Although homesickness at boarding school doesn’t happen to every single boarding school student, most do report being homesick at least once during their first year. There can be many reasons why a boarding student may feel homesick, but it’s important that students learn how to deal with it early on.
Feeling homesick is a natural feeling, especially when you are attending a boarding school for the first time and living away from your home, parents, and friends. Learning how to overcome homesickness at a younger age is a game changer once that student goes on to college. It is the ultimate college prep benefit!
Boarding School Staff Advice
Here is some helpful advice from our boarding life staff and boarding students on how to deal with homesickness while attending boarding school. Our boarding school staff are well-trained Boarding School TAC (Teach-Advise-Counsel) Mentors and they regularly monitor how boarding school students are feeling and handling this new way of life.
1. Prepare for It
You will likely feel homesick at some point, but the most important thing is how you deal with this emotion. Prepare yourself mentally when you leave home because the first week is going to be very new and perhaps overwhelming. Like everything, you will adapt. You will find friends. You will find your place and get comfortable. So our biggest advice is don’t give up, but to remain strong, positive, and open-minded.
2. Keep in Touch
We encourage our students to keep the lines of communication open with family and friends. Video chat is the best way to feel connected while apart. Happy, loving families that have strong connections make great boarding school families. And believe it or not, your connections to your family will probably grow even stronger when you’re living away from them. Here are more Boarding School Frequently Asked Questions by the North American Boarding School Initiative.
3. Be Active and Involved
We also recommend that students need to be active in the school community. It helps everyone have a sense of purpose and meaning. We recommend that all students be as involved in athletics and extracurricular activities as possible – without compromising their academic performance.
4. Talk with Us
We are here for you and we want to help – any time of the day. If you don’t tell us your sad, lonely or homesick how will we ever know?! We can help you find ways to get more involved, build more friendships, and will mentor you at our best with anything you may need help with.
5. Stick with It
About 70% of boarding school students say that boarding school has helped them develop self-discipline, maturity, independence, and the ability to think critically. All things that help prepare you for college, and for life. Like sleep-away camps in the summer, after the first day or two, you start to get involved, and that homesickness begins to fade. You’ll get to see your parents for events at the school, and of course, you go home on breaks and vacations.
Boarding Student Advice
We asked some of our boarding students at Admiral Farragut Academy for their advice on how to deal with homesickness at boarding school.
1. Speak Up
Boarding students said that whenever you feel homesick at boarding school to talk it out and seek help. Holding it in will just make it worse. They agree that it’s always helpful to seek the company of a good friend, go for a walk, or catch up with schoolwork.
2. Go to the Faculty and Staff
Our boarding students also said that having “nice and understanding staff” always helps them stay focused and positive throughout the academic year. Our faculty and staff go above and beyond to make sure our students are comfortable and enjoying their Farragut experience. They also plan trips to theme parks, the movies and mall, group dinners, camping excursions, community service events, and more.
3. Be Involved
Feeling lonely still? Find more hobbies. At Admiral Farragut Academy we almost have a club or organization for almost anything you can imagine from robotics to scuba to knitting!
4. Make it Home
Every boarding student should display personal photos of family and friends just as you would at home. Decorating your room makes it feel like “yours” and every student grows to love their room and their roommates. Don’t be discouraged when you first arrive to a bare room – trust us, within a week it will be looking more like home!
5. Family Dinners
So you miss “home-cooked” family dinners? Well at Admiral Farragut Academy, our food is made from scratch (even our salad dressing!) and we have waffle makers during breakfast and sandwich panini makers during lunch. It’s just like a bigger version of your kitchen at home and you get to enjoy all of this while talking with your friends or favorite boarding life staff mentor!
Listen to your favorite music. Music can change the whole vibe of your day so make sure it’s upbeat and positive!
7. Appreciate Your Surroundings
The one thing our boarders all agree about is that homesickness can be relieved by enjoying the sunny outdoors, and at our beautiful, tropical, waterfront campus that’s easy to do. Many boarding students have shared with us that just looking out the window view from their dorm room at the school’s waterfront calms them down and helps them realize the many opportunities they have because they’re attending boarding school.
We hope the next time you’re looking for how to deal with homesickness while at boarding school you’ll look around you and realize that everyone is cheering for you and that you are a crucial part of the school!