Home away from home: Five ways to beat homesickness

By Shannon McClain, Guest Columnist

Everyone at some moment or another has feelings of homesickness. For those who have already made Pacific Lutheran University their home, they may not have these feelings.

However, for those who are still transitioning into their life at PLU, they may find feelings of homesickness creeping up on them at unsuspecting times. We miss the people and places we have known all our lives.

Last year was my first year here, and I had these feelings every once in a while — it is completely normal. I would find myself feeling homesick while trying to fall asleep or when I would wish an old friend had been here to witness a funny joke or when celebrating an accomplishment. If you find yourself feeling homesick, use these tips to try and diminish them.

1. Fake it till you make it

This one is my personal favorite. If you find yourself in a group of people talking and laughing and you suddenly are overcome with homesickness, throw yourself into the conversation. Talk, laugh and joke, until you immerse yourself into the talk of the group, and soon you will be an avid part of the conversation. It works wonders for helping you forget your momentary feelings and have a bit of fun.

2. Establish a routine

Just because your parents aren’t around to set rules for you doesn’t mean you should stay up until 3 a.m., skip class or eat a pint of ice cream from Old Main Market every night. Establish your own daily routine that helps you get enough sleep, attend all your classes and eat healthily.

Take the opportunities of college to empower yourself and be more self-aware. Establishing a routine not only makes us feel secure in a new environment but also works to make us feel more productive and mature.

3. Get involved

Decide on some activities you are interested in and then participate. Join your hall’s Resident Hall Council if you are interested in politics. If you like to write, come write for The Mooring Mast or join the creative writing club, The Mark. Pick an intramural sport you have never played before and go try it.

There is a club or activity for everyone on campus. Even if you are not sure if you will like it, decide to try a few. Making a place for yourself on campus is a great way to meet new people and create long-lasting friendships.

4. Get out of your room

Leaving your room for more than just going to classes and taking meals in the dining room is crucial. If you just sit in your room alone, you are bound to feel homesick. Make an effort to go out and embrace your new environment.

Take part in things going around on campus — go to a PLUtonic or HERmonic concert or go to a lecture that sounds interesting to you. Hang out with friends outside while the weather is still nice. Also, make sure you get off campus once and awhile too. Go for a hike on Mount Rainer with Outdoor Rec or volunteer at a local event with friends.

5. Don’t go home

It may seem very natural when you are feeling homesick to go home, but this will hinder you in the long run. Going home will temporarily curb your homesickness, but will not get rid of it over time. It will actually make you more homesick later on. Weekends are a good time to make friends, so stay on campus and spend time with them.

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