Students share tips, experiences with homesickness

Nothing can really prepare college students for the homesickness many of them will inevitably feel as they continue their educations.

Additionally, home is a complex subject that means a lot of different things to people, so Eastern students shared their stories about what “back home” is to them, what they miss most about it and advice for students starting to feel homesick.

Jay Tamburrino, a senior physics and math major, said his home is about three hours away in the suburbs of Chicago.

While Tamburrino said he usually does not get homesick, he still thinks about his home often.

Since he started school at Eastern, Tamburrino said if he had to pick someone or something he misses most of all, it would have to be his pet dog, Sonic.

“It’s hard not having someone to play with once in a while,” he said.

He also said his parents have probably been his biggest support system since he started college.

For Jenalee Reardon, a senior math, physics and psychology major, home is in Effingham, about an hour away.

While attending Eastern, Reardon said her parents have been her support system, and having someone encouraging in a college student’s life is important.

“You can go without (support), but (college) would be a lot easier with it,” she said. “It’s nice to have someone tell you, ‘Hey, you’re doing good.’”

Tamburrino said family and friends can make for good support systems, and an added benefit is having someone to vent to.

“You always need someone to complain to,” he said.

Dylan Eveland, a senior computer and information technology major, said he feels fortunate that his home is located in Mattoon, relatively close to Eastern’s campus.

Even though he is attending Eastern now, he said he went to school in Chicago in the past and knows all about homesickness.

“I was going to school in Chicago for a while, and since it’s a lot farther away (from home), I didn’t get to see family a lot while I was out there,” he said. “I missed being around family and friends.”

Eveland said he would occasionally catch a train ride to visit his family every other weekend when he went to school in Chicago, and now he is happy he does not have to make those long trips anymore.

For students starting to feel homesick, Eveland said he would recommend finding some kind of support system where they are temporarily living.

“If you don’t have that access (to home) here, try to find it in someone else, whether it be people in your classes, professors or advisers,” he said. “For an example, my adviser is a really great dude, and he always has answers to any questions I’ve got about Eastern.”

Reardon said she started feeling homesick during her trip to Germany as a foreign exchange student, and there she learned that patience is key.

“Remind yourself to be patient. (The homesickness) will pass. You’ll be home eventually, so while you’re in a different place, explore it.”

Home for David Thompson, a sophomore physical education major, is in Mattoon, and he said he feels lucky to have his family and friends so close by.

He also said having a support system throughout college is good because it motivates students to keep moving forward in their studies.

“Positive reinforcement is just huge for the human brain to operate, to act and to be the most productive,” he said. “Having someone support you is just kind of a relief that someone believes in you. That would just be huge for college students at a time where they’re transitioning from being dependent to independent.”

For college students starting to feel homesick or students who do not have any place to call home other than Charleston and Eastern, Thompson said he would recommend reaching out to others and starting new friendships.

“Home is where you make it,” he said.

Logan Raschke can be reached at 581-2812 or at lrraschke@eiu.edu.

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