We are beginning to hit the half-way mark of the semester and I think we are all starting to feel it in one way or another—Homesickness. Everyone experiences this emotion differently and we all cope with it in our own way. To explore this idea a little deeper, I decided to open up this notion of “homesickness” to my cohort and questioned what they missed most about home and also how they personally coped. The answers I received were honest and exemplified the belief that even though we come from all walks of life, we are sharing a common experience and we are all in this together.
Ashlea Palafox is originally from Fort Worth, Texas. She confessed that the hardest part about coming to Chicago to pursue her dream was being away from her family while simultaneously being in a long-distance relationship. She misses the warm Texas sun and her mother’s cooking even more. However, when stuck in this rut of being homesick, she often utilizes guided imagery to “travel” home to Texas whenever she gets the chance. She also greatly relies on technology to keep in touch with her family and friends back home. She attempts to splurge on TexMex whenever she gets the chance, and she often leans on her fellow cohort for support.
Patrick Justin is originally from Plant City, Florida. When asked about missing home, Patrick stated that the hardest part was not physically being present within the lives of his family and friends. “Not being able to just hop in my car, drive for twenty minutes and see my mom and nieces…” Patrick explained. Keeping in touch with people is very important to Patrick, and he has begun to realize that relationships and communication are a huge responsibility. However, while he is here in Chicago, he is attempting to make the most of everything by remaining as active as possible through exploring the city, dancing, teaching, and spending time with his new found sisters (our cohort).
Brigitte Steinken is originally from Mesa, Arizona. Brigitte divulged that choosing what she missed most about home was difficult for her. As much as she is excited to see the seasons change here in Chicago, she misses the beautiful Sonoran desert and its warm sunny weather. She misses the familiar wildlife (as in scorpions!) and the colorful mountains that make up the skyline. Most of all, she misses her parents and being able to make the short drive for her mom’s homemade enchiladas or a hockey game with her dad. Her best method of coping when missing home is to skype her parents and best friend at least once a week. She also tries to fit in a modern dance class whenever she can; dancing is her release and provides her with a feeling of home wherever she is.
I, personally, miss a great deal about home even though I am one of the very few who traveled less than 500 miles to get here. I agree with most of my cohort that I miss my family the most, especially my niece and nephews who don’t completely comprehend where I’ve been lately. This has been one of the hardest parts for me to deal with. I miss family parties, my boyfriend, childhood friends, Michigan State football games, and my cats. However, I am so thankful for technology and also for the Megabus and Amtrak for providing me with a way to travel home since I do not have a car! Even though each of us are experiencing this feeling of being “homesick” in different ways—may it be missing our families, pets, mom’s cooking, or even the feeling of sleeping in our own beds; we all have our own individual way of coping. Remember that there is no ONE way that you should be experiencing “homesickness” and there is no ONE way that you should be coping. Everyone is different and, in the end, the most important thing to remember when in a situation like grad school is that we have each other to lean on for support throughout the journey.
We are beginning to hit the half-way mark of the semester and I think we are all starting to feel it in one way or another—Homesickness. Everyone experiences this emotion …