Others feel homesick too

By Kaitlyn McMillan | Contributor

In the months leading up the what I liked to refer to as the “big move,” questions such as “Are you excited?” and “Are you ready?” were hurled at me left and right. I would smile and nod my head without saying much, because on the inside I was experiencing an increasing sense of dread.

Upon moving away from home, I heard these same statements over and over again. People won’t hesitate to tell you what a big change it is, or how your first semester is always the worst. Hearing these types of statements repeatedly for an extended period of time becomes tiring, and after a while you stop listening to what everyone has to say.

Throughout the end of my senior year of high school and into summer months, I would push the impending future out of my mind as much as possible, but yet, it always lingered. I had a great summer, spending as much time as I could with my family, my incredibly supportive boyfriend and my close friends, knowing that my time with them was limited.

There is one catch to this story though, one that has made me experience especially difficult. Like millions of people in our world today, I struggle with anxiety and depression. It cripples how you live your day-to-day life, ruins things that are most important to you and makes big changes, such as the transition into college, excruciatingly hard.

At first everything was OK. Sure, I missed my home, family and my boyfriend but I knew that I would be returning home soon, and that everything would be fine. But, this period of optimism came and went. It seemed as though my world came crashing down on top of me soon after, and I was hit with thoughts and emotions that I simply just didn’t understand.

A study done by HAP.org shows that around 30 percent of first-year college students experience low-level homesickness, but a staggering 69 percent experience severe cases of overwhelming homesickness. Unfortunately, I am among that 69 percent.

I’m writing this column in hopes of providing comfort and solace to those of you who may struggle with the same emotions I do. I understand the fear of losing people you had to leave behind. I understand missing the familiarity of being home, being in a place where you’re confident in each next step you take. I understand that it may feel like it will never get better, and most importantly, I understand having to live in fear of the future.

Despite the storm and the path that may seem never ending, I hope to emerge a stronger person and pass what I’m learning on to those who are to come after me. In this life, we all have a gift whose love never fails, and he goes by the name of Jesus.

While walking currently through this hard time, I have found peace within the Holy Spirit. I have learned about the power of prayer, having faith and the importance of trusting in God and his plan for each of us, whether it’s the one that we want or not.

Whether you’ve struggled with what trials this new life has brought or not, I hope that many of you realize that even though it feels like it, you are not alone. I hope you realize that you are surrounded by people who care and want to help—your professors, advisors, friends and family. Not to mention the many counseling and mental health services that Baylor provides. I hope that you realize that it’s OK to not understand what you’re going through and what you’re feeling, and above all else, I hope you realize that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if that light may seem very dim.

Kaitlyn is a freshman journalism major from San Antonio.