Tag Archives: Homesickness

Home is Where the Heart Is so Don’t leave Yours at Home

17 Oct

At the risk of sounding absurdly sappy, home is not where the heart is, home is where the hearts are because the people who carry them want to be close to one another. For many of us, starting college coincides with being on our own for the very first time. But, as long as you have your heart, you also have your home and you can bring what you love most about home with you wherever you go. Knowing what I would miss the most about home allowed me to incorporate all of the things that I loved about my old home into my new home. It’s easy to begin putting this into practice by making a list of the top 3 things that you’ll miss about home. I wanted to share mine.

1) My Family

First things first, I’m not the realest. No matter how hard I try to play off my sadness about leaving my home in Florida, I know that I will never stop missing home (and there’s nothing wrong with that). I had been under my parents’ roof for so long that I was sure that moving away would be a relief. Although the freedom to eat dessert before dinner and go to bed whenever I want is pretty rad, not seeing my family everyday is still a big deal. To conquer this dilemma, I brought them with me.

Skype is a beautiful thing and since I can’t be with them in person most of the time, every Saturday at 10:30 am is theirs (at the very minimum). Setting aside a chunk of time to talk to your loved ones can help make the transition to living on your own significantly easier because you realize that no matter how far away from them you are, they’re still there for you. Sometimes all it takes is a 5 minute phone call in between classes to make both your day and theirs.


Me and the lil bro. What we are doing, I don’t know.

2) Having Real Home-cooked Meals

Although it can be difficult to carve out time to make healthy meals, I realized this past year that it was something that I had to start doing. Besides being healthier and cheaper than most of the meal plan options, preparing and eating home-cooked meals was always something that I enjoyed doing with my parents (especially my mom). Meals at home were a time for friends and family, not solitude. To make my living space feel more like home, I often prepare and eat dinner with friends or Skype my parents in. This has made living in a residence hall a lot more tolerable because there are few things more relaxing than chatting with friends or getting to know new people over a meal. If you have friends who also miss home-cooked meals, then you might be able to set up a regular time for a college family meal.


3) Creature Comforts

When moving to Arizona, I knew that I couldn’t leave my pillow pet or my fuzzy wuzzy socks behind and that I would need to have hot cocoa in my room at all times in order to remain a happy, well-functioning human being. Creature comforts are different for everyone, some people have a favorite stuffed animal, while others like to use only a specific type of hand soap. A good way to make your new living space feel more home-y is to get in touch with the aspects of your old living space made you the happiest. For example, I love to wear makeup so I brought my vanity (a mirror atop a drawer where I can put all of my cosmetics) with me to school. If you’re the kind of person who has pictures of family and friends all over your walls, it’s probably a good idea to bring some of those with you. The shock of being in a new place combined with the stress of school can sometimes distract us from the important task of making our environment conducive to our happiness. But if you surround yourself with objects and people that you like, you’re going to do just fine.


Best of luck in creating your home away from home. ūüôā





It’s Okay If There’s No Place Like Home!

15 Oct

Being a 3rd year college student, I can confidently say that the majority of us have felt homesick at least once during our college careers (unless you are completely sick of home). Some more than others, especially if their hometown is not where they’re currently attending college, which happens to be the case for myself. I’m originally from Anchorage, Alaska, and I graduated in Scottsdale, Arizona, but here I am in Tucson attending the University of Arizona. And there’s a twist, my mother doesn’t currently reside in Scottsdale or Anchorage. She’s living in Oregon, while my only brother is serving as a linguist in the Air Force in California. So seeing my family are plane¬†tickets away, rather than 2-hour road trips. I probably experienced homesickness the most during my first year at UA, and I still do every now and then. But throughout these past years, I have learned ways to make living away from my family much more bearable.


1) Don’t fret! It’s completely normal!

Being away from your family and home can be scary, and it is scary to a lot of us. Don’t hesitate to talk a friend, a mentor, or even your RA if you’re living on campus¬†because chances are they are either currently feeling the same way or have at one point since they’ve started going to college. You’re not alone! Random-Adventure-Time-gifs-adventure-time-with-finn-and-jake-32628267-500-282

2) Stay in contact…

Obvious, but very effective. Reserve times during your week to give Mom or Dad a quick call, or send them a quick text before class. Thanks to technology, staying in touch with loved ones can take minutes, if not seconds to say hello, or see how their day is going. But try not to stay too connected because you still want to be able to adjust to being away from your family for long periods of time.


3) Preoccupy yourself…

There can be a plethora of events and activities happening all around college campus. There are tables set up up and down the mall by the Student Union for clubs and organizations to reach out to students, almost on a daily basis. Meeting new people, and being apart of something is a fantastic way to focus your mind on something other than these feelings of homesickness.


4) Focus on school…

This technically falls under preoccupying yourself, but I think that our academics are important enough to deserve its own bulletin point, right? This may not seem like the most “fun” way to get your mind off of feeling homesick, but it really does work! Form study groups, attend those review sessions, and make yourself at home in the library all while cranking out assignment after assignment and essay after essay!


5) Don’t worry…

It gets better! Yet another cliche, but true! Homesickness may be an overwhelming feeling now, but you will adjust! It just takes time, I guarantee it ūüôā




Surviving Family Weekend without the Family Part

9 Oct

It’s that time of the year again: family weekend. For some this is a great time to spend with your family doing fun activities around campus. For others, it is a time where you are reminded that you live far from home or that your family is unable to come for various reasons and you can’t have them here.

For those students whose family is coming for Family Weekend, yay for you! You have the chance to spend some much needed¬†time with your family. You have the opportunity to go to a World Fair Expo, a Chili Cook-off (for $10), an Ice Cream Social, and a Casino night…and that is all on¬†Friday! As you can see, there’s a plethora of activities for you to check out with your family and friends. While this is a weekend for families, please remember that some of your friends might not have family to hang out with. So feel free to invite them to hang out with you and your family, just make sure to make it clear to them if they have to pay for themselves so you can avoid potential awkwardness on that front! This is a weekend of inclusion.


For my freshman year, my family couldn’t come down from Phoenix to spend family weekend with me. At first I was really upset because I missed them. I wanted to show them around my school and just hang out with them for a little bit. Instead of moping around my dorm feeling sorry for myself, I was productive! The worst part about family weekend is that it falls right around midterms, so I utilized the fact that my roommates were hanging out with their families and set up a huge study session in my room. I invited everyone I knew who didn’t have family coming that weekend an we just studied all day. It was a very productive weekend that I wouldn’t have had if my family had come.


That weekend I also hung out with my friend’s family. While it was not the same as hanging out with my own family, they still made me feel welcome and wanted which was something I hadn’t realized I had been missing. So, if your family isn’t coming this weekend, don’t worry too much about it because you can still have a really fun weekend with your friends! And if you really want to go, but you can’t find anyone to go with, you could always go by yourself.


Please note that for this weekend, some activities require registration and others require an entry fee. You can get a look at the schedule here: Family Weekend.


My Life as a Cultural Chameleon

25 Sep

You would think traveling around the world and coming from another country would make me totally cool slidin’ into my freshman year, right? Hilarious–but wrong.

I get the same comments all the time when I meet someone:

“You’re so cool, you’re European!” No, um…

“C’mon! You’re exotic! That must be exciting; you’re so lucky!” No, thanks, but really you have no idea…

Truth be told, I was scared out of my mind to come to the US, a giant western country, to study. I moved here from across world (Southeastern Europe), and to make matters even more difficult, I graduated with a class of only 30 students.

Yes 3-0. You did read that correctly. 30.


I know. You must be wondering, “How is that even possible?” To make a long story short, I attended a small private international school in my home country. I never thought I would come halfway across to world to attend one of the largest state school’s in the USA, but I took the leap and here I am today, a UA sophomore with many friends, feeling confident in a comfortable environment. I’ve truly come so far, and I’m glad I sifted through the awkward and overwhelming social space and population to find my sense of belonging.

But I’m getting ahead of myself to the happy ending of the story… There had to be some transitional struggle from landing on American soil till now, no? There most certainly was.

Maybe this is new information to you, but many people in the US have very different social norms, etiquette, and overall general conversation topics from Europeans. tumblr_lq6iyjp3CI1r1b10xo1_500

Quite frankly, I wasn’t accustomed to some sarcastic social cues, certain slang, or even humor. I had no idea how to drum up a conversation with anyone, I felt strange and isolated. I felt like an outsider, or worse, I felt like a freak.


I didn’t know what Greek life was, and I couldn’t hold a conversation about American sports.I didn’t know what Urban Outfitters was, and I had never even heard of Jamba Juice or¬†Chick-fil-A (the food was just plain weird and extremely greasy).

[For a reference of how odd I felt, imagine me going to my first fraternity party lookin’ a lot like him…]


I spent the majority of my first semester going to class and going straight back to my dorm room to stick my nose in my computer the rest of the day to talk to my friends and family across the world . I was angry, frustrated, and clearly overwhelmed by how big the UA is and just how many people there are on campus. I wanted to go back to my small hometown, to my old school mates and family (not to mention eat GMO-free food). It even got to the point where I wanted to transfer to a European university my second semester.



By December of my Freshman year I started to enjoy the new found daily conversations I had with my R.A. and hall mates in the dorm. I started to resist less, and let myself just experience the cultural differences, despite leaving my comfort zone. I was making friends, and started going to campus events. I immersed myself and adapted, as does the chameleon. If you feel like you don’t belong, don’t panic. Again, take my advice when I tell you: don’t give up just yet! This is a new environment for all of us, and you’ll find your niche in time. If I had given up and run back home to my safety zone, I never would have met all the wonderful people I know today, and I never would have challenged myself to grow the ways I did.

-Cheers mates!



And of course, no good blog would be complete without an appropriate jingle…

Making UA Your New Home: Wildcat Connections October 28th – November 3rd Edition

28 Oct


Hot off the press! ¬†Check out the latest edition of¬†Wildcat Connections! ¬†Missing mama’s homestyle cooking? ¬†Joceline and Ciara eat at the new Bear Down Kitchen for the first time and share their experience on our¬†UA Secrets video. ¬†Missing someone taking care of you when you’re sick? ¬†Visit the UA¬†Health Promotion and Prevention Service¬†to keep yourself healthy and happy. ¬†This edition is full of insider info on campus resources and tips on how to make the university your home away from home… so click on the picture above and dig in!

The Silver Lining of No Family on Family Weekend

17 Oct

Here’s the scene: Everyone’s parents came. All your friends are shoving brothers around, hugging moms and dads, even getting their cheeks pinched by Great Aunt Edna. You are standing on the sidelines because no one came. It feels like being forgotten at soccer practice for three hours, only you know no one was planning on coming. It’s an icky feeling, even if you weren’t really feeling homesick before this. If you were, it can make you feel even worse. But, there are things you can enjoy about family weekend even without your family. And, even more importantly, there are things you can do to feel more connected to your family even if they are in another state.

Silver Lining Moment #1: Your roommate’s parents are here. They just arrived, and they want to take you all out for dinner. This is a rare moment when adults from the “real world” are offering you free food. As you may have come to notice, whenever you get hungry you have to find and pay for food yourself now. So, enjoy the family freebies, even if they happen to be from someone else’s family! In moments like these, please and thank you are appreciated.

Silver Lining Moment #2: Family weekend is almost over, and your roommate’s parents made too much food, and bought too much food. Your roommate cannot eat two loaves of bread by herself, or a dozen eggs (since she doesn’t really like eggs). They even made banana bread. As long as your roommate gives you permission to share her (or his) leftovers, you now get to enjoy some homemade food (and yet more free meal components).

Still miss family and friends? Look out for another blog related to this topic, but here are some quick tips to help you stay connected with faraway family:

1. Call them. Talking to whoever you miss on the phone and hearing their voice, can be surprisingly comforting. You may think I’m silly for suggesting this, but seriously taking time to have a long conversation with a loved one can leave you feeling more connected.

2. Download Skype to your laptop or desktop computer. It’s free, and seeing your high school bestie’s face or watching your mom hold up your family pet and wave his little paw in greeting can really help.

3. Spend time with people. Even if you don’t feel like you’ve found your place yet, staying locked up in your room isn’t going to make you feel any better about that, or help you find your place any sooner. Talking to classmates or people you met at a club meeting can be nice, and it is definitely a step toward finding your people here at the UA. It’s a huge campus. Odds are, there is someone you can befriend who is feeling just¬† as lonely as you are. You just need to find them!