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Students With the Blues

Homesickness is probably the biggest reason for the Freshman Blues. Your student may be homesick for family, friends, his or her own bed, familiar weather, and/or a sweetheart who's been left behind.

You can't automatically tell which student will catch the worst case of homesickness. What you can do is tell your student that it's a perfectly normal reaction starting college. If he or she says, "But I feel like such a baby ...," reassure your student that homesickness is NOT a sign of immaturity.

It's not a reflection on you, one way or the other, if your child DOESN'T seem homesick. It may be that he or she adjusted more quickly to school than other students. Or, your child may be hiding his or her feelings. All you can do is to stay connected and offer help or suggestions when asked.

Here are some ways you can help your student cope with being homesick:

  • Time is the best cure. As your student gets involved in school and makes new friends, he or she will become more comfortable with the new situation.
  • When your child leaves for college, put on a confident smile. Assure your student that he or she is doing the right thing.
  • Don't call every day. That can emphasize the distance between you instead of minimizing it. It might also give the student the sense that you don't trust him or her! Give your student a phone card and encourage him or her to call you.
  • If your student tells you he or she is homesick, don't spend a lot of time recommending cures. Often, the student simply wants a sounding board to express his or her problems. Simply by offering a "shoulder to cry on," you can usually help your child through this crisis.
  • Send things to your student, e-mails and especially snail mail! Most college students know exactly when the mail arrives. They eagerly check the mail slot hoping to see something from home. Notes, letters, postcards, pictures, and "goodies" from home are greatly appreciated.
  • Don't make an emergency trip to campus and "rush to the rescue" as if there is something wrong with your student being homesick. That will only reinforce his or her fear of "being a baby" and could embarrass your child in front of other students.
  • Sometimes a visit home can be a cure. This may be easier for some students than others due to distance and availability of transportation. However, if your student is coming home every weekend, it means that he or she isn't getting involved in the hundreds of activities available at most colleges. This could prolong the homesickness.

The bottom line is that students adjust to college in their own way and in their own time. It's easy for some and hard for others. Look for signs of progress rather than quick and easy cures.

Adapted from a publication from the Minnesota Higher Education Services Office

Please contact Nicole Bishop- Student Coordinator gorillasinyourmidst1@yahoo.com or J.T. Knoll at 620-235-4062 or by email at jknoll@pittstate.edu for more information. Or stop by our office - 105 lower level Overman.

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