Ask Deanie: The Homesick Blues

ask-deanie-sm.jpgThe “up and down” life of college students today is fascinating to watch. We all probably went through many of the same things our students are experiencing when we were 18 or 19 years old, but the feelings we had back then are gone from our memory bank. Left are only the visions of “the good times.” Little do we remember vividly about the sad times, the upset times, the “feeling blue” times.

Reality check

Back in August, most first-year students were eager to leave home and head for the “carefree” life of a college student. By mid-October, the realities of going to class, grades, tests, making new friends, missing old friends, being on one’s own, getting along with a roommate, balancing a checkbook and assuming responsibility for one’s actions begin to set in. All of a sudden, feelings of homesickness may crowd out the blissfulness of being in college. Feelings for family, for home, for the security and familiarity of one’s own bedroom can cause even the brightest, most confident student to have moments of uncertainty.

This too shall pass

Of course, you will never see these feelings of homesickness mentioned in any college or university recruitment literature, but they are just as normal and common for first-year college students to experience as studying all night for a test, seeing a tutor in the LEC, catching a cold, and ordering pizza late at night in the residence hall. For the most part, these feelings will pass. Be encouraging and reassuring if your student calls and seems overly homesick – they will usually be able to shake off this period of uncertainty.

Talk it out

Should the problem persist – and if it seems to be affecting their class work, eating habits, and out-of-classroom activities – SMU campus resources are available. RAs and hall directors are always on the front line and available for students and/or parents with questions and concerns. The Chaplain’s Office is very good at helping students regain their interest and enthusiasm for college life, as is SMU’s Counseling and Psychiatric Services. CAPS remains SMU’s primary resource for students’ psychological and emotional well-being – and parents continue to be the center’s No. 1 referral source.

Please know that SMU is here for your student as are you as a parent. To use a sports metaphor, what a “game-winning” combination that can be!

Question for Deanie? Ask Deanie at or 214-768-4797.