Helping My Homesick College Student
Has your student been struggling with homesickness? What can you do to assist them? How can you help?
Most college students experience homesickness. For some, it may last a few days until they acclimate to their new environment. For others, the transition to living on their own can be a bit rougher, sometimes leading to a desire to be home. There are several keys to helping your college student manage this transition.
Homesickness is normal. Even though your student believes that everyone else they meet is “having the best time of their lives,” it is very common for any of us embarking on a major life shift to experience some anxiety.
- Listen, offer support and encourage your student to problem solve.
- Avoid fixing it for them. It’s important they establish their independence and fixing it will give them confidence.
- Manage your own emotions. It can be hard to watch your student struggle but it is a necessary step in the developmental process. It is O.K. to let your student know that you miss them. Stay positive and let them know that you are getting used to the new arrangement just as they will.
Encourage them to stay at school. Resist the temptation to have them home. Trips home every weekend get in the way of your students ability to conquer homesickness and make college “home away from home.” Encourage involvement, joining a club, intramural sports, getting a campus job, activities in the residence halls and exploring Milwaukee with other students all help to ease the transition. Stress their strengths and resources. Remind them of past successes and tasks conquered.
Recognize when it is something more. If you think that your student may be more than homesick, possibly depressed or suffering with anxiety, take it seriously and encourage them to reach out. Norris Health Center Counseling and Consultation Services offers confidential evaluations and treatment for students dealing with a wide range of concerns. If your student is unsure whether they need counseling, encourage them to attend Let’s Talk, a drop-in counseling consultation at various locations around campus. For more information visit Norris Health Center online.