Moving away from home to a new, unfamiliar place can be difficult at first. Homesickness isn’t uncommon among college freshmen, and when they need someone to talk to, they often turn to you — their parents. Here are some ways to help your student adjust to life away from home.
Be willing to listen to your child’s feelings and needs. Sometimes it’s nice for students to have someone familiar to talk to. They don’t always need advice, just someone who will listen. It’s important for students to talk to someone at home a few times each week or even once a day at the beginning of their freshman year.
Encourage your child to stay on campus as often as possible. This is the best way to adjust to college life in a new place. This gives students the chance to hang out with friends and classmates and not think so much about home. Keeping busy is always a great way to take your mind off of things that make you sad, worried or stressed.
Help your child set goals for himself/herself. This can be for the week, semester or year. It can give them a purpose and something to spend time on so their thoughts aren’t consumed by home.
Enjoying alone time
While making friends is an important part of adjusting to college life, it’s important for your student to enjoy their alone time. It might help to make a list of activities they like to do outside of class, and make time for those a priority.
A care package
Send your student a care package – this is always a nice reminder that you’re thinking of them. Head to page 10 for a breakdown of what you should send.
Plan a visit to campus – you can stay in the Indiana Memorial Union hotel and spend a weekend exploring campus and Bloomington with your son or daughter. Check out different shops and restaurants and see what your child has been up to at IU.
More than anything, it’s important to remember homesickness is something many new college students deal with.
It’s rare this leads to something more serious like anxiety or depression, but if you notice your student’s homesickness starting to trigger symptoms of mental illness, encourage them to seek guidance from a mental health professional at IU’s Counseling and Psychological Services.