Missing My Sisters

College is all sorts of exhilarating. However, some days, the excitement wears away, and you may find yourself sitting in your room, missing your friends and family. Homesickness and loneliness are very common feelings among both first year and returning students. Personally, I have two younger sisters and I miss them every day. My sister Melissa attends SUNY Geneseo, and my sister Whitney attends Boston College. Last year was the first time in our lives that we were all apart for more than a few days, and it was tough on all of us.

Left to right: Melissa, Whitney, and I, last summer (2013) before they went off to college.
Left to right: Melissa, Whitney, and I, last summer (2013) before we all went off to college.

Dealing with separation anxiety and feelings of loneliness is something I have grown better at as I have gotten more adjusted to college life, but it is certainly still difficult. However, there are several things I have found especially helpful for me and my sisters when it comes to coping with missing one another:

  • Taking pictures

When my sisters and I are together, we take lots of pictures and print them out. Then, when we return to school, we have lots of photographs to tape to our walls and stick on our mini fridges. These pictures make me smile and remind me of happy memories, rather than keeping me stuck in the moment and being lonely. Surrounding yourself with images of your friends and family may help you to feel less homesick. Similarly, taking pictures with friends on campus and sending them to my sisters helps them feel connected to me while I am away at school. This is also great because it keeps me from dwelling on my life at home and allows me to focus on enjoying the present moment. Remember, while you have family and friends back home that loves you and supports you, you also have your UC family here that has your back.

  • Keeping in touch

My sisters and I have a special group chat on our phones that we are constantly using. We send each other funny stories from our day, pictures of cute puppies, recipes we want to try together, and weird articles we read. This helps us feel more connected throughout the semester, so if we have to go a while without seeing one another, we still feel included in little parts of each others’ lives. Keeping in touch with your friends during your busy day doesn’t have to mean scheduling an hour-long Skype date; it can be as easy as forwarding a link to a funny YouTube video. Sharing those few minutes of time with your loved one might just make your day.

  • Visiting one another

Obviously, the best way to keep from missing my sisters is to visit them. However, with three busy schedules to coordinate, planning a trip is easier said than done. But for those occasions when we can find time to visit one another, we jump at the chance. One of my best memories from last semester was when Melissa and I surprised Whitney by showing up on the BC campus on St Patrick’s Day just to take her out to lunch. Though it may require effort, planning time to visit your friends’ colleges can help you better understand your friends’ (or siblings’) new world. Meeting their friends, exploring their campus, and eating in their dining hall is a great way to connect with them in this new part of their life. Plus, it will help you better understand who they are talking about when they tell you stories about their friends!

Melissa, Me, and Whitney at Boston College last spring
Melissa, Me, and Whitney at Boston College last spring
  • Handwritten letters

I absolutely love writing letters to my sisters. I often make them cards with plenty of glitter and stickers, and try to make the envelopes as jazzy as possible so that the mailroom staff at their colleges know just how cool and crafty I am. There is nothing better than a handwritten note, and writing to your friends is sure to make their day. Whether you make a card yourself out of construction paper and Sharpies or buy one from the Dollar Store, I guarantee your friend will love it.

  • Returning to normalcy

The most important part of missing my sisters for me is making sure we have time together during holiday breaks and summer that is relaxed and normal. After a busy semester, it can feel strange to go back home to your “old life,” and spending time with high school friends may feel weird. This is totally normal, but you don’t need to let it deter you from maintaining your relationships with your friends and family from home. Recognize that you are growing and changing as a person, and so are they. Spending time with friends from home without putting pressure on the situation- in other words, just hanging out like you used to, instead of making every get together into a huge reunion- will allow your relationship to develop naturally and will help you both feel more comfortable when it comes time to return to school once more.

Melissa, Whitney, and I at a Syracuse Chiefs game this summer (2014). Just hanging out together like we used to helps us feel better when its time to go our separate ways for the semester.
Melissa, Whitney, and I at a Syracuse Chiefs game this summer (2014). Just hanging out together like we used to over breaks helps us feel better when it is time to go our separate ways for the semester.

While homesickness and loneliness are totally normal things to experience at school, don’t let it keep you from enjoying your life at UC. Share your feelings- with your roommate, your RA, your professor, a counselor, or that random guy that sits next to you in Bio. Chances are, they have felt the same way, and will be willing to talk to you until you feel better. Keeping communication open with your UC family, along with keeping in touch with those you are missing using the tips above, will help you cope with missing your friends and allow you to enjoy your semester here at UC.

 

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