UMW students experience more homesickness than usual this semester
By SHAWNYA PETERSON
As the weather grows colder and the fall semester moves forward, a new year of students are settling in to the rhythm of new friends, classes and college life, while the first stirrings of holiday cheer are in the air. For many students, the stretch between fall break and the Thanksgiving holiday can spark feelings of homesickness as they are faced with the longest stretch so far this year without a chance to see their families.
The build-up to the winter holidays can bring up feelings of nostalgia and loneliness, just as many classes are ramping up in preparation of Finals Week in December.
“Since my birthday is in between Thanksgiving and Christmas which is the most critical time for finals I know I’ll be distracted and stressed,” said sophomore philosophy major Sarah Mahmud. “I’m just going to want to go home to relax and be in a holiday mood.”
While freshman students are often under the most pressure as they transition to life away at school without the support of their closest family members, many upperclassmen with cars have the freedom to come and go as they please—an independence not available to new students.
Madeleine McCullough, sophomore history major, and Mahmud, who both recently returned from trips home, had differing perspectives on their respective visits.
“It was great to see my family,” McCullough said. “But it would be nice if I was a little closer so the option of going home didn’t mean a three hour car ride.”
Regardless of the positives of returning home for the weekend, the freedom to visit your family at will can often be a double-edged sword.
“Each time I go home, it gets harder to leave,” Mahmud said. Freshmen are not the only students feeling the pressure.
“This fall has been okay, a little disorienting. I felt better adjusted last year,” Mahmud said. She admitted that coming back to UMW after summer break was difficult. “Coming back after being home is so weird. I wasn’t homesick that often [this time] freshman year; this year, I’ve been even more homesick.”
Despite the potential stress of isolation, the fleeting opportunities for students to spend time with their families make those moments all the more special.
“There have been less opportunities for me to go home because I’ve had a lot more work,” said freshman Savannah Lascola. “But it just makes me look forward to seeing [my family] on Thanksgiving and Christmas even more.”
Students also expressed how the transition to UMW was made easier by surrounding herself in a supportive and comforting atmosphere.
“I call my mom, and text her all the time,” Lascola said. “I’ve made quite a few friends, and I really love the environment so it easily felt like home.”
Upperclassmen agreed on the importance of searching for the positives when in need of support. McCullough said, “hanging out with friends always helps [when I’m homesick].” Mahmud agreed, saying, “I try to enjoy my time here. Going home makes me want to stay.”