Students describe feeling of living at Rutgers, being homesick


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Photo by Ramya Chitibomma |

Homesickness is a kind of “distress and functional impairment” that is caused by an actual or anticipated separation from home and attachment objects, Chris Thurber and Edward Walton said in a research paper, “Homesickness and Adjustment in University Students.” PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY RAMYA CHITIBOMMA / DESIGN EDITOR


Last month, Hansa Naimpally, a Rutgers Business School first-year student, could not have been more excited to start her time as a Rutgers student.

“I was anxious, but also really excited because it’s a new era,” she said. “I felt like I was an actual adult for the first time.”

But that soon faded as she began to feel pangs of homesickness during classes and while with friends.

Beginning the semester, thousands of students left hometowns, and for most of them, it is their first time in a university atmosphere, far from the comfort of family and friends.

Many of them find it hard to cope with the enormous amount of change they have experienced.

Homesickness is a kind of “distress and functional impairment” that is caused by an actual or anticipated separation from home and attachment objects, Chris Thurber and Edward Walton said in a research paper, “Homesickness and Adjustment in University Students."

Students who are homesick have several resources they can use to distract themselves or learn to feel more comfortable in their new environments. Clubs, social events and schoolwork help, but if students want to talk about their issues, they can always access resident assistants.

Aparna Seshadri, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, appreciates the presence of RAs, but is not sure if she would ever approach them.

“I think that it’s helpful to have resources that are so easily accessible to us, but resident assistants are also not confidential resources, which is what makes it harder for me, personally, to feel comfortable speaking with them,” she said.

RAs are university employees before they are student’s friends, Seshadri said.

If students seek to use other resources, Rutgers Counseling, Alcohol & Other Drug Assistance Program and Psychiatric Services are available five days a week.

Students may set up appointments with CAPS to discuss what may be bothering them. CAPS is a confidential resource where students can seek guidance from professionals located on campus.

Aria Fairman, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, was particularly happy about the availability of CAPS.

“I’m happy I can access CAPS because it provides students with the opportunity to talk to professionals when much help is needed and there’s nowhere else to go,” she said.

Parker Geralds, a School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, felt differently.

“Personally, I wouldn’t talk to anyone at CAPS, because I like to deal with things on my own, but I guess it’s good that people that want to make use of it can,” he said.

“I’m always here as an RA to support students. If it’s ever really extreme, the go-to should be CAPS. Go talk to a therapist and get therapy,” James Duffy, a School of Environmental and Biological Sciences junior and RA at Lippincott Hall on Douglass Campus, said.

Although he understands how students enduring homesickness can feel, he thinks they should still live on campus to get more comfortable in their new environment.

“I was homesick a lot as a freshman, and when I was in that position, my response was to go home almost every weekend. As an RA you want to encourage students to stay and get involved in the community,” he said.


Sanjana Chandrasekharan

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