Press-Republican

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September 28, 2012

Homesickness common among new college students

College students experience homesickness

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Telling the student how lucky he or she is to be at college or how he or she should be feeling is not helpful, she noted. 

"Avoid the 'should' word," Shuttleworth said. 

As well, parents may also be reluctant to see a child leave home. However, said Portia Allie-Turco, another member of the college's counseling team, they mustn't let those feelings affect the student's college experience. 

"Don't guilt the kids," she said.

CONNECTIONS

The best way for students to get through an initial bout of homesickness, according to the counseling staff, is to form positive connections to their new environment. 

A good resource for SUNY Plattsburgh newcomers, Minck said, is the college's Housing and Residence Life, which plans game nights, discussions and other engaging programming. 

The college's counseling staff also recommends that new or homesick students reach out to their dorms' resident advisers, who are also students and can be helpful in introducing newcomers to peers and clubs on campus.

"Joining clubs is big," said Allie-Turco, who added that some students even start their own clubs. 

For Lewis, college got easier once she got to know her roommate, who was a returning student and able to show her the lay of the land. 

In addition, Lewis said, her discovery of video-chat technologies like Skype and Oovoo allowed her to feel close to her family without actually being with them. 

"That really helped because you can see them," she said of video-chatting with her parents and sister. 

And although there were definitely moments when she wanted to head back to Whitesboro, located in Oneida County, Lewis said, "I knew I didn't need to go home."

DEPRESSION

But while it may take some time for new students to develop a sense of belonging on campus, Moquin noted, it's also important to keep an eye out for signs that homesickness has turned into depression. 

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