Dealing with homesickness
It is fairly common for first-year students to experience homesickness. The University of Illinois is a big campus, and it can be a difficult adjustment for students, especially if they are coming from a smaller community. There are a variety of reasons your student may be feeling homesick. Classes which are much more rigorous than most students' high school classes can seem overwhelming at first; it may take some students more time to make friends, which can lead to loneliness; before students get involved they can feel like they do not have a support network; and many students simply miss the comfort and familiarity of their family and friends.
Whatever the reason your student is experiencing homesickness, the University has resources to help him or her work through their struggle.
110 Turner Student Services Building
610 E John Street
The Counseling Center offers appointments for students who are dealing with a variety of struggles, including homesickness. If your student wants to make a first-time appointment, they need to call the morning of the day they would like to come in. The office open at 7:50 am, Monday - Friday. Encourage your student to get in touch with the professional at the Counseling Center to work through some of their anxieties.
If your student is living in a Residence Hall, their floor will have a live-in Resident Advisor. These folks are upperclassmen who are there to provide support and guidance for your student. Each Resident Hall also has a Resident Director who is also able to help your student deal with feelings of loneliness and homesickness. They also know a lot about campus, so they can help your student find a place to get plugged in to feel more involved.
Your student's academic advisor is primarily there to help your student with the academic portion of their college career, so your student should communicate with his or her advisor if they are overwhelmed by their course load. Thee earlier advisors know that a student is having trouble, the sooner they can help them overcome it.
Office of the Dean of Students (ODOS)
300 Turner Student Services Building
610 E John Street
The Office of the Dean of Students has staff members who serve as the Dean on Duty. These staff members are experts at guiding your student through the issues they may be facing. They have extensive knowledge of the campus, so they can help your student identify interest areas and can recommend groups or organiazations so your student begins to feel like part of the University community. As your student gets involved, their support network will grow, and their feelings of homesickness will begin to subside.
We hope these resources are helpful to your student. Remember, transitioning to college is a process, and its normal for your student to go through a period of homesickness and grief. As they get to know more people on campus, they will gain confidence and will begin to feel more confortable in their new environment. It will take time, so your support and patience are invaluable to their adjustment. While we do provide a ton of resources for your student, you will always be one of the key supports in your student's life!
If you have questions or would like more information about the resources listed above, contact the Illini Union Parent Programs Office at (217) 333-7063 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.