When I was deciding where I wanted to go to college, I never cared whether the school was in-state or out of state. So many of my friends knew they wanted to be as far away from Massachusetts as possible, and other friends knew they wanted to remain close to home or in Boston. However, for me, the main reason I applied to so many in-state colleges was for in-state tuition; other than that, I didn’t think I had a preference to where I attended college. I am from Norwood, Massachusetts, which is about 40 minutes from Tufts, and 30 minutes from Boston. My town is suburban and has a “everyone knows everyone” type of feel to it. Leaving the suburbs, all I knew was I wanted to be close to the suburbs but still have campus feel to my surroundings. Tufts was the perfect match for my city mixed with suburbs and campus feel, so when I got in I was ecstatic. However, I never thought I would get homesick. In fact, at one point, I thought Tufts was too close to home for me (this was my naive senior summer thinking), so I guess you can say it was quite a surprise when I started feeling so homesick my first month in.
I remember first feeling homesick once the newness of dining hall food wore off and a month or two after school started. I didn’t want to acknowledge this feeling as homesickness because who was I to feel sad about not being home? I had friends who were from the west coast or from outside of the country, so to me, their homesickness was more important and more validated than my own. I couldn’t even admit this feeling to my friends from back home or my own mom because I thought I would seem “dramatic”, but you can’t ignore the feeling of homesickness. Once I finally talked to my friends at college about how I was feeling, I was surprised to find so many other native Massachusetts and New England folks feeling the same way I did. We missed our friends, our families, our pets, our bedrooms, and random meals and restaurants from our old town. I found that talking about my homesickness with my peers, made me finally feel like I could validate myself and take steps towards minimizing the feeling of homesickness. I began trying to do the little things I had done at home like doing movie nights with my friends on Friday or go to the restaurants in Boston that I had gone to before college. I signed up to be a member of our Animal-Aid group because they walked dogs owned by people in the area, and walking a dog reminded me of my own dog. It helped to facetiming friends and family, and most of all it helped crying it out at times. No one tells you about how weird homesickness can be in college even if you live less than an hour away. Homesickness looks so different for everyone, but I think the best advice I could give anyone is to talk about it. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed about missing what you have always known. You may never stop feeling homesick during college, but you will definitely get better at coping with it.