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What to do when you get homesick

Thanks to support system

Natalie Tanner
February 20, 2017

Many of us think that once you get to college you become a total, absolute adult and that you will not miss your parents whatsoever.

At least, I had some inkling that once I went to college, I would become some super adult who could always handle everything. It came as a pretty big shock to me when I was getting homesick.

As a child of divorce, I had learned pretty well how to suppress the feeling of missing one parent or the other, but like so many college students during their freshman year, I was struck by a freight train of homesickness. Even as a junior, I am still occasionally shocked by how much I miss simple things about being at home, like hugging my mom while she's on the phone or going to garage sales with my dad or doing homework at my favorite coffee shop or snuggling with my dog on the floor of my living room.

No place like home

As a college student, it really stinks when you can't afford to go home (for the holidays or otherwise) and/or you simply cannot find the time (I live less than an hour from home, but I have filled my schedule to the brim with work, classes and extracurricular activities). 

So when you start missing your family, your home, your dog, or whatever else you hold near and dear, here's what I suggest:

1. Call home.

Skype and Facetime were invented for a reason. Set up a time and call your family. (P.S. They miss you, too.)

2. Talk to someone at school.

You don't just have to tell your family when you're missing them. Sometimes it helps to share it with friends or even with a counselor (UNC offers free counseling services). Often your college friends are feeling the same way, and sometimes expressing how much you miss home can bring you and your new friends closer.

3. Plan a trip home.

Call your parents, pull out your planner and schedule the next time you know you can go home. Even if it is months away, sometimes just knowing when a trip home will happen eases some of the homesickness. When you feel the homesickness creeping back in the meantime, make a list of everything you miss, and then make a list of everything you will no longer have to miss when you get home (this usually helps me).

It's OK to be homesick, but also try to do something about it. Talk to your friends and family back home often and relish in the new friendships that you will create at school.


is a junior at UNC studying Psychology and Human Services. Natalie is the senior resident assistant of North Hall, a Social Media Ambassador for UNC, a former radio host, and an avid Amy Poehler fan. After graduation she plans to go to graduate school and become a therapist.