A Fresh View: Homesickness

Hi everyone! My name is Jee Won Diane Kang and I’ll be your correspondent for A Fresh View this year. This column will chronicle some of my experiences as a freshman at Brown, and will include the highs and lows of that incredible journey.

Welcome back to A Fresh View!

This week I’d like to talk a little about my experience with homesickness, because trust me: there will be some level of it that everyone experiences in some way shape or form. And while I’m pretty sure that it gets easier as time goes on, I doubt that it ever really goes away.

So let’s talk a little about homesickness and how to best handle it.

I’m from southern California (San Diego to be precise), which is a very long way away from Rhode Island. For starters, San Diego County is about four times the size of the entire state. Beyond that, the distance is just really hard to bear sometimes. There’s a three hour time difference that makes communication with my friends and family really difficult, because they’re busy when I’m not and I’m busy when they’re not. I’d say that perpetually being in a different time zone is just something that I still have trouble wrapping my head around, and it has made adjusting to life at Brown significantly more challenging than I had originally anticipated.

Missing home is really hard, especially when it’s so far away.  A lot of my friends are from the New England area or just the East Coast in general, which makes it a lot easier for them to visit home on long weekends and shorter holidays. I’m not going to be able to go home for Thanksgiving because the break is too short for a plane ticket that is going to be well over $300. It’s really hard seeing so many of my friends making plans to go see their families and be happy for them while crying on the inside about the fact that I’m not going to be able to go home for another two months.

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When you need to wait until Christmas to see your family again

But there are sliver linings to everything, and even though homesickness sucks and it never really goes away, there are things that you can do to mitigate the worst of it. I found that seeking out other people from equally far away can be a great bonding experience. You all know and live the struggle and can definitely bond through the hardship. Also, finding small things that remind you of home (for me, the stacks in The Rock remind me so much of my public library back in San Diego) can also help alleviate the worst of those homesickness pangs. Making time to Skype or call or chat with you friends and family is also really important and lovely. I didn’t realize how much I missed seeing and hearing people’s faces and voices until I couldn’t do it all the time anymore. I know, keeping in contact with your old life requires a lot of time and effort, but it can really be worth it. Moving to college can be instrumental in revealing what’s really important to you because for the things that you truly care about, you will definitely make time for.

I know that being away from home is really difficult, and honestly, there really isn’t some magic solution that will just make that pain disappear. Leaving behind the things and people you love is difficult in a way that many of us have never known before, and there’s no real way to prepare yourself for it. At least, there definitely wasn’t for me. But take heart in knowing that you are not alone, and while the pain never goes away, it does abate with time. Besides, you find new families and communities at Brown, and while they definitely cannot replace the old ones, they can be great additions to your life.

Keep moving forward, friends 🙂

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Until next time!

Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments! You can reach me at jee_won_kang@brown.edu.

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