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How to Deal With Homesickness While at Boarding School

Russell Held

Moving away for boarding school is an exciting time and a big transition. Whether your family lives nearby or on the other side of the world, it's natural to feel homesick. Chances are, your friends and classmates feel the same way! Here's a list of simple steps you can take to deal with homesickness in a healthy way and fall in love with your boarding school home.

How Do You Know When You're Homesick?

First off, how do you identify whether you're experiencing "homesickness" or just missing home? Symptoms vary, but homesickness often involves feelings of anxiety, loneliness, distress or isolation. You may feel nostalgic for the simple comforts of home or compare your situation unfavorably to what your old friends are experiencing. In these moments, it's easy to feel like you just "don't belong."

Seven Ways to Cope With Feeling Homesick

The good news is, you do belong! Coping with homesickness starts with recognizing and accepting your feelings for what they are. Then, take these steps to start feeling better and enjoying your time at boarding school:

1. Get out of your dorm and socialize: Your room is a safe haven, but try not to isolate yourself. Eat lunch with a group of classmates or grab coffee in town with your roommate. This will help build new relationships and take your mind off missing home.

2. Stay active: Exercising and eating healthy will keep your body feeling good. We recommend signing up for a varsity, junior varsity or intramural sport. Find ways to exercise with others, and chances are you'll make a few friends along the way.

3. Explore your new environment: Your school's community has a lot to offer, both on and off campus. Organize movie nights with friends or volunteer in the local community through a student organization. Exploring your new city or town with others will help the unfamiliar surroundings feel more like home.

4. Bring the comforts of home with you: Decorate your room with objects that make you feel comfortable, such as a teddy bear, a favorite throw blanket, pictures of your family. Pack them all!

5. Stay in touch with family members (but not too much!): Calling your loved ones helps you feel connected and supported. But too much contact can increase homesickness symptoms. It's important to stay in the moment, set time limits for calls and spend time connecting with new people at your school.

6. Be brave: If you're homesick, you probably feel shy and awkward. New experiences with new people feel scary, but they're meant to stretch your comfort zone. So go for it!

7. Ask for help: Feeling homesick is nothing to be ashamed about. Your friends, dorm parents, teachers and advisors are always there if you want to talk things through.

The Boarding School Experience at Wilbraham & Monson Academy

Wilbraham & Monson Academy students become part of an engaging, accepting community. To learn more about what living and learning at WMA is all about, request more information or schedule a tour of our beautiful campus.

Do you know that WMA is right for you? Apply today!

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