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Student Wellness Services

College Homesickness

Homesickness occurs when there is an actual or anticipated separation from home and the people you are familiar with. This can cause distress and possibly functional impairment.

In the United States, there are currently more than 15 million students enrolled in colleges and universities. Homesickness affects approximately 1 million, or about 7% of those students, and you may be one of them. It is important for you to understand the signs and symptoms of homesickness, and this will hopefully help you to cope effectively with it. If you believe you are experiencing severe homesickness that is influencing your ability to function normally then please seek help from the references listed.

You may be experiencing homesickness if you are trying to adjust to an unfamiliar environment. As a college student you experience many new adjustments all at one time. For example, you may be facing some of the following changes, some for the first time:

• Independently managing your own life
• Establishing new friendships
• Experiencing a large college campus environment
• Adjusting to a new schedule
• Striving to succeed in academics, athletics, or artistic pursuits
• Adopting to a new geographical setting

Homesickness may leave you feeling depressed, anxious, and withdrawn. It may also lead you to experience social and behavioral problems, symptoms of depression and anxiety, coping deficits, academic difficulties, low self-esteem, feelings of helplessness, and obsessive thoughts and behaviors. It is important to know that you are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing homesickness you may find the following tips helpful.

• Get involved. Join a club or an intramural team. Take a fitness class. Get involved with campus activities. Get involved in your residence hall.
• Keep close communication with your family and friends. Make regular phone calls; send emails, or even video chat.
• Make yourself at home. Decorate your residence with pictures and keepsakes from home.
• Familiarize yourself with your new environment. Take a walk on campus, go for a drive in the community, and learn what UNI and Cedar Falls has to offer.
• Invite visitors. Invite your friends or family members to visit you at school.
• Seek Support. Talk to an R.A. or an upper-classman. Contact the Counseling Center.