Helping your student through homesickness

By Lucy Ewing

Colleges have programs in place to welcome new students, but many first years will still experience homesickness. There are times of the day and family traditions that tug at a freshman’s heart. And there is the effort of making new friends, perhaps the biggest challenge of all.

Students I spoke with recalled missing the smell of waffles, eggs and bacon every morning, or the big Sunday dinner. They missed the comfort of home: “Beds, chairs, and really all furniture at college are pretty uncomfortable!” one student said. (Bargain bungee chairs are not the same as the family sofa.) They missed family and friends and pets, especially at night. That’s when you may get those wistful phone calls.

Just hearing a parent or sibling’s voice can improve a student’s mood and mindset. However, some upperclassmen caution that parents and freshmen calling each other too often can slow the acclimation to campus.

So, too, if campus is close to home, parents might be tempted to offer refuge. This is the time when you remember that your role is changing. The parent in you wants to jump in the car and rush to make things better; instead, think about how you can serve as a coach and advisor to help your student beat the homesickness blues.

Remembers one grad: “My mom and I are really close, and in the beginning I really wanted to go home over the weekends. My mom gently suggested that it would be better in the long run if I stuck it out at school.”

Social engagement is key to your student gaining confidence and a sense of belonging. These suggestions were offered by students who have been there and made it through — share them with your freshman.

  • Go to the activity fair or tables set up around campus and join one or two groups.
  • Attend the residence hall movie nights and outdoor hikes planned by your Resident Advisors. “Surround yourself with positive people and energy.”
  • Head to the gym or the dance studio to stretch and work out. “This is very therapeutic.”
  • Attend a church service on campus. Join a choir and sing!
  • Take a shopping trip to the mall with some friends. “We became friends with the clerks at the best yogurt shop in town!”
  • Share care packages from home with everybody. “It usually benefits everyone!”
  • Find a group of people that remind you of your home friends. “If you trust your friends and know they genuinely have your best interest at heart, you will feel comfortable on campus.”
  • Say yes to most invitations in the beginning. “There were many times when I would have rather said ‘no thanks’ to walking to class or getting a meal with new classmates, but if I had I would have missed out on meeting some of my dearest friends.”

The experience of confronting homesickness while settling in at college teaches your student how to negotiate all kinds of new territory.

How do you know when your student has settled in? When the next call you receive sets you at ease — a good sign that your student is working things out for herself. How does your student know the homesickness hump has been hurdled? “I knew I was over my homesickness,” one upperclassman said, “when going back to campus meant going home.”

Lucy Ewing is in her 17th year as a national board certified teacher with the Boulder Valley School District and has been recognized by the Impact on Education Foundation and Jared Polis Foundation. She mentors with the Friends School as well as the University of Colorado CUTeach program for students in science and engineering. Writing is a passion for Lucy. In addition to articles for UniversityParent, she is a Denver Post “Colorado Voices” columnist and a college essay tutor. Lucy is parent to two recent college graduates, and she and her husband love nothing more than visiting them on both coasts.

homesickness tip

Taken from an article on


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family cookout

Don’t forget about Family Weekend coming up September 26 & 27, 2014!

We look forward to seeing you for Family Weekend and it’s a great time to return to Belhaven to see your student.  The weekend is full of activities OR you can just hang out and cheer for the Belhaven Blazers in our first afternoon home football game.

For more information go to Family Weekend or register online today and let us know you plan to attend!

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We’re really excited about the new aerial video tour of the Belhaven Campus!  You can check it out here:

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Family Weekend


September 26 & 27, 2014

We look forward to seeing you for Family Weekend on Friday, September 26 and Saturday, September 27!  Family Weekend is a great time to return to Belhaven to see your student.  The weekend is full of activities OR you can just hang out and cheer for the Belhaven Blazers in our first afternoon home football game.

For more information go to Family Weekend or register online today and let us know you plan to attend!

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largest class 2018!



We’re excited to welcome the class of 2018, the largest freshmen class in the history of Belhaven! We can’t wait to get to know you and to see what God has planned for you!










Make sure you get connected and sign up for our Parent text alerts by texting BUParent to 95577.  We’ll send you important info and reminders so you can help your student stay on track!



Any questions, call us at 601-968-8865 or email us at!

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Exciting news!! Belhaven University now offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Art.  You can get the full story at!

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If your student will be living in the Residence Halls this coming academic year, check out the information the Office of Student Life just posted at  You can also view their most recent newsletter, which is filled with very important information for resident students and parents at New Resident Housing Info!


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Great news!

After two years of preparation, prayer, and millions of dollars raised to build and equip our science facilities, today the Mississippi Institute for Higher Learning Board (IHL) approved the opening of the Belhaven University School of Nursing.

My 90 second video shares the news. And below is enrollment information for you to forward to students who might be interested in enrolling in the first class this August.

There is a long list of people who have worked tirelessly to make this day possible – it has been a team effort. The heaviest academic challenges have been carried by Dan Fredericks, Lee Skinkle, Barbara Johnson, and Dennis Watts, and for their work I’m especially grateful.

“This is the Lord’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.” Psalm 118:23

Roger Parrott



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