Homesick


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I'll never forget standing in the cold air at around five in the morning, saying goodbye to my mom and brother. Even though it was our last official farewell it felt as if the last three weeks of summer had been an extended goodbye. I wasn't sad, I was ready to move on and experience an entirely new lifestyle. Once my flight from California landed in State College my excitement became my strongest emotion putting every other feeling on hold. A few days after settling in to Penn State I finished my farewells with my father and sister who were travelling with me. I remember walking to my room with my brain whizzing, trying to comprehend the significance of my new life. Then after only two days of life on my own, I felt as if a train had thrashed into my stomach. I was homesick.

            Since I have a strong interest in understanding the emotions that I feel I was curious to learn more about this strange illness. I was feeling sick to my stomach with flu like symptoms. I couldn't stop myself from reminiscing about my great life back at home and all of the people I left behind. It felt as if I had made a mistake leaving and I worried this feeling would stay with me for the rest of my college life.

Homesick Cartoon.png

            With some research I figured out I wasn't missing my home itself. According to an article from CNN, my body was coping with the absence of an instinctive need for love, protection, and security. It seemed as if I was missing the house and people I had become familiar with growing up, but really I was experiencing what it's like to do away with the feelings that were associated with home.

            Everyone has an instinctive need for love, protection, and security therefore homesickness is shared by men and women of all ages. It turns out the only cure is to have experienced homesickness before. Each time someone is separated from the qualities of home their body becomes better at coping.

This insight explained the strange phenomena I had encountered. Homesickness is a feeling that nearly everyone will have at some point in their life. I found comfort learning that no matter how bad my homesickness may feel it is a natural response that will go away with time.    

5 Comments

Hi Eric! This post is actually very relevant to me! I was so excited to leave home but I felt so homesick the first weekend here. I'm only from New Jersey so I could only imagine what being here all the way from California is like! The science behind homesickness actually makes a lot of sense. I have been away from home for an extended period of time twice in my life. This is probably why I was very homesick the first weekend, but am fine now! (Since my body is more used to it since it's my 3rd time being away)... I hope you feel better!

This was an interesting read. I was more curious about the causes of homesickness, and found a lot of psychological studies and theories.
This paper is full of information on homesickness.

Hey! so your post actually really got me thinking...I've heard that a lot of times, people have trouble sleeping in new places due to natural instinct. When we're in a new place, we naturally want to stay awake, and because of our unfamiliar surroundings, our instincts tell us that we need to stay awake in order to protect ourselves. I'm not sure how accurate that is, but it would be a pretty cool topic to explore!

Hey Eric, I read the article you posted and it made me think about human nature/ tendencies. I found this

http://www.maitrilearning.com/humantendencies.html

and thought it really related to your blog article's argument. Though slightly different, this article still falls along the same lines.. at least I think so.
Though none of us are kids anymore, as humans we still follow tendencies of repetition. Since our lives now do not follow the same patterns of our home, we are no longer "normalized" (as this writer puts it) to our environment, there for we may not feel the same "sense of internal peace, joy, tranquility, happiness" as we did from our repetitions followed by life at home.
I think this feeling of home sickness is something we re all bound to feel some time or another as freshmen, so thanks for posting.
-Porter

WHOA your blog really just hit home. I've been afraid to admit how homesick I've been lately -- I keep trying to tell myself I don't miss my parents and pets as much as I do, but sometimes it feels like true sickness as you said to the point where I can't lie to myself any longer. Your blog actually just cheered me up! It was nice learning the science behind homesickness and to find out that I am not alone :).

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