Adjusting to Unfamiliarity
by Tommy Delp | published Sep. 10th, 2020
First year college students have a plethora of on-campus challenges to deal with. From starting classes to making new friends, the last thing they need are problems related to home. Often enough, the biggest issue for a college freshman is their yearning for the familiar.
When homesickness hits, it hits hard. Hopefully, with the advice of some older students, RIT’s newest additions can avoid the biggest pitfalls of this well-known student affliction.
The Biggest Hurdle
Gavriel Miles, a fourth year Game Design and Development major, described the topic well.
“Homesickness is a longing for what’s comfortable and what’s safe,” Miles said.
A common misconception is that all students who are homesick miss their family. It isn’t entirely that simple though. Anna Dignan, a second year Physics major, provided a more general description.
Dignan said, “It’s missing anything from your hometown.”
One of the main problems with homesickness is how it can intensify the other problems a college freshman faces.
When suffering from homesickness, it may be hard to focus on the things you need to. Since you are thinking of home it can be hard to think about school, work and friendships, Dignan said.
College comes with a newfound sense of independence for most, but that also means more responsibilities.
“I wanted to go home, but I understood I had schoolwork I needed to do, and I needed to go to class,” she said.
Addressing the Problem
Most students experience some level of homesickness during their first year. As a college student, this period of your life will be spent building friendships and networking. These networking skills are even important now. Use them to effectively combat the issue by forming a support system. As a part of Brick City Singers, one of RIT’s acappella groups, Miles has found his.
“Clubs help me to counter the sense of loneliness that comes from being homesick,” he said.
Most likely, whether it be a club, a roommate or a significant other, someone will be there to support you. As part of the RIT community though, you may need to be there to support someone else.
“Make sure your friends feel like they have a support system at school too," Dignan said. "That’s probably what they’re missing from home.”
Things may seem hard, both now and later. College is about new experiences though. Homesickness just happens to be one of the less fun ones. As you adjust and focus on the future, those feelings of homesickness will start to subside.
“RIT will end up becoming your new home, and that’s really what’s most prominent freshman year," Miles said.
"RIT will end up becoming your new home, and that's really what's most prominent freshman year."
If you play your cards right, you may just find yourself going home come May and missing campus as much as you once missed home. Like that, the cycle begins anew!