What is homesickness?
Homesickness is a feeling of malaise or distress that occurs when one is preoccupied with a home that has been left. It is often felt as grieving a loss and typically experienced simultaneously with culture shock. A homesick person might idealize her own home or culture and feel uncomfortable or resist her new surroundings.
Who experiences homesickness?
Almost everyone experiences homesickness at some point after a massive life change, no matter how old they are or where they are from. Some people experience a serious and prolonged bout of homesickness. Others only experience a short burst of homesickness at the beginning of a transition. Still, others experience occasional days or weeks of homesickness, especially around holidays or meaningful family events that they are unable to attend.
What are the Symptoms or effects of homesickness?
Homesickness comes in many different forms and can be accompanied by destructive or negative behaviors and changes in mood. These behaviors can include:
- Skipping class
- Being uncharacteristically quiet
- Being less focused/motivated
- Withdrawing from new environment
- Depression/anxiety symptoms
- Alcohol/drug abuse
- Uncontrolled shopping sprees
- Other high-risk activities
How can you combat homesickness?
Managing homesickness is not about cutting off your previous life and participating in your current environment exclusively. Many people who experience homesickness find it beneficial to involve friends and family “back home” in their new lives at Wagner College. Some things people find helpful to combat homesickness include to:
- Recognize that your feelings are real and valid. Adjusting to a new place is very hard.
- Keep in touch with friends and family “back home” through calls, emails, text messages, and traditional mail, etc. Focus on the positive.
- Send loved ones pictures of your new home/room/campus
- Don’t assume you are the only one feeling homesick! Talk to others about your feelings.
- Get involved! Find groups of people (cultural organizations, interest groups, etc) related to your home, or start your own.
- Remind yourself why you wanted to come to New York in the first place
- Keep a journal
- Be realistic about your expectations of campus and the student experience
- Compile a book of home/family recipes, and share them with your new friends
- Be open-minded; throw away pre-conceived notions about your new environment
- Exercise/go for walks in your new neighborhood; explore!
- Establish a routine in your new life
- Don’t feel guilty about enjoying your new environment or feel like you are “forgetting” your friends and family ‘back home’
- Stay active and healthy: eat well and try to get enough sleep
- Make a list of positive things about being away from home (e.g. having more freedom, being in a big city etc.)
- Study with others
- Seek out help when you need it
- Swallow, Deborah. “The Classic 5 Stage Culture Shock Model.” Deborahswallow.com . Web. Originally published May 15, 2010. University of Chicago Office of Health Promotion and Wellness
Where can you find help?
The Student Counseling Service provides mental health care service registered Wagner College students. Services include, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, three counselors and a nurse practitioner are available during fall and spring semesters – Monday through Friday. Appointments are made through the Center for Health and Wellness office by calling (718) 390-3158/Campus Hall.
Psychologist: Sharon Kiuhara, Psy. D. –Director
Hours: Monday- Wednesday 7:30AM to 2:30pm; Friday 12:00pm to 2:00pm
Psychiatrist: Amarjit Kaur, M.D.
Hours: Thursday 5:30pm to 9:30pm
Counselor: Donna D’Angelo, LCSW
Hours: Tuesday 7:30am to 4:00pm and Thursday 7:30am to 3:30pm
Counselor: Christopher Flanigan, L.M.F.T
Hours: Monday-Thursday 3:15pm-10:00pm
Counselor: Judith Lessing, R.N., N.P.P.
Hours: Wednesday 4:00pm- 8:00pm
Center for Health and Wellness
The center for Health and Wellness empowers students to navigate healthy lifestyle choices that foster academic achievement, holistic health, personal discovery and lifelong excellence. They host a variety of informative events, workshops, ongoing programs and groups to encourage health on campus.
Dr. Kathleen Oberfeldt Assistant Dean
Gwendolyn Hernandez Associate Director
Beth Martino Administrative Assistant
Center for Religion and Spirituality
The Center for Religion and Spirituality serves as the hub for spiritual life at Wagner College, offering diverse religious events and play space on a daily basis, as well as interfaith gathering.