My Experience With Homesickness (Moving Away From Home for the First Time)

My last semester at community college was over and I couldn’t feel freer. I was finally about to transfer, which meant moving onto bigger and better things. The future was looking bright for the first time in a long time, and I couldn’t wait to finally attend a university.

Summer quickly came and went, and before I knew it August was over and it was time to move into my dorm. Move-in day was a whirlwind of events, and it wasn’t long before I was saying goodbye to my family at the end of the day.

It wasn’t until then that I fully realized how alone I now was.

The week after I moved in marked the beginning of my first semester at university. I should’ve been excited to embark on a new journey; instead, the weight of my newfound independence came crashing down on me during that first week of school. Everything overwhelmed me, from worrying about whether or not I’d make any friends to walking past club booths filled with aggressive recruiters.

On Tuesday, I rushed back to my dorm after class, called my mom, and broke down crying on the phone. I spoke to a counselor the same night, and my dad even paid me an emergency visit later that week. For the next few weeks I’d spend my passing periods on the phone with my mom or my sister to take my mind off of everything going on around me. In addition to this, I was Skyping my family and calling or texting them whenever I had the chance.

Having any free time only amplified my loneliness in this new place, so I felt the need to distract myself.

By October, I figured I was doing fine since I had a small circle of friends and I was on good terms with my roommates. I convinced myself that I was doing alright, that I wasn’t homesick anymore—even though in reality I’d spent less than a month away at school. Every other weekend, my dad would make the two-hour trip up to me, take me home, and then drive me back to school on Sunday night. For the weekends that I did stay at school, I would coop myself up in my dorm and never leave the building until it was time for class on Monday morning.

Any snacks I had in my room were my meals, and I took frequent naps to subdue my hunger. I never knew what to do with myself on the weekend—the area around my school wasn’t the safest, and so I couldn’t leave campus. Plus, my friends from class lived off-campus, and I didn’t want to bother them by asking if they could come to campus just to hang out with me.

My room was the safest place I knew, and just the thought of leaving it was overwhelming.

All the while, my mom knew that I was clearly struggling being away at school, and she would remind me that the drive to and from school wasn’t a safe one. I stubbornly insisted that I was doing just fine at school, and that I still needed more time to adjust. Having already somewhat established myself in the new environment, I wanted so badly to prove to her that this homesickness was just a phase. She proposed that I stay at school for November, and so I decided I would try and stick it out at school until Thanksgiving.

I don’t know what I was expecting, considering how the rest of my semester had been going. I counted the days until the next time I could go back home, and I was constantly trying to find ways to distract myself during the inevitably lonely weekends. November proved to be emotionally and physically draining, and I was only able to make it until Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. In the end, homesickness had gotten the best of me, and my dad did yet another emergency drive up to me to bring me back home early.

Despite all this, I still  insisted on continuing my schooling there for the spring semester. While my family could clearly see that I was struggling with living away from home, I stubbornly held onto the hope that circumstances would improve. I was slightly less homesick throughout the spring semester, but only because I’d gotten better at constantly distracting myself from the fact that I was still struggling.

One of the reasons why I pushed myself so hard to stay at school there was the fear of looking like a failure if I left.

I figured if my high school friends and my younger sister could adapt so well to their new environments as college freshmen, then it should be much easier for me to adjust as a transfer student in her junior year. I constantly told myself that this was the only  option out there for me, and that if I couldn’t make it on my own at university, then I’m simply failing myself and my family.

I know now that this frame of mind was not only unhealthy, but also unfair to myself. I’m not a failure for leaving that school; if anything, I only regret spending an entire school year fighting with myself about staying in a situation that only caused hurt and frustration.

On the other hand, I also don’t regret having been there for a year because at least I now know what I can expect the next time I move away from home. Another lesson I learned from being on my own is the importance of family—they carried me for the whole school year and were always there to give the love and emotional support I needed and more. Even when they could tell I wasn’t doing well they were still supportive of my decision to continue.

My first year at university ultimately didn’t go as I had hoped it would, but I am grateful for the tough lessons learned and for the fun memories I created with my friends and roommates. Now when I think back on it, my mind reflects on both the good and the bad. I definitely wouldn’t say I’d do it all again, but I’m glad that I had a chance to let experience be the teacher, and to have gotten a taste of what it’s like to be independent while away from home.

I'm a fourth year college student studying towards an English BA, and am planning to become either a writer or an editor. My hobbies include taking care of my pets, doing crossword puzzles, listening to music, watching Studio Ghibli movies, and of course, reading and writing.

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My Experience With Homesickness (Moving Away From Home for the First Time)

My last semester at community college was over and I couldn’t feel freer. I was finally about to transfer, which meant moving onto bigger and better things. The future was looking bright for the first time in a long time, and I couldn’t wait to finally attend a university.

Summer quickly came and went, and before I knew it August was over and it was time to move into my dorm. Move-in day was a whirlwind of events, and it wasn’t long before I was saying goodbye to my family at the end of the day.

It wasn’t until then that I fully realized how alone I now was.

The week after I moved in marked the beginning of my first semester at university. I should’ve been excited to embark on a new journey; instead, the weight of my newfound independence came crashing down on me during that first week of school. Everything overwhelmed me, from worrying about whether or not I’d make any friends to walking past club booths filled with aggressive recruiters.

On Tuesday, I rushed back to my dorm after class, called my mom, and broke down crying on the phone. I spoke to a counselor the same night, and my dad even paid me an emergency visit later that week. For the next few weeks I’d spend my passing periods on the phone with my mom or my sister to take my mind off of everything going on around me. In addition to this, I was Skyping my family and calling or texting them whenever I had the chance.

Having any free time only amplified my loneliness in this new place, so I felt the need to distract myself.

By October, I figured I was doing fine since I had a small circle of friends and I was on good terms with my roommates. I convinced myself that I was doing alright, that I wasn’t homesick anymore—even though in reality I’d spent less than a month away at school. Every other weekend, my dad would make the two-hour trip up to me, take me home, and then drive me back to school on Sunday night. For the weekends that I did stay at school, I would coop myself up in my dorm and never leave the building until it was time for class on Monday morning.

Any snacks I had in my room were my meals, and I took frequent naps to subdue my hunger. I never knew what to do with myself on the weekend—the area around my school wasn’t the safest, and so I couldn’t leave campus. Plus, my friends from class lived off-campus, and I didn’t want to bother them by asking if they could come to campus just to hang out with me.

My room was the safest place I knew, and just the thought of leaving it was overwhelming.

All the while, my mom knew that I was clearly struggling being away at school, and she would remind me that the drive to and from school wasn’t a safe one. I stubbornly insisted that I was doing just fine at school, and that I still needed more time to adjust. Having already somewhat established myself in the new environment, I wanted so badly to prove to her that this homesickness was just a phase. She proposed that I stay at school for November, and so I decided I would try and stick it out at school until Thanksgiving.

I don’t know what I was expecting, considering how the rest of my semester had been going. I counted the days until the next time I could go back home, and I was constantly trying to find ways to distract myself during the inevitably lonely weekends. November proved to be emotionally and physically draining, and I was only able to make it until Tuesday of Thanksgiving week. In the end, homesickness had gotten the best of me, and my dad did yet another emergency drive up to me to bring me back home early.

Despite all this, I still  insisted on continuing my schooling there for the spring semester. While my family could clearly see that I was struggling with living away from home, I stubbornly held onto the hope that circumstances would improve. I was slightly less homesick throughout the spring semester, but only because I’d gotten better at constantly distracting myself from the fact that I was still struggling.

One of the reasons why I pushed myself so hard to stay at school there was the fear of looking like a failure if I left.

I figured if my high school friends and my younger sister could adapt so well to their new environments as college freshmen, then it should be much easier for me to adjust as a transfer student in her junior year. I constantly told myself that this was the only  option out there for me, and that if I couldn’t make it on my own at university, then I’m simply failing myself and my family.

I know now that this frame of mind was not only unhealthy, but also unfair to myself. I’m not a failure for leaving that school; if anything, I only regret spending an entire school year fighting with myself about staying in a situation that only caused hurt and frustration.

On the other hand, I also don’t regret having been there for a year because at least I now know what I can expect the next time I move away from home. Another lesson I learned from being on my own is the importance of family—they carried me for the whole school year and were always there to give the love and emotional support I needed and more. Even when they could tell I wasn’t doing well they were still supportive of my decision to continue.

My first year at university ultimately didn’t go as I had hoped it would, but I am grateful for the tough lessons learned and for the fun memories I created with my friends and roommates. Now when I think back on it, my mind reflects on both the good and the bad. I definitely wouldn’t say I’d do it all again, but I’m glad that I had a chance to let experience be the teacher, and to have gotten a taste of what it’s like to be independent while away from home.

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