A freshman college student has taken to social media to share the “saddest part” about entering this new phase in her life.
Chloe Vanberkel (@chloevanberkel), a second-semester freshman at John Madison University, posted a GRWM video in which she discloses what she believes to be the saddest, most surprising part about moving away.
“So before college, this was something I never had even, like, thought about or considered. I honestly didn’t even think about it until, like, the third of fourth time probably that I came back home from college,” she begins. “I don’t know if this is something that only I kind of realize or other people realize too, but the worst part about college is, like, your home.”
“Like, going back home, where you’re from never really feels like your home again. If that makes sense,” she adds.
While your house is still “where your family is” and “where your friends you grew up with” are, Chloe says, it never quite feels the same after the first time you leave for college. Suddenly, what used to be the only place you ever felt “secure in your life” no longer holds that same weight.
“And I feel like once you go to college, you find a new sense of, like, home in another place. Like, friends in another place,” she explains. “Like, now you don’t have only one place you’ve ever known. Like, there’s somewhere else that you feel secure being at.”
This realization hit Chloe during spring break when she couldn’t understand why she didn’t feel totally comfortable.
“It’s hard because as much as I feel homesick when I’m at school, then I come home and I feel, like, school sick. I miss everything like that,” she says.
In a 2016 study, Tammy English, a professor in the Psychology department at Washington University in St. Louis, measured “homesickness, emotional experience, and adjustment” among 174 undergraduate students during their first year of college. Each student completed “at least four weekly reports” during the first 10 weeks of the school year. English found that, to Chloe’s point, 94% of students reported at least some homesickness during their first term, though despite its initial pervasiveness, it “tended to decline” and “will likely fade over time.”
It’s also worth noting that students with greater homesickness found that it did not interfere with their academic performance; “slightly lower levels of academic satisfaction and GPAs were reported for students whose homesickness “dissipated more quickly.”
Chloe ends her video with advice for high school seniors getting ready for college.
“Enjoy your last few months at home and everything, because it’s gonna feel kind of different I feel, like, when you come back,” she says. “I don’t know why, it just does.”
“I think j it depends on the person tbh. When I go home I FEEL home, especially during the summer”
TikTok users are getting reflective in Chloe’s comments. It seems she’s not the only one who’s felt different back home. On the other hand, however, some users argue that going off to college strengthens their bond to home even more.
“it feels like everything at home has changed,” @mariasaavedraa_ wrote.
“Honestly ever since I went to college, It makes me love my home even more. I love college but being in my hometown makes me so happy,” @juliannaxroax said.
“I think j it depends on the person tbh. When I go home I FEEL home, especially during the summer.” @grace_mcdonalddd2 shared.
As Chloe notes, while you may experience an initial feeling of homesickness when you go off to college, you’ll likely — and eventually — find comfort in a new place with new people. This feeling, while bittersweet, seems to be indicative of growing up and branching out.
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