By Jenn Wood, ’19
As the month of October draws to a close and the month of November starts, the buzz on our campus has settled down. Students have joined student organizations, got the hang of their schedules, and are building new friendships and relationships with their fellow peers!
However, the end of October marks the first full month in the school year where students are away from home. And in the span of four weeks, students face major changes in their day-to-day lives. Emerson students not only move away from home but they also face the challenge of navigating a new city, completely taking care of themselves, and going to classes while balancing work and personal life. For many students, these changes can not only be exciting, stressful, and nerve-racking but can make many students struggle with homesickness.
Homesickness is the distress caused by being away from home – this distress is marked by feelings of loneliness, sadness, and anxiety. Homesickness is also tied to attachment, this distress comes from a place of longing for a place or state that is comfortable and stable. For a lot of students, most of their homesickness is based on a lack of comfort. This lack of comfort can be based on the rapid changes going on around them, not knowing how to fit in with their peers, and not being familiar with their new surroundings. Students may face issues with sleeping, eating, concentrating, and even socializing when they are homesick.
At Emerson, we see many students struggle with homesickness. Our campus is a lively, busy place with so many cultures and circles intertwining all at once which can make new students feel lost as they have yet to find a place at Emerson where they feel comfortable. As we want our students to thrive creatively and find their own home at Emerson, we have a number of resources available to students who are struggling with homesickness. First and foremost, we want homesick students to know they have a direct resource of support: their Resident Assistants. A student’s first contact point for all concerns and needs of assistance is their RA who can help them get connected with the right services and help support them during this crucial time period! Students can also go to ECAPs, Counseling and Psychological Services, which helps all Emerson students address their concerns and build on strengths to make the most out of their college experience.
Most importantly, students can feel homesick simply because they miss their families, communities, and friends. We encourage students to not only get involved on and off campus to meet new people and have new experiences but to also stay in contact with their loved ones! While homesickness takes some time to navigate and slowly move on from, having support from both their families and on-campus resources makes a world of difference. And with Thanksgiving break coming up in almost a week and a half, we hope students take the time to reconnect with their loved ones and get recharged to make the rest of their fall semester amazing!