Homesickness, also called nostalgia, is the feeling of missing being at home, in familiar surroundings. Students who have recently left for college may feel it. Anyone who has recently moved, or who is on vacation (especially away from family) may feel it. It is very normal to experience homesickness. For many people, homesickness can lead to some great advantages in their new situations. For others, it can become very rough. In general, though, homesickness is something everyone experiences from time and to time and is a good motivator for change.
The first advantage to homesickness is that it forces people to stay busy. Busyness allows people to be involved in lots of different activities, and explore their new area. When a person is very busy, they don’t have much time to dwell on their sad feelings, and they feel happier (Hitti). Being so busy may not leave much time for old friends, however. Sometimes missing old friends isn’t a bad thing!
Everyone has “that” friend.
The friend who is much more a taker than a giver, and who actually annoys them. Most people don’t have the heart to cut ties with this person when they are seeing them everyday. However, if a person has recently moved away permanently, and is not just on vacation, it can be easy to cut ties with old friends who aren’t so good for them (Jackson). Once a person has cut ties with some friends, it’s time to make some new ones!
New friends are people who are going through exactly the same thing, at the same time, and who share any new interests a person may have. Being homesick is easily combated when a person decides to go out and make some new friends, because then the new area seems more familiar, and the person has a new life (Homeier). New friends aren’t the only advantage of homesickness, though. Being able to pick up new activities is also fun.
Back in the old town or school, a person may have been defined in a particular way – a jock, a cheerleader, a loser. But a new place allows a chance to become a new person. Instead of feeling homesick for what was, a person can realize that this is actually a brand new chance to be who they always dreamed of being. However, to be able to take advantage of any of these positives, a person must have gotten over the negative side of homesickness (Homeier).
It is not always easy to overcome the initial feelings of homesickness, which may include loneliness, sadness, anxiety, and longing. A person who is homesick may internalize their feelings and not take advantage of their new surroundings, and may become depressed, more anxious, lost, and feel as though they are going crazy. Preparation for leaving before actually moving may help, like spending the night away from home just for one or two days (Thurber).
According to Muller, “Leaving home may initiate a grief process which involves denial, anger, bargaining and depression. Questions of acceptance or avoidance in talking about home are symptoms of which to be conscious. Admit the losses to yourself and assess the gains.” If this doesn’t help and extreme sadness occurs, a person should seek help (Muller).
Most colleges have a health and counseling center that students can attend to get some help with their homesickness. If a student is feeling especially anxious or depressed, to the point where it is affecting their daily life (no energy, do not want to go anywhere, not eating, eating too much, etc.), students should go to the counseling center. If homesickness is less pronounced, students should write letters home, write in a journal, talk to a friend, or get involved in some activities (Hitti).
Homesickness is very normal and common. While it can be serious in some students, it most often passes after awhile. Students can help homesickness to pass faster by looking at the advantages of homesickness, like making new friends, getting involved in new activities, and reinventing themselves. All of these things will quickly homesickness and help the person improve their life!
Hitti, Miranda (2007). “14 Ways to Prevent Kids’ Homesickness.” WebMD. Accessed July 15, 2008. Website: http://www.webmd.com/parenting/news/20070103/14-ways-to-prevent-kids-homesickness.
Homeier, Barbara (2006). “Homesickness.” TeensHealth. Accessed July 15, 2008. Website: http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/emotions/homesickness.html.
Jackson, David. “Home Truths – Homesick?” BBC Radio 4. Accessed July 15, 2008. Website: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hometruths/homesick.shtml.
Muller, Cyril. “Homesickness.” Chaplaincy at the University of Queensland. Accessed July 15, 2008. Website: http://www.uq.edu.au/chaplaincy/index.html?page=33201&pid=33010.
Thurber, Christopher (1999). “The phenomenology of homesickness in boys.” Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology.
Cite this Advantage to Homesickness
Advantage to Homesickness. (2016, Oct 08). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/advantage-to-homesickness/