What should I do if my son or daughter gets homesick?
Living away from home at college requires some adjustment. Students find themselves doing their own laundry, managing a hectic schedule, and taking care of daily needs. Almost all students get homesick at some point during their first year, especially in the beginning. When students live close enough to home, they may be more tempted to come home often because of homesickness. But that probably isn't the best answer to homesickness. College life is a time for developing independence; when students go home often, they are missing out on campus activities, time with friends, and the travel time cuts into study time. Parents can help their son or daughter adjust and feel supported by keeping in touch via phone, letters, and e-mail. Also consider the following:
1. If your son/daughter calls feeling homesick, rather than letting him/her come home, consider driving to campus for a weekend visit. When you do this, don't go off campus; suggest doing something on campus, like watching a volleyball or soccer game. Buy them a smoothie at The 586, or have them show you around campus. It could also be a good idea to invite his/her roommate.
2. Establish some travel parameters for the first semester. Some parents will tell their children that they can't come home until Fall Break or Thanksgiving. Whatever schedule you set, stick with it! Families who have adopted such a plan will tell you that it really works.
3. Plan on coming to the Fall Parents' Day. This is another opportunity for you to visit with your son or daughter, while on campus. The next Parent Day event will be held on October 25, 2008.
On the surface, going home during the weekend to see friends from high school and watching a little brother play in a football game may seem like a good idea. The truth is that, while they are trying to maintain ties from their high school days, they are often doing so at the expense of developing similar experiences and relationship while at MVNU. This is hard for many students to understand. Their comfort level and familiarity with those events and persons back home compete with the challenges of their new environment and building relationships back on campus. It's unfair to say that either one is more important than the other, but students should give their college experience the same opportunity they gave their high school experience. After all, they didn't miss high school events because they were driving back to watch their old middle school soccer team compete. In the same fashion, many students have built friendships with their high school friends as far back as kindergarten. They only have 4 short years while in college. It's just something to keep in perspective.