A Fresh View: Homesickness…Myth or Reality?

IMG_2383Hey! I’m Nicole Fleming and I’m a blogger for A Fresh View. I’m here to share with you some of my experiences as a first-year student, the ups and downs of my transition to college, and why Brown is the best place to be a freshman!

Spring break. That one week when college students finally get to pause the essay-writing, problem-set-completing, and textbook-reading lifestyle and let out a big sigh of relief – it’s time for some fun and relaxation! For many students at Brown, including myself, this year’s spring break involved spending quality time with family. Seeing my family members over spring break got me thinking about my relationship with them while I’m at college. Since I’m from Omaha, Nebraska – 1,417 miles from Providence – it’s true that I haven’t seen my family much since I arrived on campus. And it’s true that I miss them and the things we do together – everything from listening to my little sister’s long-winded stories (“and then…and then…and then…”) to watching college football with my dad on Saturdays. But, even though I miss my family while at Brown, would I say that I’m homesick?

As a freshman, I was a little scared that I would suffer from homesickness. I wasn’t really concerned about being in a new place, as I had traveled a lot on my own in high school. However, I’d never been away from home for more than a month at a time. I wasn’t sure what it would be like to officially “move out.” I wasn’t too worried about not seeing my parents, but I was afraid that I’d miss elements of my lifestyle back home. My daily routine – friends, school, exercise, food, etc. – would all be different. And what if I didn’t like the new version?

Coming to Brown was a big adjustment. I did have to come up with a new routine – but it’s one that I love. Even though I can’t help occasionally craving some of my mom’s banana bread or thinking of happy memories with my high school friends, any kind of serious “homesickness” that could come over me is completely eliminated by the amount of fun I’m having here. I love my classes and friends at Brown, and I would never want to give them up to go back home.

As for my family, I am obviously super excited to see them every chance I get. However, I’m definitely not sitting alone in my dorm everyday, crying about how much I miss them. For the most part, I’m so busy with my friends at Brown that I don’t think about what I’m “missing.” And, if I need to, it’s easy for me to contact my family members. For instance, I text my mom several times a week and occasionally talk on the phone with her. My other family members check in now and then. However, they understand that I am busy here at college and that it’s important for me to develop some independence. So, even though I talk to them, I try not to be too clingy.

Having said that, most of my friends here talk to their parents much more frequently. Some Skype, Facetime, talk on the phone, etc. multiple times a week. But, even though some students contact their families frequently, they definitely don’t seem homesick. Honestly, my friends and I enjoy our lives at Brown here so much that we don’t have time to be homesick. With so much going on in our classes and on campus, homesickness hasn’t been an issue.

So, even though I was thrilled to see my family over spring break, I was not in tears leaving them, but instead excited to get back to my life at Brown and see my college friends. I definitely miss some things about Omaha, but the fun I’m having at Brown completely outweighs any desire to return home. Homesickness may be a concern for many freshmen when they arrive at Brown, but it’s definitely not something that sidelines us during our college careers.

I would love to chat if you have questions or just want to talk about Brown! Please email me at nicole_fleming@brown.edu.

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