Homesickness. It happens to the best of us. I remember thinking about going away to college before coming to Penn. I was extremely scared, mostly because I was moving to a completely different country and as an only child it felt unnatural to be so far away from my parents.
However, my first few weeks at Penn were very overwhelming—in a good way! I was making tons of friends, exploring new places, and learning about things that actually interested me. Don’t get me wrong, I did shed a couple of tears when I said goodbye to my parents, but I was doing so many new things that I put missing home into the back of my mind for some time.
Then my first midterm season came around the corner, to finish it off I got sick due to the change of temperature and my laundry had been piling up for some time. All I wanted was to bundle up in my room and have my mom bring me some homemade food.
Even though it was a sucky week, it led to a good thing, I bonded with my friends. They had noticed that I was a little down and brought some delicious freshly baked insomnia cookies to my room (which were founded by a graduate of the College of Arts & Sciences, by the way). It led to genuine conversations with them and I got to know them better. It also helped me see that even though it can seem that people have it all together when you’re struggling, your friends can be going through tough times too. It was nice to know that even though I was away from my family, I had a new family away from home.
Other than having friends as a great support system, it’s also super important to know that missing home or have a tough couple of weeks is not only completely normal, but also perfectly okay. Just make sure you’re in contact with your family or friends from back home and don’t be afraid to use some of the amazing resources that Penn offers, such as faculty and peer counseling.
- Fernanda B.