tiny place nestled in the Hill Country. We’re considered to be just far away from Austin to not be weird. I enjoyed beautiful views, and the luxuries that HEB and Sonic had to offer.
Before last fall, I don’t think I realized just how far away Lubbock is from the land of rolling hills and oak trees. The thought of homesickness seemed like a worry I would never call my own, but like most 18 year-olds, I was wrong.
Before that lovely dorm move-in day last August, I had visited Lubbock exactly twice. I visited once for my tour in November of my senior year, and visited again for my orientation in June. I had practically no idea what all of the red dirt, high winds, and flatness was about. All I knew was that I loved it.
In my house, I was a busy high school student. I traveled thousands of miles with my mom’s speech and debate team for tournaments every weekend for 4 years. I watched my dad’s football and softball games when I could. My little brother and I made late night trips to Wal-Mart and Dairy Queen often. The fact was, I didn’t just love my family; I enjoyed them.
Once I got to college, I loved it there too. The new people to talk to, the food that was downstairs, and getting to experience responsibility in a way I never had before was awesome! But by day four after moving in, the magic was starting to wear off. I missed my dog. I missed my family. I missed HEB black cherry soda. I missed my home.
I was told that being homesick was a weakness. If I missed home, it meant that I was destined to fail. I couldn’t help but feel lost. Should I go home? Should I stay and make my way through it? I was unsure of what to do.
After welcome week, I went home. As soon as I saw trees and felt the humidity of Central Texas, I knew I was home. Did I feel bad? Not really. Did I feel like a failure? No. I felt like an 18-year-old who missed the people who had put up with her for much of their lives. I went to church with my family on Sunday, and that afternoon I climbed in my little Prius and made the trip back to Lubbock without a minute’s hesitation.
I learned that weekend that home was nice, but college was pretty wonderful too. I knew then that my college success did not hinge upon whether or not I made trips home. My success was up to my own ability to keep my mind on a positive trek. I recognized the importance of discovering how to balance my need to attend college and walk my own path forward while also maintaining relationships with family and loved ones.
As you go through college, I recommend the following tips for managing your homesickness.
Thanks for reading!