Home is where the heart is

College is evidently a difficult transition period. Many incoming freshmen have never been away from home for long, especially not months long. Homesickness is brushed off by many because they might see it as people just being weak or emotional. However, there is a science behind it. In an article written by Angela Keele, the breakdown of homesickness and our brain begins to make sense. This feeling of homesickness comes from the nostalgia that hits us. The nostalgia can be felt when listening to certain songs, looking at certain pictures, or even smelling certain smells. Basically, our limbic systems can be held responsible for most of this as they are comprised of the olfactory bulb (sense of smell) and the amygdala (responsible for emotional memory). The smell of your laundry detergent can easily bring you back to memories of your home prior to leaving for college. This nostalgia often hits hard and even results in tears (and many tears to be exact).


The professor of psychology and neuroscience as well as the director of Duke’s social psychology program, Mark Leary, additionally gives us some insight on the devastation that is homesickness. Leary discusses the “purpose” homesickness serves in the world today. This purpose is “…to deter us from leaving supportive groups and environment.” (Leary in 2014) However, homesickness is obviously telling us to do the exact opposite. Our minds tell us to find our ways back home to familiar settings when we feel out of place. This mental pain can be as detrimental as physical pain but it demands that we stay strong and ultimately end up okay.

With that being said, there is no defined “cure” regarding homesickness. Of course making friends, adjusting within the new environment, and getting involved can help though. Staying positive and connecting with friends can additionally help an enormous amount as well.




7 thoughts on “Home is where the heart is

  1. ana5383

    I’ve gone home two times so far since I’ve been here, and I can say that once Sunday came around, I was so ready to com back to PSU. I’m not saying this because I want to get away from my family, if I could have them close to here I would, I just think it’s more so being ready to experience new things. I was always the adventurous type, constantly wanting to travel and try out things I never have before. However, I do feel for and understand why people get homesick at times. Here is an article which explains my perspective on the topic, why college students do not get homesick! https://www.collegeparentcentral.com/2011/10/understanding-why-your-college-student-doesnt-call/

  2. Michael David Kresovich

    very informative article, I enjoyed it due to the relevancy of the topic. Although it didn’t have a scientific question it was a great article, home sickness is a creative topic

  3. Grace Anne Walker

    I loved your blog because I can feel very homesick easily. I agree with Mark Leary when he says that it is the brain telling you that you are in an unfamiliar place. I believe that feeling homesick is your brain telling you that you are out of your comfort zone and for college that is a good thing. In my opinion it takes courage to go to college and travel away from home. I recently was very homesick so I took a bus back home and it broke down. I waited on the side of a highway with other students for two hours for another bus to pick us up. I’ve never been so homesick in my life but I’m adjusting more and more by the day.

  4. Mansi M Patel

    Thinking back to my own freshman year, I remember being overcome with homesickness the first few weeks of college and calling my mom every day. First semester I had gone home twice not including Thanksgiving break and my parents had visited once. Second semester I was away from home from January-May. By the time May came around I was ready to go home. This year however, I do not feel the same sense of homesickness. I have created a new life and bubble here to feel safe in. I think that this is true for most people after their first year. The key is to involve yourself in clubs or activities with people who share the same interests as you. For example, I am interested in philanthropy so I joined a sorority. Having a solid support group can help to ease homesickness.

  5. Annalise Marie Pilitowski

    This was a very interesting post to read. I am currently a Sophomore and I can say that during my freshman year I never experienced any homesickness, this year however, I have. After experiencing homesickness for the first time, it really took a toll on me. I thought that there was something wrong with me because I had never desperately wanted to go home before. I thought that as a result of all the stress I have been having I really wanted to go home, but I would have never thought that homesickness is a result of bodily processes. Here is an article on how to reduce homesickness when living abroad that will be very helpful for me when I do go and study abroad.

  6. Taylor Rodrigues

    I really found this article interesting and I can relate because I always thought that we felt homesick for a reason. There is much more to it, you basically develop a connection to someone or something and once you make a change in your life and you no longer get to see that person or thing all the time, you then notice that you have feelings for it. Therefore, having homesickness is normal.

  7. Casey Patrick Brennan

    Very informative article on the bodily processes behind homesickness. In regards to the blog itself, you may want to pose a question, and then attempt to answer it through your research. This was just an informative piece that didn’t pose any scientific question. Also, relating it back to class by using certain vocabulary is a good way to enhance your blogs. Overall very informative.

Leave a Reply