Family Weekend at Loyola University New Orleans is set to take place September 25-27 and the schedule is full of engaging activities! This weekend may be the first time that some of our first year students have a visit with their families (in person) since drop off at Wolf Pack Welcome. For some, the transition has been fairly easy and uneventful. For others, homesickness might be occurring.
There is no clinical definition for homesickness but the American Academy of Pediatrics reports that “Homesickness in its most basic form is thoughts and feeling about home, but it exists on a continuum — it isn’t a matter of being of homesick or not; it’s matter of degree.” Thus, at the very least, no matter how mild or infrequent thoughts about “home” are, a student could still be considered homesick. On the other end of the spectrum, in more severe cases, thoughts and feelings about home can significantly impact a student’s ability to function and manifest as missing classes, experiencing crying spells, and being socially isolated. Most often, this is a typical reaction to this type of abrupt life change and at its core is a longing for the familiar.
Below are a few tips for coping with homesickness—
- Get engaged with your campus community. Walk and explore the campus and surrounding areas to find hidden gems of study spots or cool cafes to grab a snack. Check out the Get to NOLA excursions and read your emails about Weekends in NOLA events. Visit Student Involvement to view the vast array of student organizations and attend a few meetings to find one (or several) that peak your interest.
- Set up your space. Build a routine and stay consistent making sure to include self-care activities such as exercise and healthy eating. Start blogging or journaling about your new found life and what you are experiencing. Display meaningful mementos in your residence hall room as comforting reminders of home and family.
- Make new friends. Eat meals, go shopping or take in a movie with others. It’s totally normal to feel somewhat shy when meeting new people but with practice, it becomes easier and easier. You’ll become more relaxed and chances are the new people you are meeting will be experiencing some of the same anxieties. Lasting friendships take time and there’s no better place to start than now!