Thinking about college? And how excited you are about moving and living independently? Let's
talk about homesickness. Adjusting to a college workload and moving away from home is very
difficult. A lot of college students don’t have the luxury of heading home whenever they want, so when you’re really missing home, what do you do?
A Brien McMahon alumni is helping us, high school students, see the other side of being a
freshman college student. Erika Folgar, 18, is now attending her first year at Vassar College in
New York. Although she is living in housing there and New York is only an hour drive, she can’t
always come home every weekend. She was kind enough to let us know by answering some
questions about how she deals with homesickness and how college is going so far.
How has your transition been moving from your home to a small college?
A: I feel like leaving home to move to college, big or small, can be a difficult transition. Leaving
what you’ve known for your whole life to dive into a new scene of academia can be really
challenging. However it wasn’t my courses I was worried about, I was most nervous about
making friends. I wasn’t ready to leave my friends from Norwalk. I attended a pre-orientation
where more than 60 other students and I spent an entire week finding our way around campus
and getting to know each other, before other students came onto campus.
When was the first time you actually felt homesick?
A: I felt homesick as soon as my mom and cousin left campus on move in day. My roommate
hadn’t arrived yet, and wasn’t going for another week. I didn’t know my little dorm room could
feel so big when it was just me alone in it. I couldn’t go back to Norwalk every weekend because
it costs too much money and wouldn’t have helped me adjust. I just reminded myself that if I
stayed in my dorm and cried, I would miss out on an orientation event where I could make
friends. So, I put on a smile and left my room. I’d say I miss my family a lot more than home
itself, so I call my family every week and that helps a lot.
How are you adjusting to the school?
A: Vassar is a pretty unique place. I thought I wouldn’t fit in because it is labeled as an artsy,
super liberal college, and I don’t have an artistic bone in my body. But after finding the right
people, Vassar feels like a second home. Everyone I’ve met there has been really accepting,
supportive, and pushing me to do my best. The small size of the school definitely helps because
whenever I go, I always see a familiar face and feel comfortable.
Why did you choose Vassar?
A: I visited Vassar after I got in through an overnight program. Those few days on campus
showed me what a great, tight-knit community Vassar is. That and the generous financial aid
package were what made me decide on Vassar.
Did you ever think of going somewhere farther than New York for school?
A: Yes! I wanted to go somewhere really different, anywhere but Connecticut. Poughkeepsie,
NY obviously isn’t CT but appearance wise it’s pretty similar, which is sometimes disappointing.
What held me back was mainly the cost for traveling back and forth from home to school and
financial aid. Plus probably a little bit of fear that I’d hate being in a completely different city that
was so far away and wouldn’t be able to go home because it’d be a really long train or plane
What is homesickness?
Homesickness basically is a feeling of longing for one's home during a period of absence from
it. Meaning that however infrequent your thoughts are, you can still be considered “homesick.”
According to the oldest and largest survey of college freshmen, 66% of first year students report
feeling lonely or homesick.
If in the near future you find yourself missing home more than usual, know that this is very
normal and everyone may go through it as some point. It’s part of life and getting through it may
be difficult but it’s all about adjusting.