Coping with Homesickness in College

by: Medi Woldemichael, Manning School of Business Well-being Leader

Starting college and still in the thick of it? Big adventure, right? As someone who came from a different country to study here, I remember the first time I walked onto campus. It was a crazy mix of feelings! I was super excited, a bit nervous, and really curious about everything. But there was one feeling I didn’t expect to hit me so hard: missing home.

I know I’m not the only one. Whether you’re from another city, state, or country, a lot of us miss the familiar stuff from home. If you’re feeling this way, here are some things that helped me get through it, and they might help you too.

Get Involved on Campus.
When I first decided to actively participate in clubs and campus activities, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But, looking back, it was one of the best decisions I made. Not only did it give me a sense of belonging in this new environment, but it also introduced me to some amazing people. I met a bunch of good friends through these activities. One of the professors I got to know during a campus event is now my mentor!

If you’re unsure where to start, check out the UML Engage website. It has a list of all the ongoing and upcoming activities and clubs. Also, follow different university-related Instagram pages like @umlactivities. They often post updates and event announcements which can be super helpful to stay in the loop.

You’re going to be in college for around 4 years, so why not make the most of it? Go beyond your dorm or usual hangout spots. The campus is packed with hidden spots waiting for you to discover. The Campus Recreation Center frequently has activities to keep you active and engaged. Don’t forget to check out Fox Common on east campus and @umlace; they’re always full of events and things to do.

Outside of campus, Lowell’s downtown area has a rich mix of food from different cultures – there’s a dish for everyone. Looking for a change of scenery? The train station isn’t far from campus. Take a train, and soon you’ll find yourself in Boston, with a whole new city to explore!

Reflect on Your Purpose.
Whenever you feel overwhelmed, reconnect with the reasons you chose this college journey. This reflection can offer clarity and motivation during moments of doubt. Adapting to a new environment, is no small feat. You can always set an appointment with on-campus well-being leaders who are there to guide and support you.

Embracing the experience, staying connected, and focusing on personal growth can guide you through the challenges of homesickness, making your college journey more rewarding. Coming from another country these are the exact strategies I used to overcome my own homesickness. By sticking to these principles, I navigated through the challenges and made my college journey much more meaningful and significant.