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News & Events

collage of students involved in individual and group counselling sessions

Self-Help Resources

Homesickness

By Mary Anne Knapp, LCSW, Clinical Social Worker

“There’s no place like home”, “Home is where the heart is.”, and “You can never go home again” are all popular sayings about the importance of home. In fact, most students experience some degree of homesickness (the longing for home, family, friends or familiar environment) when they first come to Penn State. A large university setting is different from most students’ previous experiences.

Homesickness can involve feelings of anxiety about separation from loved ones or anxiety about your performance. Feelings of isolation, feeling different from others, feeling depressed with low motivation to study or make friends can also be experienced as part of homesickness. Yearning for a connection to someone who will “take the pain away and make things seem alright” is a common reaction as is constantly thinking of home itself. Nighttime or other times when you aren’t busy can be particularly difficult.

While homesickness can be painful, it also presents an opportunity to grow beyond what you were and to expand your comfort zone. It presents a chance to take charge of life and learn new skills for dealing with emotions and with others. When you work to master homesickness and expand coping skills, this usually leads to increased self-esteem and a sense of independence.

Coping with Homesickness

Here are some suggestions to keep in mind about coping with homesickness while creating a second home at Penn State:

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