I had spent about an hour brainstorming what to write for my first article of this year. My hot take on the core curriculum? A pity piece about why the first week of school is actually low key the worst? Why honeydew is the greatest fruit and doesn’t deserve all the hate it gets? Despite having all summer to come up with content, none of my ideas were doing it for me.
Then I got a phone call from my mom. In her relentlessly cheerful voice, she asked me how school was going and then proceeded to tell me about her day. She went to yoga, stopped by the farmer’s market, and was heading out soon on a long bike ride. She was making homemade fish tacos later for dinner and was thinking about trying lettuce wraps instead of flour tortillas but she wasn’t sure if romaine or collard greens would hold up better. She would probably end her day with an episode of Below Deck because it’s her new favorite.
As she was talking to me, I felt this pit forming in my stomach. It was this weird, hollow kind of feeling. Not like I was being stabbed, but more subtle. I felt funny. Empty? Hungry? Lonely? Tired? And then it hit me… I was just homesick.
I remember feeling homesick as a first-year and thinking it would go away. Like after a few months, I would never feel that way again. But I’ve since realized that as long as your home isn’t going away, your feelings of attachment toward it won’t either.
So in the spirit of settling back into school, I thought I’d dedicate this week to writing about homesickness. I think it’s time we stop acting like it’s weird or wrong to feel something so incredibly normal. It doesn’t matter how cool you are, how busy you are, or how many friends you have. Every single one of us has felt homesick and it’s completely okay.
I have no shame admitting that I still get homesick. Yes, I’m a senior in college. Yes, I’m 21 years old. I know this school like the back of my hand, I pay for my own groceries, and I’d be charged as an adult if I committed a crime in the state of New York. And I still miss my mom? Yep.
Homesickness doesn’t go away and I don’t think it should. But I can hear what you’re thinking as you read this: College is short. Make the most of your time here! Enjoy your senior year! Trust me, I hear you. But I think it’s because I get homesick that I’m able to appreciate Colgate that much more. My amazing friends here. The awesome professors and interesting courses I’m taking. Walking down Willow Path on a beautiful morning. And most importantly, how lucky I am to have two amazing places in my life that I can call home and feel a sense of belonging to.
The people you grew up with and the places you once loved will always feel special. And being homesick is what allows you to recognize that. It’s not about wanting to go home. It’s about appreciating where you’re from and knowing that it’ll always be there for you to go back to.
So call your mom. Facetime your high school friends. Tell them you miss them. Let yourself be homesick. Let yourself feel whatever you need to feel for however long you need to. It’s healthy to miss the people and places that helped make you who you are. And in the long run, it’ll help you appreciate your new surroundings that much more.