Illustration by Ren Rader
I have been in college for two and a half months now, and I’m still homesick.
Homesickness comes in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colors. As a matter of fact, it affects women and minorities the most, so being both a woman and a minority, it makes quite a bit of sense why I feel the way I do. I wrote a piece regarding homesickness about a month ago. I emphasized how talking to people and making friends is a great way to ease your symptoms of homesickness. However, I failed to mention how important it is to see and talk to the people you may be missing the most: family.
I was fortunate enough to go home over Fall Break a few weeks ago, and I cannot place enough emphasis on how much I benefited from it. However, let me backtrack just a bit.
Before I went home, my time here at Trinity was stressful, lonely and generally overwhelming. I say this because I had two roommates — both arrangements were very brief. I had some trouble making friends and finally, my grades were not exactly pretty to look at. I’ll spare you the gory details about what else was stressing me though. The bottom line is I was just that: stressed.
I was watching my roommates move in and out of the room, which only made me feel like there was something wrong with me, but in reality, both situations were out of my immediate control. I sat through many meals at Mabee surrounded by enormous friend groups while I was alone. All the while, I was receiving graded papers back with subpar grades on them. I felt like a pot of water seconds away from boiling over.
Then, the Thursday before Fall Break, my mom called me and told me to start packing a bag because I was going home for the weekend. I was filled with conflicting emotions because on the one hand, I wanted so desperately to go home and sleep in my own bed again, but on the other hand, I was afraid that if I went home, I wouldn’t want to come back. I ended up going home, and I saw my cats in person again. I was able to hug my mom, my dad and my brother. I even tasted my mom’s home-cooked potato, egg and bacon tacos the very next morning. I was happy to go home, to say the least. It also really hurt me to leave again, but I got what I needed.
Going home in the midst of my homesickness changed everything for me. I found my lost motivation, and college became new, exciting and shiny again. I have always wanted to learn more about everything, but I was feeling so lost that I was losing my drive to learn. I felt whole again because I was able to go back to my roots in the Rio Grande Valley.
My family places a strong emphasis on education and shaping the future into whatever you want it to be. This idea is stitched into my heart, but I just needed to hear it again in person. My family reminded me why I chose to go to college and why I have been working so hard to make my future as promising as it can be.
I still miss home, and I can’t wait to go back. However, the difference between then and now is that my homesickness no longer rules me. By going home, I was reminded that I am part of something that’s so much bigger than I am, and neither my education nor my family will ever stop being important to me. My only mistake was not realizing just how close these two are related.
I feel homesick but happy. I miss my family daily, but they are all a phone call away. The work I do now is what will make my future so special. Going home for the weekend changed absolutely everything for me. It might not be so easy to just hop in a car and go home for everyone, but if you are feeling the way I was, carrying a piece of home with you or spending the weekend with your chosen family may be an easier alternative. Otherwise, going home can change everything for you too.