Feeling homesick at school is more common than you think and there are things that you
can do to help yourself if you are experiencing feelings of homesickness.
First, it's helpful to understand why you feel the way you do. There are good reasons
to explain why most young women experience homesickness at times. College is an important
step that you've chosen to meet your personal goals and dreams. Contemporary researchers
have shown that young women grow when "connected" in healthy, caring relationships. Especially when starting a new school, you are
from your supports, which are your (extended) family and friends.
At the Wellesley Center for Research of Women, Kaplan and Klein explain that traditional
literature describes the primary task of late adolescence is to become autonomous, to break
off family ties, and to individuate and separate. In their paper Women's Self Development
in Late Adolescence they* explain that this does not fit young women's modes of growth.
They state "...the task for the college woman is to build on parental and peer relationships
so as to enhance her sense of self as a competent and able being, thus becoming empowered
toward the fullest utilization of her abilities".
It makes sense that starting a new school often leaves a gap where you are
geographically away from family and friends, and new relationships have not yet developed.
It takes time to develop healthy relationships, so when you go away to school it makes
sense that at times you'd miss the intimate connections that you rely on.
Along with this, the academic setting can often be isolating by the degree of importance
put on grades, competitive endeavors, and level of achievement toward an ability to provide
for oneself economically in an independent manner. All of this can leave a young women
After reading Henri Nouwen's book Lifesigns
link "feeling at home" with feeling intimacy. It seems true that whenI feel "at home" with
someone or "at home" some place, I experience even for a brief moment, a feeling that's
warm, safe - intimate.
So, what can you do in the mean time, in that gap or middle time while you're new at
Tips for When You're Feeling
- Think about ways you feel connected to your family and/or friends and reach out and
make contact. It will also help to share your feelings with someone that you trust. When
feeling homesick, it may help to call, email, or send a card that "says it all."
- Sometimes, it's a time to connect with yourself by journaling and cuddling up with
your comforter and listening to music that you love or by going for a walk.
For more "Tips" click here.
*Kaplan and Klein conclude these findings from their observations and clinical experience at
the Stone Center as well as work done by Miller, Jordan, Surrey, Josselson, and
If you are feeling suicidal or unsafe now or need immediate help: Dial 911 or the
operator and just ask for help, or go to your nearest hospital Emergency Room. For less
urgent problems, call your doctor or school/ health clinic for an appropriate referral
Hang here at DoubleSunrise: Young Women's Health, where there will continually be more
information on these subjects.