Coping with homesickness

Miss your old bed or maybe even that pest of a little sister? There’s help for the lonely.

As high school graduates cross the bridge to adulthood and enter the world of college, some have difficulties coping with the changes college life can bring. Homesickness is a common problem for college freshmen.

Leaving your parents and friends behind and venturing on to a new city or state can be exhilarating and scary. Often for the first time, there is no one to tell you what to do and how to behave. There are few rules and no curfew. But on top of the new-found freedom is the reality that you have to take care of yourself, you have to share your room with a stranger, and your high school achievements mean nothing to the people around you.

Adjusting to college life is easier for some than others; it can be a good experience and a safe way to leave the nest without being completely on your own. You may feel like the only one who misses his or her parents, but you’re not. Most students living in the dorms are experiencing the same feelings.

UNR has many ways to keep you involved and help you cope with loneliness or homesickness.

The best way to keep from getting homesick is “to have a buddy who knows the ropes or find a person from your home town,” said Dr. Lois Parker, psychologist at the UNR Counseling Services office.

Every situation is different, but the way students react to their new surroundings depends on their family lives, how their parents are dealing with sending their children to college, how far from home they are, and if they have ever been on their own before, Parker said.

If you feel like there is no one to talk to, the Counseling Services staff, Thompson Building, suite 202, is available to help.

“College is overwhelming for some, but it is a life transition you have to deal with,” Parker said. “We are here to serve as someone they can talk to.”

There are counselors on staff during the day who welcome new visitors with emotional issues. You can call 784-4648 or drop in, and a friendly face will be there to help you. There is also a crisis line to call in an emergency or during off-duty hours, 784-8090. Calls are kept in complete confidence.

Parker explained that counselors offer talk therapy to help deal with the feelings some students experience and try to give them a place to go if they are having a hard time adjusting.

The best way to keep from getting homesick is to get involved in anything and everything that interests you. Being involved helps you meet new people. Besides clubs and school events, study groups with other classmates or weekend events with your next-door neighbors in the dorms can also help you become more adjusted to your new life.

The resident assistants and resident director are also there to talk to students if they are having problems or feeling homesick. RAs are students, too, so they know how it feels to be in a new place away from home.

Being away from home should be an exciting step in your life. College is an experience that helps you grow intellectually and socially, so make the most out of the short time you are here. Four or five years may sound like a long time now, but you’ll be graduating before you know it, and feelings of homesickness will be a thing of the past.