The remedy for homesickness
Going home on Labor Day weekend is something that most of the people here do. The people that do stay either live too far away to go home for three days, don’t want to so they can get used to being away from home, or don’t have a way to get home. I was all three. Living in Cypress, Texas, a suburb of Houston, my parents’ rule of not coming home for the first month and not having access to a car, put me here in Shawnee for the first break of the school year, if you want to call a three-day weekend a break.
During Labor Day, for some people, homesickness starts creeping up on you because it’s your first long period of time where you don’t have something to do, classes to attend, or events from Welcome Week to go to so you can meet people. You start to think about going home, what it would be like to see your family even if it’s only been two weeks. Missing your family is normal when you have literally been around them your entire life, and it’s going to be normal to get bouts of homesickness once in awhile. Having already gotten homesick my first little bit here, I’ve discovered ways to combat this and to start making OBU your home, because we’ll be here for four years and we’re going to be one united family.
Here are my tips and tricks to avoid homesickness and to not fall into a rut:
1. Talk to your family often- While it’s not as good as seeing them face to face, if you keep consistent contact with them and know what’s going on in their lives you don’t miss them as much. Like I said before, it’s totally normal to miss them. My family and I have a weekly face time call, usually Sunday evening before or after dinner, to just catch up and so I can hear their voices. I’m very much a homebody, I love being around my crazy family as much as possible and it stinks not being super close to them now, but I know this is where God wanted me, so I don’t feel bad about going nine hours away. Don’t feel bad texting them during the week, keeping updated with them and knowing what’s going on in your little sibling’s life or at your dad’s work gives me a sense of normality, it might work for you too.
2. Stay as busy as possible- Find stuff to do. OBU makes it really easy to get involved in extracurricular activities and to stay busy. Not only do you get to participate in campus activities, you also get to meet tons of new people and make more friends to do stuff with. Don’t be afraid to make friends with the people on your hall. A lot of my friends that I hang out with everyday and love to hang out with are on my hall in WMU. We all leave our doors open as much as possible and 9 times out of 10, someone will randomly walk in and start to talk to whoever is in the room. I’ve done that multiple times and I’ve met some super awesome people here. On the note of making friends, don’t be afraid to go up to someone and introduce yourself. My dad tells me to find someone that looks just as lost as you are and go get through the experience together. Also, don’t be afraid to stay on top of your school work. The professors give you plenty of it, and not only does it keep you busy, it will also alleviate so much stress if you do what you need to do for that day and work on stuff in advance. I know it’s hard, trust me as a fellow procrastinator, but if you just plan out what you need to do and stay on top of it, everything about your college experience gets so much better.
3. Make plans- I’m not going to lie, most of the things I’ve done here with my friends have been suggested less than ten minutes before we do it, but if you want to go home on a weekend or if you get homesick, make plans with your friends to do something that weekend. This Labor Day weekend, my friends and I did a double feature of The Princess Diaries and got tons of food at a local restaurant called Phoenix. We took over the basement lobby for the night. Planning stuff to do over the weekend, either going to the city or relaxing here in Shawnee, gives you something to look forward to and you’re going to be less likely to go home on the weekend if you’re homesick. One of the cool things that I found out over the weekend is all the amazing local restaurants here in Shawnee. Finding new places here to frequent with your friends builds your knowledge of the town and helps you get away from the books with your friends. OBU also has lots of on campus activities to go to. Last week, it was a free improv show put on by our very own Festival of Fools. This Friday I’m going to the New Works Festival being held here on campus to support my friends that are in the plays.
Getting homesick and missing your family is normal, you might be able to deal with these your own way, but I’ve found that the things above help me get over it and miss my family less. Hopefully you’re going to be here for all four years. You’ll get more comfortable being on campus and get involved in clubs and organizations on campus and make friends to last a lifetime.