In our new section titled “Highlander Diaries,” we at Features allow students to send in “Dear Diary”-formatted journal entries regarding a topic of our choice, allowing Highlanders to speak more personally to the school and share their experiences. Since it’s already the second week of school, we figured enough time has passed for some students to start missing home without having gone too far into the school year. Now let’s see what some of our peers have to say about homesickness.
November 10, 2015
College isn’t what I expected. Everyone told me that college was going to be easier for me. That I would enjoy the independence of living on my own. That making friends would be easy. I cannot even count how many times people told me that college is going to be the time of my life. Yet college isn’t easier. It’s harder.
The hardest part by far has been making friends. I am too shy to just go up to people and start talking. According to my friends, I probably just don’t look approachable, so they suggested I smile more. I have no clue when I am supposed to smile though.
I almost think that having technology to keep in touch with my friends back home makes it harder for me to make friends now. It is so easy to text our group chat instead of being brave and saying hi to people in my classes. It is hard to not hold onto those friends though. They were my rocks in high school and I still need them now, even though we are in college.
I miss home cooked meals. I have burned all my Pinterest dinners and the only thing I know how to cook is eggs. Breakfast burritos have been my key to survival, along with top ramen and quesadillas.
I think the worst part about dinner is eating alone. When I lived at home my parents had us sit down together every night for dinner. No TV. No phones. Now eating at dinner just feels lonely.
My mom says to come home when I feel homesick but I don’t know how to tell her that. Since she and my dad moved, it doesn’t feel like home. She keeps saying that home is when you are with the people you love and not the place, but I don’t know if that is true. When I go to the new house I feel like I am on vacation. Sometimes I wonder if it’s not the house that I am missing, but my childhood. I lived there my whole life and now I am never going back.
At the same time I can see what she means about home being with people. When I am with her and my dad, I don’t feel so lonely. When I talk to my friends or we Skype I feel like I am at home.
UCR is becoming like another home. Slowly, but surely I am making changes so that I don’t feel so homesick. I joined a club and I feel like I might fit in. I decorated my room with pictures of my family and friends. I am not being so hard on myself. I am realizing that it is okay to be alone and to be a bad cook.
Like everything else, it just takes time.
September 29, 2016
My immediate family unit is considerably small and tightly knit so I knew that going off on my own was going to be something of an insurmountable task. I was so nervous because I didn’t think I had what it took to survive on my own. My spending habits were abysmal, as I would get money and spend it on wings or preorder the nearest PlayStation 4 game that was in sight. I worried about how I was going to manage myself without having my mom be the adhesive she’d always been in my life.
I think when you have such a small family you learn to appreciate every occasion and it prevents you from being fixated on the things that don’t matter. I didn’t have a wealth of family members that I could call on for any given situation. I had a mom who was the backbone of the family and handled the household. A sister who provided me with companionship and knowledge from being three years my senior. My cousin was that relative who should have moved out but for some reason stayed around for no purpose at all. And my grandma, who had many ailments, remained strong and stubborn. We were an unorthodox medley of individuals, but it just worked. We made it work. Family brings a sense of complacency and security, especially when there’s not many of you. These bonds are crucial for your development and provide you with that sense of self. Leaving home wasn’t something I wanted to do at all. But since I lived in San Diego (SD), with no local schools to choose from, my hand was forced.
My first few weeks at UCR were the hardest. Making new friends wasn’t an issue, but whenever I did have alone time my mind would wander to places of darkness. I constantly worried about what was occurring at home. I called my mom twice a day and constantly texted my friends from SD. However, this was an issue because as time went on I realized I wasn’t actually living in the college life. My body was fixed in Riverside while my mind was left to wander elsewhere throughout the day. This paradox hampered down on me and at one point I became depressed.
Though, what I’ve learned is that some commitments require sacrifice. And although sacrifices take their toll, they’ve ended up aiding in my development because, looking back, I can celebrate the bravery of leaving home. I can consistently tell myself, “You are doing something that many people will never do, especially at such a ripe age.” And if I ever feel alone, I find comfort in knowing there are hundreds of people who share similar sentiments of homesickness.
As cliche as it sounds, I’ve realized that successes in life usually come at a price. And as daunting as they might seem, managing to tackle my fears head on has helped me to walk away with so much pride and the feelings of doubt will (hopefully) become a distant memory.
Next week’s theme for Highlander Diaries will be enduring struggling relationships. If you have an experience you would like to share, please send it over to firstname.lastname@example.org.