Freshmen coping with their home away from home

By Kasey Minnick
November 11, 2005

Shane Evans

Classes have been up and running since Aug. 29. That is approximately five weeks of classes, eating in the cafeteria or Jazzman’s, making friends and sleeping in those not-so-comfy beds in dorm rooms; basically living the college life. For the freshmen, this is a whole new experience for them. There are plenty of new-comers that are taking to the life easily, but there are the few students who are battling with homesickness.

Homesickness is a normal response to separation from people, places and things that give a person a sense of belonging. It is very important to know that homesickness is normal. It does pass, and there are some things you can do that may help you get through some of those sad and lonely feelings.

According to Kallie Parkinson Coles, director of counseling services, it is not unusual for students to be experiencing this feeling. “One of the challenges of adjustment is conquering feelings of homesickness and longing for the familiarity of home where family and friends are located. While anxious feelings are common, each student is a unique individual and so counselors will work with each student to help him or her explore his or her feelings and develop possible solutions to situations and issues of concern,” Coles said.

Associate Director of Counseling Services Sara T. Maggitti spoke of one program they recently featured. “On Oct. 6 was national depression screening day and our counseling service had an outreach program on campus to test students for depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder. The service screened 55 students and 26 of these students reported symptoms suggesting a problem with anxiety and stress as being a significant and persistent problem for them,” Maggitti said.

Chris Hyson, director of health and wellness education, explained ways to help students on campus to deal with their anxiety. “If a student comes to the Office of Health and Wellness Education with anxiety concerns, we would talk about their thoughts and feelings, what might be going on in their life and available resources to them, particularly Counseling Services. I would also offer to contact Counseling Services or walk them over to their office to establish an appointment, or at the minimum, provide them with a phone number and email addresses if they prefer to contact them on their own,” Hyson said.

However, there are freshmen that do not feel one ounce of homesickness. “I love being away from home because I feel I can organize myself and I feel more responsible about my own decisions. I miss my friends at home the most, but at least I can contact them over the internet and my cell phone,” Anna Scholl, a freshman English and communication major, said.

Justin Coscia, a freshman, said, “I feel fine about being here. It is when I go home and none of my friends are there. That’s when I feel homesick.”

There are so many freshmen that do not feel homesick, but a large number go home on the weekends. “A lot of freshmen go home because they are bored and don’t know what is going on around campus. They need to get to know upperclassmen and hang-out at their apartments or houses,” Samantha Falzone, a freshman mathematics major, said.

Mike Roche, a freshman mathematics major, said, “It isn’t like Cabrini is in the heart of the city where we could just walk and go to the movies or for something to eat. If we were allowed to have cars on campus, more freshmen would stay.”

For the freshmen who are brought down by homesickness, it will pass with time. Surround yourself with people you enjoy, be involved and have fun. If you are still experiencing your anxiety in the months to come, there will be a Health Hut focusing on stress management the weeks of Dec. 5 and 12. Don’t be ashamed to get guidance.

Loquitur welcomes your comments on this story. Please send your comments to: The editors will review your points each week and make corrections if warranted.

Posted to the web by Matt Schill

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Kasey Minnick

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