Your Student is Homesick: Tips for Coping

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Rachael Pocklington
Parents Program
Contact Rachael Pocklington
404-385-3920
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Summary Sentence:

There are many practical ways to cope with a homesick student.

Full Summary:

It is perfectly natural for your student to feel homesick. The Georgia Tech Counseling Center has some helpful tips on how to cope effectively.

Even if your student is excited about being at Georgia Tech, he or she may sometimes yearn for the familiar people, places and routines associated with home - i.e. your student is homesick. It can be harder than expected to leave home or move to a new place. The transition to college may be more difficult than you or your child had anticipated. Faced with unfamiliar surroundings, new challenges, and pressures, your student may feel less confident than usual - this is normal. He or she may be feeling sad and uneasy and long to come home where life was simpler and, quite often, adults take care of the challenges.

This adjustment may be particularly difficult for students who have moved to Georgia Tech from out of state or even out of the country. Naturally, getting home is not that easy for them. For these students, it may be especially important to develop an on-campus network so that they have friends with whom to spend weekends and perhaps holidays when they can't get home to family. For local students experiencing homesickness, the challenge will be to create a college community for themselves and to resist the temptation to go home every weekend. Going home excessively can be comforting but it can also prevent local students from spending enough time on campus to build the quality of relationships that make the college experience rich and full.

What parents and students should know:
* Homesickness is a natural response to missing what is familiar. Don't interpret it as a sign that your student is not ready for college.
* Your student should not be afraid to acknowledge that this is what they are feeling.
* Encourage your student to talk to someone. Many other students are probably feeling homesick as well.
* It is important for students to stay in touch with people from home. Get support from family and old friends without necessarily going home every weekend. Going home frequently may exacerbate the problem as it will prevent your student from forming connections at Georgia Tech.
* Suggest that your student decorate their new residence with familiar items from home. Pictures of family or friends and familiar items can make them feel more comfortable.
* It goes without saying - your student should really try to take good care of themselves. That includes getting enough food, sleep and exercise. It is natural and normal to feel stressed during a time of adjustment and it is important to stay as healthy as possible during this time.
* Students should not use alcohol or substances to avoid or bury feelings.
* Encourage your student to become more familiar with their new surroundings and identify niches where they feel comfortable. Danielle McDonald Danielle.mcdonald@vpss.gatech.edu in Student Activities can inform your student about the many opportunities for involvement on campus. Or look at the Campus Recreation Center (CRC) for information about fitness classes or joining one of the many intramural teams.
* Help your student take advantage of the new opportunities and resources available at college. When your student is engaged in an activity that they enjoy, they are more likely to meet others with similar interests and values.
* Stress that it is important for your student to give themselves time - this goes for parents too! There have been many changes in their life and transitions take time.
* Encourage your student to use campus resources to help in the adjustment. Talk to a counselor at the Georgia Tech Counseling Center, a member of the campus clergy, or their peer leader (PL) in housing.

The Georgia Tech Counseling Center (GTCC) is located on the second floor of the Student Services Building (The Flag Building) and is open each day from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. GTCC offers free individual, couples and group counseling for enrolled Georgia Tech students. Additionally, workshops on a variety of topics (stress management, time management, healthy relationships, finding work you love and many more) are offered throughout the semester. A schedule of dates and times can be found at www.counseling.gatech.edu. Students and parents can call the GTCC office for more information at 404-894-2575.

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Parent and Family Programs

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Institute and Campus, Student and Faculty
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Keywords
parents program, student involvement
Status
  • Created By: Rachael Pocklington
  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created On: Oct 5, 2008 - 8:00pm
  • Last Updated: Oct 7, 2016 - 11:11pm