The Science Behind Homesickness
After being away from home for over a month and a half, I can safely say I have felt homesick. Surprisingly, it hasn’t been as bad as I expected. I feel like college is full of so many distractions that I don’t have time to miss home all the time. As someone who is extremely close to family and home life, especially with my mom, living a coast away from my California suburb has truly been a transition. This past weekend, my dad and brother came to visit and enjoy GW Parents’ Weekend. Standing outside my dorm saying bye moments ago reminded me of August 28th, the day I bid my parents farewell just seven weeks short ago. A wave of emotions fell over me as they shut the rental car doors and drove off. Swiping into the building and up the elevator, tears began to fall down my face. I had lasted this long, but somehow the feeling of being brand new in a place I didn’t know came back as I walked into my empty dorm.
Thinking about what I would write about this week, I decided to stick with the common theme of college life and our experiences at GW. Feeling homesick on this Sunday evening, I thought about the month that separates me from my trip home. I came upon an interesting article while doing research that indicates that homesickness can actually be prevented. Author Bryner elaborates quotes a psychologist at Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, “For over 100 years camps and schools have patted homesick kids on the back, tried to keep them busy and hoped it will go away, but research shows that it’s healthier, and more effective to think about prevention.” The article even goes as far as to mention that specific prescriptions can cure homesickness! Certain factors can actually cause a camper or student to be more inclined to feel homesick when away from home. Reflecting on my own situation, I think about the fact that every summer since age ten I have spent at least two weeks away from home. As miserable as I was during those sleep-away camps, they have essentially prepared me for college.
How are you coping with living away from home and family? If applicable, did your boarding school prepare you? Do you think that homesickness is curable?