Students fighting homesickness have options for help


Shani Riley, theatre major wrapped herself in the covers of her twin bed in Neptune North as calls home to her parents.

By Cierria McPerryman

While students can suffer from homesickness for many reasons, there are many ways to fight it.

Missing friends, not making connections on campus, feeling uncomfortable in a new environment or feeling disconnected can be all causes of homesickness in students, said Randi Napientek, assistant director of the Office of Student Academic Success.

According to the MAP-Works Fall Transition Survey, 45.9 percent of students missed their family, 51.5 percent missed their friends and 51 percent missed a significant other.

The anxiety of being placed in a new surrounding can also cause homesickness.

“Individuals are accustomed to their home environment which consists of people they know fairly well: family, friends and also knowledge of the environment they are surrounded by,” said Broc Pagni, community adviser and junior physical therapy major.

Pagni said when someone moves on campus, they move into an unfamiliar environment where they do not know anyone and where their family and friends are not close enough to resolve any direct issues.

Haley Inboden, freshman biomedical engineering major, said she goes home most weekends and is not affected by homesickness as a result. She said she is active in clubs with meetings during the week. The weekends provide a lot of down time, which would make it harder for people with homesickness, she said.

“I go home most weekends so homesickness doesn’t affect me,” Inboden said. “I keep busy so that helps.”

Homesickness stems from instinctive need for love, protection and security, according to Joshua Klapow, a clinical psychologist and associate professor at the University of Alabama’s School of Public Health, in a 2010 CNN article.

“Homesickness affects everyone throughout some point of their college career, some more than others, and some more severely than others,” Pagni said.

Students can take many actions to overcome homesickness. Napientek said some services students could use would be the Student Association, Student Involvement and Leadership Development, the Counseling and Student Development Center, campus housing, the diversity centers, Student Engagement and Experiential Learning, and Off-Campus and Non-Traditional Student Services.

A final option is to just wait it out, Pagni said. Homesickness is a normal, temporary emotion that most students go through. Once adjustment begins, homesickness gradually decays, he said.

Inboden said she would suggest joining clubs to combat homesickness. Clubs connect people with similar interests and keeps people busy.