Things that Homesick College Students Miss About Home (and the Cures!)

It's normal for college students to feel homesick.

Flickr user Peter Dutton

Here’s a secret probably no one has talked to you about: homesickness, even with college students, is totally normal! Even if you live just five minutes from home, little things like the smell of a favorite food or a parent’s birthday can make it worse. Here’s a list of all the things that have made us homesick over the past semester and how we’ve fought back and stayed connected, no matter the distance.

The Smell of Fresh Laundry

If you’re a freshman or new to living independently, there is usually one thing that trips everyone up: doing laundry by yourself. Some of us were forced to do it ourselves as kids, but others had the help of mom and dad. Either way, it seems like when you’re in school, you can never get that shirt as clean or smelling as fresh as it did in our home washer and dryer.

How to cure it: Make your mom tell you her secret routine. Maybe she uses dish soap on stains or combines fabric softeners, but you’ll never know unless you ask! If you’re still lonesome and just wanting that comforting scent, you could get a wickless candle, wax burner, or air freshener with the popular laundry smell so your entire dorm room feels like laundry day year-round.

Our Favorite Pet

Curling up on the couch with our dog or cat soulmate is one of our favorite memories. And not a day goes by in which we don’t think about how much we miss waking up for morning walks or having them rest in our laps after class.

How to cure it: There are plenty of awesome ideas out there to keep you from missing your pet. For one, check to see if your school offers therapy dogs on campus or volunteer with a local animal shelter. For a more low-key way to shake the homesickness, create a picture collage around your bed or bring a stuffed animal in the shape of your pet to sit at the foot of your bed or on your desk.

Sick Days in Bed

College life and sick days just don’t go together. There’s no fun in skipping class or watching bad television. And it’s not like mom’s there to cook up your favorite food or to bring you another box of tissues.

How to cure it: Have mom and dad send you a care package—whether it’s full of soups and teas, health food, or guilty cravings. Care packages filled with goodies are perfect for when you just need a pick-me-up. It’s a great way for them to show you that you’re in their thoughts too and you’ll get all the benefits of mom and dad love from miles away.

And care packages aren’t just for sick days either. There are actually many occasions for them to send one—from your birthday to Valentine’s day and moral support for your finals. If they don’t know this service exists, you may want to give them a heads up (subtly).

Shopping With Our Bestie

Our high school BFF was always the best shopping partner. They gave us just the right dose of honesty and flattery, and they never said no to getting a pretzel when we were done. Building that same kind of trust and relationship with newer college friends can be tough, and it seems like everyone goes through a transition period between high school graduation and now.

How to cure it: Get out the shared calendars and plan a video date. You can still Skype, text, and call your friends if you really miss them. Give them a heads up when you’re buying for a date night and have them on call to tell you what dress looks best when you’re unsure of which to buy.

One note of caution; however, don’t be afraid to limit the conversations. Talking too much with an old friend can actually make homesickness worse or isolate you from new relationships. When it comes to curing homesickness, try to figure out what works for you and your emotional state so that you can continue getting used to your new surroundings while still being connected to your home.

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