Health Matters

By
September 16, 2011

The thrill of leaving home and becoming independent may have  pushed back the anxiety that comes with being in an unfamiliar environment which is normal for many college students to experience.

We might become overwhelmed with insecurity and sadness, but don’t panic; you are not alone. Many students have or probably are experiencing a case of homesickness according to Kelsey Lyn Lucier, a writer that covers college lifestyle news for  About.com, college blues tends to go away once you understand “where (your fears are) coming from and knowing what you can realistically do about it.”

If your homesickness is hard to overcome, there are many methods and resources you can utilize to make your Mills life a bit more comfortable.


Don’t be embarrassed if you are struggling with homesickness:

When I began my first year last fall, I was having a bit of trouble adjusting to college life and began second guessing my decision to attend Mills.

The food wasn’t quite the same, I knew no one in the area (let alone my hall) and I really missed having my boyfriend around as a cuddle buddy. I felt childish for feeling this way and was stubborn to admit that I needed someone to hear me out. After socializing with a couple of my hall mates, I realized that I wasn’t the only one missing my family and loved ones.

Emmalee Myers, a sophomore at Mills College, had a fairly easy time adjusting to on-campus life last year but is finding it quite difficult this year to be away from her loved ones.

She was surprised at the  grief she felt with her mother during move-in day.

“I never cry in front of my mom, so it was kind of shocking for her to see me like that,”
she said.

But she found ways to cope with this phase by socializing with friends, keeping busy with work and participating in
on-campus activities.
Ways to cope with homesickness:

There are small steps that one can take to help ease the distance from home. CollegeBoard’s website recommends trying to establish a “phone-home night” where you can talk to your parents or friends, keeping yourself and family up to date with any exciting news or adventures that take place at school. Another fun activity is to make your dorm room a “home away from home” by decorating it with photos, posters or anything that makes it feel comfortable
and familiar.

To make a more conscious connection to home, try sending letters to your loved ones. Letters are a great way to dedicate time for reflection. There are countless remedies for homesickness; it just takes time to find what works for you. Exploring and finding the right people and environments is what college life is all about.
Still feeling uneasy?

If the options mentioned about or talking to a friend or roommate doesn’t seem to help– it’s okay; there are even more options.

One main resource is the Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS) located inside the Cowell Building.There you can meet with Dorian Newton, Director of the Counseling and Psychological Services, or her staff of professional counselors and pre-doctoral psychology trainees by calling CPS at (510) 430-2130 or emailing counseling@mill.edu for more information.

According to Jess Miller, Director of Services for Students with Disabilities, the counselors deal with homesickness all the time and with 8-10 free counseling appointments per student (per academic year), help is available when you need it. Everyone experiences homesickness, but it is important to remember that it is a phase that will pass over time anyway and Mills has the resources to help.

Health Matters is a column written by the second year nursing students participating in the Nursing Leadership Class.


Health Matters was published on September 16, 2011 in Sports & Health

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