For many of us, this is our first time away from our home. Our bed, parents, friends and siblings can be thousands, or even a half a world away. Even if they are only three and a half hours away, like me, they seem a half a world away. Homesickness is very common in college freshman. The feeling of homesickness isn’t something new, but there are new developments on what homesickness actually is.
According to an article written by CNN, there has been a clear sense of what homesickness actual is. They report on the co-findings of Chris Thurber and Edward Walton. They co-wrote a paper that was published the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics about the topic of homesickness. They define homesickness as “distress and functional impairment caused by anactual or anticipated separation from home and attachment objects such as parents.” When one suffers from homesickness, they feel anxiety, sadness and nervousness. Their subconscious is filled consistently with thoughts of home, according too Thurber.
Josh Klapow, who is a clinical psychologist and associate professor at the University of Alabama’s School of Public Health that homesicknesses isn’t necessarily about missing your home. He elaborates to state that homesickness is actually the desire for love, protection and security. We are also missing the routine and the sense of normalcy from back home. All of these things relate back to being home, so they are associated with home. When the constant feelings of being loved and protected from our friends and family are no longer prevalent in our everyday lives, we desire them and also our homes.
Klapow says that homesickness is something that comes in waves. The forever longing to be love and protected by your parents will not be consistent throughout your day. From personal experience, I can say that once you get yourself busy with work, the gym, and making new friends, it will not be as prevalent. Although once you are by yourself, thats when it hit. When homesickness strikes, it can affect not only you, but your parents as well.
One of the biggest things according to Klapow for parents to do is to not communicate with their freshman child every second of everyday. By doing this, parents are only adding fuel to the homesickness fire. An alternative he suggests is to set up a specific time once or twice a week for a phone call or FaceTime. He emphasizes that college is a time for freshman to make strong connections
with their peers. The relationship that is eventually made with peers will fill the voids of homesickness. This will also help in the transition for independence.
While homesickness can eventually be dealt with, but it can not be prevented. Thurber states that we get homesick because “there are things that we love,”. “It’s the byproduct of the strength of our attachment. If there were nothing in the world we were attached to, then we wouldn’t miss them when we’re away.”
While now it may be tough to be away from home, just remember home doesn’t have a football game on Saturday in a stadium that probably holds more than your towns population. 🙂