Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Home wasn't a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together.

I've always loved being at home. I love hanging out with my family and just being together.

Coming to school last year was really hard. I remember the day I moved in, and honestly, it was probably one of the worst days of my life. To me moving away to school meant that I was leaving home for good, that I would never live at home again. To some this probably sounds amazing, but to me, it was devastating.

After a few days, especially once classes started, I got into a schedule and started to feel better. But I still longed to be at home and with my family.

I still get homesick sometimes. This week, even, I've been missing home a little more than usual.

After almost two years of school under my belt, I've come up with a few things that help me when I'm missing home a little extra.

Call home
Whenever I'm feeling homesick, I make a phonemail home. I usually talk to my mom a lot throughout the week, but when I'm missing home, I give her an extra call. And she always knows just what to say. After talking things through with Mom, I always seem to feel a little better.

Do something familiar
I find that when I'm missing home, doing something that reminds me of home helps. Whether it's watching one of my family's favorite shows on Netflix or reading one of my favorite books, doing something that brings back those homey feelings helps me work my way out of my funk.

Stay busy
Like I said before, once I got into a schedule with classes and student orgs, I didn't really have time to dwell on my feelings of homesickness. By getting involved, you also open yourself up to meet more people and make more friends. Plus, getting involved helps you to get excited about something, so that excitement helps take the focus off of sad feelings.

Know you're not alone
Chances are, you aren't the only one missing home. Other people on your floor or sitting next to you in class probably also feel homesick every once in a while. Your friends probably do, too! Everyone experiences homesickness, so know that it's completely normal to miss home. Sometimes knowing that you're not alone helps and gives you help for getting over that sadness.

In my room at school this year, I put up a map of my hometown. And I don't know if you can see it in the picture above, but I put a yellow (my favorite color, of course) pin where my house is. For some reason, it just seemed comforting to be able to look at that map when I'm feeling down and know that my family, my house, everything is still there. It's just a little bit of hope and happiness for when I'm feeling down.

And the bright colors of my room, which are reflected in the map and chair and pillow above, help me keep a positive attitude. And of course, my yellow "happy" pillow reminds me to be happy every day.

No matter how sad or homesick I may get, I know how much good there is going on my life; sometimes I just have to be reminded of that. This little corner in my room helps me do that (along with a phone call to my mom). What helps you feel better when you're feeling down?

Lots of love,

Sarah Dessen, "What Happened to Goodbye"