Heading off to college is an exciting time in your life. All the planning and packing, the goodbye parties, the countless hugs and “I’ll miss you”’s. Soon you’re on your way with butterfly’s filling your stomach as you get closer. You’re met with thousands of new people you’ve never met before and countless “get to know you” activities. It’s not until your parents have gone and you’ve yelled your cry of ‘FREEDOM!’ that this lonely feeling starts to creep in. It’s suddenly all real, you’re on your own and in college. Not everyone goes through it but many freshman experience homesickness in their first month of college. Brian Harke over at Huffington Post says “beyond the expected first couple of weeks, many students start feeling homesick around the third to sixth week of the first term. During this period, the excitement and newness of the initial college experience dies down. A sense of normalcy sets in and students start suffering from what I call the post move-in syndrome.”
There are so many new and unfamiliar things that you are experiencing. You’re meeting new people and learning so much and it can get exhausting, but the worst thing is when all you want to do is crawl into bed and forget the stress of the day but your new home just doesn’t feel like home. You can’t exactly go home but there are ways you can bring that warm homey feeling to school with you!
It’s important to remember that the “homey” feeling is compiled of all 5 of your senses; touch, smell, sound, taste, and sight. So when you are trying to recreate that feeling you want to try to hit all of these.
There’s nothing worse than crawling into a bed and not feeling like it’s your bed. This is the one place that you will spend a large chunk of your time in, so it’s important that you feel most comfortable here. Some easy ways to make it feel homier is to wash your sheets with the same laundry detergent that was used at home. Sometimes you don’t realize how well you knew the scent until you didn’t have it anymore. Another great way is buying a tempur-pedic mattress to lay down to try to get your new mattress to be the same consistency as your old one. This can help it to feel more like your old one and there are plenty of different ones to help figure out what is going to be most comfortable for you.
This might be the hardest one to recreate but this one is all about thinking outside the box. If you know there is a certain candle that was burned often in your house or a carpet freshener look into buying those and having them in your room. (Candles might be a fire hazard so you might want to look into getting a candle warmer, Amazon has some great ones!) Maybe your mom always baked apple pies, there are plenty of candle stores that would have similar scents, go to the store take some time sniffing out which one is the closest. If you can’t find that maybe grab a scent that reminds you of a happy memory such as going to the beach with the family. Again, this one isn’t the easiest but it’s all about thinking outside of the box and getting creative!
This is another one that you might need to think outside of the box about. Unless you want to go to the extreme and record sounds from your house and play it at all times in your dorm, having the “sounds of homes” might be hard. The first and probably best way to feel at home is to call your family. Sometimes just hearing a voice rather than a text can help with the homesick feeling. Plan a time every week or every couple weeks that you can do a family call. Maybe plan a skype call over dinner time so you can be at family dinner! Technology is so advanced nowadays and makes being away from home not so bad! Finding soothing sounds or playing music that inspires your or makes you feel good quietly can help also. You’ll want to run this by your roommate, and if it bothers them grab a pair of headphones!
College food just doesn’t have the same taste as a good home cooked meal. If you can, try to convince your mom or dad to cook you some meals that can be refrigerated. If not that try to learn a special recipe of theirs that (if you have access to a kitchen) you can cook on a night that you’re feeling extra homesick. This might also be a fun way to get to know other people on your floor. Host a “home cooked meal” night and everyone can prepare a dish that they grew up with. Another way to get that homey feeling with food is to buy a certain snack that maybe you always had at your house. This could be anything, it could even be a junk food like oreos or doritos, sometimes just keeping that around to snack on every so often can make you feel a lot homier than you realize.
This might be the easiest and most fun to do! Colors can affect the way you think and feel. When picking the way you want to design your room pay attention to the effects the colors might have on you. Below is an image from VividPaintingLLC.com that shows different colors and the mood that is often associated with them.
Another fun way to bring the “homey” feeling with sight is to print pictures out of your family, friends, and different memories. You can print pictures of anything that makes you happy! This may sound crazy but even printing out pictures of pets and your house will help you to feel more at home. There are also thousands of creative ways to hang these up. You can hang them on a line with lights, make a collage, put them in frames, hang them on a memory board, etc. The possibilities of this are endless!
Going to college is an exciting time in your life. You are opening a brand new chapter of your life and you’re going to be experiencing so many new things. Don’t let homesickness pull you back from enjoying it! Use these creative ways to turn your dorm room into your own little safe haven and bring that “homey” feeling to college.