When I tell people that I’m a senior in college and still get homesick, I tend to get some funny looks. After countless moves to and from school, you would think I could leave home without looking back. I’m an expert at packing, I have great friends in Manhattan and I love my major and the classes I take, but none of these things ever make leaving home any easier.
Don’t get me wrong: I love K-State. I’ve made wonderful memories here, and when I’m at home for long periods of time, I really miss Manhattan. It’s the transitions that are the hardest for me. When I’m home, I get used to being home and being with my family. When I’m in Manhattan, I get used to being in school and having all the freedom that comes with living here.
There were 17,251 resident students and 7,515 nonresident students at K-State in the 2014 fall semester. That means a little under half the students here are, at the very least, a state away from home.
The transition for high school students going into college is both exciting and nerve-racking, according to the K-State Student Access Center. The first move comes with so many changes, so of course it’s difficult as well. You are your only advocate in college, and you really have to learn how to stand on your own two feet.
Then it gets more difficult. Students must be able to balance all of their responsibilities, both academic and extra-curricular, while trying to adjust to a huge change in their lives. I’ll argue that while that first transition is the hardest, it never goes away; it just gets easier.
“Homesickness is not really about missing home, as most students have been very ready on some level to leave the nest,” Tamar Chansky, a psychologist and Huffington Post blogger, said. “It’s missing familiar things … the familiar rhythms of the day; the faces and places where everyone knows their name. Homesickness is really about the transition.”
Being homesick isn’t about missing my house or even my hometown. It’s about missing both my family and the ease that comes with living at home. We are stuck in this transition for at least four years, where we are constantly moving, packing and following internship opportunities. We’re really feeling stuck between two worlds. We aren’t kids anymore, but we aren’t quite ready to be adults that are 100 percent on our own.
Whether you’re a freshman or an upperclassman, it’s okay to be homesick. You are never too old to miss the familiarity of home. I’ve made a million transitions and it’s still hard, but it’s a whole lot easier than when I first moved to Manhattan my freshman year.
One thing students can do to help aid in the transition process is to give themselves reasons, like extra-curricular activities, to make those transitions, according to The Child Study Center. Join a club or pursue new interests. Transitions might be hard for me, but I can’t imagine not coming back to Manhattan to see my friends and to learn more about myself and my career.
I won’t be a student for much longer. Our time here is short, so there’s no point in wasting even a minute of it. It’s okay to be homesick, but the best way to fix it is by making this place your home too.
Courtney Burke is a senior in mass communications.