The Gustavian Weekly

How to combat student homesickness | The Gustavian Weekly

By Anh Tran - Staff Writer | September 21, 2018 | Variety

Now that it is the third week of the school year, some Gusties have yet to feel the rush of their academic work and co-curricular activities, but others already are feeling the pangs of homesickness.

Born and raised in Saint Paul, Minn., Sophomore Quincy Yangh often feels homesick whenever he has time to relax and reflect, but he has turned homesickness into positive energy and motivation for his study and work at Gustavus. 

“I feel homesick during weekends and sometimes at night, when I get to relax. So it’s mainly when I’m on campus and not doing homework and important stuff,” Yangh shared. According to Yangh, he misses his parents most whenever he thinks about home.

Growing up in a Hmong community, Yangh loves the culture’s food and language and misses them whenever he thinks about home.

What reminds Yangh of home most on campus has been the Diversity Center, where he hangs out with students from diverse backgrounds and finds Gusties who speak the same language as he does.

Yangh also decorates his room with pictures of his home and family, so he always has “a sense of home in his room,” as he termed it.

Yangh copes with homesickness by constantly reminding himself of his motives and goals, why he is here, and not home.

“I set my emotions aside and look at my path ahead. I also get involved with a lot of work on campus, like a distraction. I try to make Gustavus a second home for myself,” Yangh said.

Another Gustie who shared her homesickness story is Sophomore Natalie Johnson, a music major who lives 20 minutes away from Chicago. She tends to feel homesick at night, when she is in her bed and her emotions strike. 

According to Johnson, what she misses most about home is her younger brother and her cats.

“I really miss my littlest brother, Joseph, who is 14 going on 15. He pretends like he doesn’t like me, but he does. When I came home this last summer, I accidentally fell asleep and he checked on me every hour until I was awake,” Johnson said.

Every time Johnson wakes up and feels the warm blanket at her feet, she thinks her cat is there, as a habit, but then she realizes that it is not. 

Even such a little thing as the warmth from her blanket reminds Johnson of her cat and her home.

Johnson’s advice for Gusties who are homesick is: “If you don’t feel at home, don’t feel like you have to. Give yourself time to go through and accept your emotions. Also, keep little pieces of home with you, like small objects, pictures, or even stickers from your city.”

Last but not least, Senior Financial Economics major Bethel Seyoum offers her homesickness story from an international student’s perspective.

“I set my emotions aside and look at my path ahead. I also get involved with a lot of work on campus.”

-Sophomore Quincy Yangh

Seyoum is from Ethiopia, which is a 20+ hour flight from Minnesota.

What Seyoum misses the most about her home is her family, her friends, and the food.

“Surprisingly, I don’t remember feeling homesick in my first year. However, I remember feeling really homesick in the beginning of my sophomore year after visiting my family and friends over the summer in Ethiopia,” Seyoum said.

After her first year away from home, Seyoum better understood the value of family and friendship and treasured these relationships.What has made Seyoum feel at home at Gustavus is the community’s friendliness and open-mindedness.

  “My friends, professors, staff workers, and my host parents have all made me feel like i’m at home,” Seyoum said.

   The senior shares her advice for Gusties, especially international Gusties who are dealing with homesickness.

    “It’s okay to feel homesick, as most of us do. It’s human nature. You should give yourself the permission to feel sad and miss those who you love. They are a part of you and so is homesickness. Acknowledging it and looking for a better way to cope with it could bring better results. One approach that I have found very effective after three years away from home is sharing my feelings with my friends, advisors, or counselors. It helps a lot when you have someone to talk to and to listen to your concerns.”

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