Student Life

Help Your Student Combat Homesickness With These 5 Items

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By: Madison White, Uloop

For some students, homesickness is just a flicker in the back of their mind. For other students, it can hit even harder than the flu.

Although it may be inevitable, there are a few things you may want to encourage your student to take with them that can ease the pain of being far away. Some of these objects are obvious things, others are things you may never have thought to bring along. Of course, homesickness is different for every student and there is no best way to prepare for it.

Even if we can’t totally prevent it, here are five things for your student to bring along that might ease the pain.

1. Pictures from home

As someone who moves about every six months (and sometimes overseas), I know a thing or two about downsizing. I also know a thing or two about homesickness. If your student is heading off to college for the first time, they may think they’re immune to homesickness because they’ll be clouded with excitement and nervousness. This will last for a while, but inevitably they will start to miss home at least a little.

For me, pictures are by far one of the best ways to feel less alone. They’re also small and flat which makes them ideal for moving because they don’t take up huge amounts of space. Plus, pictures make easy decorations. You can hang them on walls or set them on a desk. They make a space seem instantly less empty and more inviting. A comfortable space is exactly what your student needs when moving somewhere new. 

2. Laundry detergent

This is something that many people don’t think about when moving to a new place. Something that can easily make a place feel foreign is if it smells foreign, whether it be a lived-in dorm room or a brand new apartment. While they definitely can’t bottle up the scent of your house and take it with them, they can do some things to make it smell at least kind of similar.

Sending them with a little of the laundry detergent you use at home will make them feel a little less far away (that is, if they’re washing their clothes on a regular basis). You can also send scented plug-ins if you use those. Just be careful not to send any candles as those are usually forbidden in dorm rooms.

3. An old pillow or blanket

A new room means all new bedding, right? Wrong! A completely new bed can be very difficult to adjust to and even more difficult to sleep on. When moving, you want at least one comfort item that they can snuggle with while they’re away. This could be anything soft like an old pillow, a comfy blanket, or even a trusty stuffed animal.

It may seem lame at first, but your student may be surprised at how many students bring along items like this, and rightfully so! They’re essential to combatting homesickness.

4. A favorite book

Whether your student is the bookish type or not, they probably have at least one book they’re rather fond of. Some popular ones might be the Harry Potter series or Oh, the Places You’ll Go! For me especially, nothing is more comforting than words and stories that I know and love.

While I don’t often buy and bring many books with me (remember, libraries are a great resource), having one (or three) great books that bring me comfort are essential items. So whether it’s a beloved children’s book, a beautiful collection of poetry, or a popular series, make sure they grab a copy and bring it with them.

5. Something with sentimental value

This could really be anything because it varies so much from person to person. For me, it’s usually hand-written notes and special pens. I often ask people to buy me nice pens for holidays because then I think about them whenever I use it.

For your student, it could be anything that holds special value. Maybe it’s a souvenir they picked up from a family vacation. Maybe it’s a necklace that was gifted to them by their grandmother. Maybe it’s a stuffed animal they’ve had since they were a child. Even if this object doesn’t have any real functional value, it will definitely hold a sentimental one.

Remember that the best way to combat homesickness is by making connections with their new home. Though it might be difficult to let your student go out into the world, try not to keep pulling them into the past. You should be supportive and helpful, of course, but you should also encourage them to engage in their new environment by making new friends, joining clubs, and going to school events. It’s hard for almost everyone to leave home, but the growing pains are often necessary.

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