Dealing with homesickness: Ideas to help cope with being away from home

Photo of high school friends on a wall
Theo Wyss-Flamm/Senior Staff

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Living away from home can be daunting. Leaving your friends, family and loved ones is something that never gets easy. 

Moving from New Jersey all the way to California this past summer, my entire world seemed to change. I was suddenly more than 2,000 miles away, in a different time zone and living with people I had only previously met via Instagram. No longer did I have the comforts of my normal environment, as I was now living in a bustling city — one that vastly differs from my suburban hometown. 

As time went on, though, I learned to cope with my homesickness; and I’ve now begun to see Berkeley as my second home, too. Although it took me almost two semesters to adjust to living independently and being on my own, I’ve found some tricks that helped me get through some of the toughest periods of my first semester. With any luck, these methods that helped me adjust will also work for you!

Decorate your room with pictures of your favorite memories

Print out pictures of your favorite memories from home at your local CVS or Walgreens. Decorating your room with pictures of your friends and family can help you feel closer to home whenever you begin to miss them! 

Utilize Zoom and FaceTime

Group FaceTime and Zoom calls are great ways to stay connected to friends and family! Connect with your loved ones virtually through game nights, movies and more. Swap schedules with your friends to find times that work best for you all, and like a typical college student, send out a Google Calendar invite to schedule calls for you all to reconnect!

Join organizations on campus 

Make the most of your time at UC Berkeley, and seize the opportunities offered by the many student organizations on campus! Join clubs and organizations pertaining to your interests to help you find your home away from home. 

At a school as large as ours, it can feel overwhelming to navigate its many offerings and to make new friendships. However, joining campus organizations can definitely help you find a community you’ll love!

Familiarize yourself with the unfamiliar 

Leave your dorm! Take time to explore the campus and its surrounding areas. Downtown Berkeley and San Francisco are only a few bus rides or BART stops away from campus. From the many restaurants to the countless fun activities, both have so much to offer. Becoming acquainted with the place you’ll call home for the next few years will only help to make it feel that way!

Enjoy your alone time

It is totally OK to have time alone! You do not always have to be with others. Besides, it’s important to take time for yourself. Use your alone time to recuperate and reconnect with yourself — whether that entails reading a book, watching a movie or anything else you desire!

Contact Ishwari Nagnur at [email protected]