Remedies for homesickness

Brittany Lynch

Don’t let leaving and missing home ruin your freshman experience at Kent State

Wash your hands. Clean your plate. Fix your hair. Don’t hit your brother.

These are just some of the things we used to hear Mom and Dad say — until we gained our freedom in college.

But, let’s be honest, even though we’re college students, living on our own, taking responsibility and making our own choices away from Mom and Dad, we sometimes miss home.

Pamela Farer-Singleton, chief psychologist at Kent State’s Psychological Services, said she counsels lots of homesick students.

“The number of students waxes and wanes thoughout the semester, but it’s a very normal part of coming away to college,” she said.

She said a typical student experiencing homesickness might feel sad, anxious, uneasy, depressed and apprehensive toward being in an unfamiliar situation.

She also said there is a time when students feel the most homesick.

“During the first couple weeks of school students get a sense of reality about college,” she said. “They may be let down because things aren’t as exciting or as wonderful as they thought it would be.”

She said holidays are hard for homesick students, too. After students go home for the holidays, she said it would be hard for them to get back into college life.

Michelle Taylor, a second year doctoral student who works in the Counseling and Human Development Center, said she also thought holidays would be hard on homesick students.

She said students could feel homesick during an anniversary of a death in the family, and even during the summer if they had to stay on campus instead of going home.

Taylor said she thought freshmen would experience homesickness more than any one else.

“Many freshmen are just leaving home for the first time,” she said.

Farer-Singleton said less than a quarter of Kent State students experience some mild symptoms of homesickness, but they may not necessarily need help.

“There are a lot of things I’d tell students to do,” Farer-Singleton said.

In a normal counseling session, she said she would talk to the student and develop a dialogue. After getting a relationship established where the student feels comfortable, she would then start the therapeutic process.

“Be patient,” she said. “Allow time for the therapeutic process to work.”

She also said it helps to talk to other people, too.

“I would tell students to talk to someone they trust like a Resident Director, parent, friend or clergy member,” she said.

Farer-Singleton also said not to be embarrassed about being homesick. Staying in your room and secluding yourself is definitely not a good idea.

She said the best things to do are be around people and participate in groups.

“Just get involved,” she said.

When dealing with homesickness, Farer-Singleton said to acknowledge it, talk about it and work through it.

“And remember,” she said, “we’re always here to help.”

Free confidential counseling for Kent State students can be found at Psychological Services, located on the second floor of the DeWeese Health Center. Their service is provided by doctoral-level psychologists. For more information call (330) 672-2487.

The Counseling and Human Development Center, located on the third floor of White Hall, provides confidential counseling, free of charge, to Kent State students by counseling graduate students who are supervised by licensed faculty members. For more information visit their Web site at http://chds.educ.kent.edu.

Contact general assignment reporter Brittany Lynch at [email protected]