The Fredricks

The Fredricks

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Don't Dig Yourself in a Hole
Missing home isn't that bad.

It's not something that can be diagnosed, predicted or even avoided; it's not something that every college student even experiences; it's just something that I happened to struggle with during my first semester at The University of Texas at Austin. Homesickness. 

To most college students, homesickness isn't necessarily something experienced for long, even if at all, when they first move away from home. Most would expect the student who moved hundreds or even thousands of miles away from home to experience it more than anyone. But me? I was a measly 154 miles away from my family in Houston, Texas and I was miserable.

An easy two and a half hour drive can get you from Austin to Houston.
But the distance still caused me to feel anxious and constantly upset. (Source: Mia Fredricks)

I blame two things for why I experienced such severe homesickness my first semester of college, one of which I could not control and the other I could have handled better.

The first area of blame had to do with the relationship I had built with my family over the summer before I left for college. As highlighted in this blog, my family means the world to me and I did everything in my power to make my last definite summer at home count. There was no one truly at fault for this, but it's something I had to realize was out of my control. It's okay to miss your family after having spend 18 years of your life living with them; it's actually natural.

The only other thing I could blame for my homesickness was how frequently I chose to visit home during my first semester away. Most students are ecstatic about leaving home and being away from their family and starting fresh. I, however, found every excuse possible to come home. Doctors appointments, Houston Texans' games (we have season tickets so I came home all of the time), surprise visits— any chance I could get to come home I would take.

I mean, who wouldn't want to come home to spend time with a dog
as cute as mine? Way too tempting of an opportunity to miss. (Source: Mia Fredricks)
It didn't occur to me at the time but it makes sense now. Going home more was inevitably going to make my homesickness worse. I had to learn to limit myself to FaceTime, texting and phone calls in order to keep in touch with my family. No matter how much I wanted to be at home, the more I visited, the less I wanted to go back to Austin.

There was nothing wrong with how much I loved my family and being at home, but I wasn't letting myself grow or gain the experiences college had to offer. I was digging myself in a hole, relying on the comfort of my family rather than my new friends and experiences to help get me out. The one thing I learned from my homesickness experience is that you've got to do whatever you can to avoid digging that hole— schedule less trips home and accept that you're in college now and it's okay to just call your parents rather than be physically home.

College isn't meant to be a scary journey, forcing you to leave your family behind and grow. Instead, you're supposed to enjoy it, sharing your experiences with your family from afar but also treasuring the time when you can visit home... every once in a while. Your family is going to be there for you no matter what; being away from home won't change that.

My homesickness, although not unreasonable, could have been prevented or lessened had I let myself appreciate the new friends and families I was making while away. Don't get consumed in the idea that you have to visit home at all times possible. Find the time to grow at college while also staying present in your family's life, even if it's not your physical presence. This way, when you are home, your time together will mean even more to everyone. Think of it like this: you won't get sick of home or homesick.

Find the right reasons to visit home rather than going all of the time.
Above are a few of the pictures from my cousin's wedding this past weekend (a good reason to visit home!).
(Source: Mia Fredricks)

No comments:

Post a Comment