4 Ways to Beat Homesickness When Away From Home for the First Time

How to Make Boarding School Feel Like Home

It’s easy to miss the familiarity of home when flying the coop for the first time. Here are four ways to make your new school a home away from home.

We get it. The thought of leaving a place that is familiar is overwhelming and may be the biggest reason you’re apprehensive about boarding school. But much like any fear in life, identifying it and addressing it will help you take its power away. Here are four ways to beat homesickness…and get back to enjoying the adventure you’re on.

We know how you’re feeling, and we can assure you—it’s totally normal. The good news is that you’re getting it out of the way before college hits! The other good news is that you can be prepared. For many people, anticipating something is actually way harder than going through it. (Think about what it was like to go to the doctor and get a shot as a kid!) Knowing that you may feel a little sad or out of place, you can devise a plan to make things familiar and comfortable.

Bring along photos or keepsakes that remind you of friends and family. Decorate your dorm room with things that make it feel more like home. Start a blog to keep track of your adventures and let your loved ones be a part of them. Make dates to video chat or a good ol’ fashioned phone call — or hey, even write a letter!

Don’t worry, we don’t mean actual homework. We mean doing some research on what awesome things to expect once you get to school. Excitement for what’s to come can help tame some of that anxious anticipation you’re experiencing. Plus, if you familiarize yourself with the campus and all it has to offer, you can spend less time worrying about getting lost and more time getting involved.

“The great part about boarding school campuses is that they’re designed to be inclusive and make you feel comfortable.”

Whatever you’re most excited about, make a plan to try it out as soon as you set foot on campus. Once you know where you’ll be and what you can do there, you can create little rituals that help you feel more at home. The great part about boarding school campuses is that they’re designed to be inclusive and make you feel comfortable. It’ll only take a few days to start to feel like home!

Sure, Facetime and Skype will help beat those “I miss mom” blues, but you should also use technology to prepare! Ask schools for ways to get in contact with future classmates or current students. Teens who have already spent time at your prospective school can help answer any questions you may have in an honest, candid and way-cooler-than-an-adult-could kind of way.

Many schools also have ways to connect you with your areas of passion and interest. If you’re attending boarding school to pursue ballet or are a STEAM whiz, then you can bet there are a few other people just like you! There is great comfort in familiarity, and even though the surroundings may look different, if you’re crazy about the same things then you’ll feel like you’re exactly where you belong.

Perhaps one of the most amazing things about boarding schools are the resources they provide. From the world-class academics to professional-level extracurricular activities, boarding schools take, well, everything seriously. That is especially true when it comes to making students happy, healthy and comfortable. There are physical and mental health professionals — and, of course, a whole new community of peers — who are always available to ensure that you’re adjusting to your new normal.

Whether you just want to talk to someone once or twice or think you’d like a more consistent conversation about your adjustment, the school is there to help. Plus, your fellow students are all familiar with the way it feels to leave home and can offer what worked for them to overcome their homesickness.

Find out what real boarding school students  want you to know about the boarding school experience — or check out what boarding school is really like (#IRL) on our ‘gram.