He Said, She Said
Published: Sunday, September 29, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 29, 2013 21:09
I’m a freshman, and my parents came up this weekend for Parents’ Weekend. I had finally started to get used to being away from home, but once they came to visit, I realized I miss them even more. Now, all I can think about is the next time I’ll be able to go back home. Does this cycle ever end? How can I learn to be happy with living on my own at BC without becoming too detached from everyone back home?
Two words—grow up. It is understandable that everyone has an individual rate of growth, but college is the ideal time to cut the umbilical cord and psychologically and physically train for the independent life that lies ahead. It is normal and healthy to miss your parents and loved ones, but if you are aching to go home, then Boston College may not be the place for you or you may need to concentrate on building stronger connections with your fellow classmates.
You can learn to be happy at BC by understanding that you will never again have a four-year, $200,000 slumber party sponsored by mom and dad (for those of you whose parents are funding your education). Most likely, your only legitimate chore is laundry and cleaning your bathroom once in a while. Unless you move into your parents’ house after graduation, your “to-do” list will exponentially grow and your financial resources will probably shrink. Your parents sent you here to achieve your academic goals—if you get emotionally distracted, your time and money will have gone to waste. Furthermore, you should not worry about becoming detached from those back home. Your family is stuck with you forever—even if your connection with them diminishes throughout these four years, you have the rest of your life to rebuild it.
On a final note, you do not want your family and others to perceive you as weak and dependent on constant emotional support. Learning to live without your family is a major step toward adulthood. Take this opportunity to prove to yourself that you are capable of functioning like a normal human being and growing up into the person that your parents paid for you to become.
Feeling homesick is pretty common across campus, so don’t feel that you’re alone in any of this. It can be really difficult to leave the nest, especially for freshmen, but there are some simple things you can do to help minimize any homesickness you do feel. First, try to set up a few times each semester when you know you will be going home. It’s good to put these dates on a calendar and book your plane/train/bus tickets ahead of time so you feel a sense of certainty about when you will see your family next. Once you figure out your visiting schedule, think about what times you might want to call or Skype friends and family throughout the week. I know for me, I love calling my mom in the morning as I am walking to class. It gives me about five to 10 minutes to check in with her each day, but it’s never too much to make me miss her. Now and then I’ll also send some texts just to keep her updated on my life. I’d also suggest keeping a couple photos of your family around your room. For some people, this can be upsetting, but for others it can create peace of mind. Sending snail mail can also be a great way to keep some distance between your family and school, but also help stay connected.
As a final thought, don’t get too caught up in how you feel. It’s okay to cry once in a while and seek out comfort from close friends. Forcing yourself not to be homesick won’t work. I’d suggest focusing on finding some activities you really like that can help connect you to some more students on campus and keep you busy. Remember, you can always go to therapy at counseling services, or talk to your RA or RD for additional support (they are trained to help you!).