Moving away from home can be tough, whether it’s your first time being away or you’ve been off to summer camp every year you can remember. New faces and new places replacing old routines can be exciting, but stressful. Elena Gosalvez-Blanco, Director of Exeter Summer, echoed this sentiment in an email sent home to parents earlier this year. “Many children feel some level of homesickness when they come to Exeter Summer. This is normal!” Homesickness can affect people of all ages. In fact, it affects nearly 70 percent of all people who have been away from home, so don’t feel ashamed if you find yourself longing for home.
Luckily, there are tricks to help cope with homesickness as you transition into a new routine at Exeter Summer. You can keep familiar things around your dorm room. Decorate your room with photos from home or an item tied to your family and friends. This gives you an anchor to help you feel connected to home even when you’re away. But remember to balance the new and the old. Embrace the changes of your new environment while also having some snippets of comfort from back home. Keep a journal or reach out to others. Talk to friends and family, but be sure not to obsess over your home. There is a balance between connecting back home and moving on to where you are now.
The best thing to do when you’re feeling pangs of nostalgia for the familiar is to get out of your dorm room and integrate yourself into your new surroundings. If it’s a beautiful day outside, walk down to Stillwells to grab yourself some refreshing ice cream, an Italian ice, or splurge on a glazed doughnut ice cream sandwich. Go for a run and explore Swasey Parkway or the beautiful trails in the Exeter Woods. Stop by the quads to sit and relax on the adirondack chairs or to play Frisbee or Spikeball. At first, you might feel twinges of loneliness at Exeter, but it’s important to realize that everyone else here is also new. People are always looking for things to do and new friends to meet. With time, you’ll see that Exeter Summer is your home away from home.