During my first year of college, I definitely dealt with some heavy feelings of homesickness. I missed my family, the familiar places back home and my own bed so much. It did get better with time as I learned how to manage it, and I thought I was getting used to being away from home when I stopped feeling so homesick.

Now I am a second year in my second quarter, and those feelings of homesickness have come back stronger than before. I do know how to navigate my way around those feelings better now that I know more about the resources offered on campus, but it can't be denied how difficult and isolating homesickness can feel at times. I have learned to take a step back, take a deep breath and manage this feeling with five steps that always help me forget I am 400 miles away from home.

1. Write Letters To Your Family  

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The easiest and quickest way for me to relieve homesickness is to have a long chat with my parents or my siblings on the phone. But, sometimes calling home can backfire and make me feel more homesick than before. Writing a letter helps me think about what I want to say and express what I'm feeling. Hearing a familiar voice certainly helps me feel better, but if my mom and I are both crying on the phone about how much we miss each other, then I won't feel strong enough to finish the quarter. Get some Davis postcards from the bookstore and write your heart out. 

2. Talk to Longtime Friends  

Even calling an old-time friend can do the trick when experiencing homesickness. I have few friends that I've known for over five years, and talking to them always brings back old memories of shared experiences. If you are lucky enough to go to the same school with a good friend from home, then plan a date to spend the day together to catch up at your favorite coffee shop or explore your college town. Distract yourselves from the homesickness that both of you may have been experiencing.

If you want individual counseling, you can schedule an appointment for free confidential short-term therapy through Student Health and Counseling Services.

3. Make a Favorite Home-Cooked Meal

Before going away to college, I didn't realize how difficult finding authentic Mexican food would be. Yeah, there's a taqueria in every part of town, but the flavor of my mom and dad's enchiladas can't be replaced by another restaurant's version. Making my own home-cooked Mexican rice, beans, and main dish usually helps me feel like I am home, and after trial and error in the kitchen, my taste buds feel at home, too.

For some help working in the kitchen, UC Davis offers free cooking classes for registered students. Check out the website for the next available class.   

4. Watch a Movie

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An effortless remedy for homesickness is to sit back, relax, and watch a movie or favorite television series. Forget you are so far away from home, and take a break from school responsibilities to focus on self-care for a moment. Whether it is a comedy or an action film, both will take your attention away from the fact that you are a long distance from home. Multiple clubs on campus offer free movie screenings, too! Yes, most of them might be documentaries, but hey you get to meet new people and sometimes there's free food.

5. Dig into School Work    

Emma Centeno

I find that when I'm distracted with school work, the less I think about home. This is great because I am, after all, away from home for the sake of school. Being on campus where I am surrounded by other students reassures me that we are all in this together.  Even though it can be intimidating to be in a place where so many people are older and more experienced than I am, I know that so many other students are feeling the same homesickness that I feel. The Student Academic Success Center's website has information on workshops on campus for building study skills and tutoring centers to help focus on school work and not homesickness  

As lonely and difficult as homesickness is, there are ways to deal with it. Being away from familiar territory can be overwhelming especially with separate responsibilities that come with school. These are just a handful of ways that I like to manage it. The most important thing is to remember that so many other students feel the same way too sometimes.