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The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

The Student News Site of University of California - San Diego

The UCSD Guardian

Homesickness: The forgotten struggle of out-of-state students

For many students, college is the first time they live away from home for an extended period of time. With that distance comes a feeling of homesickness and the difficulty of dealing with living in an entirely new environment.
Image by Allen Chen for The UCSD Guardian

While many consider academic challenges or financial troubles to be the hardest part of going away to college, people often overlook the effects of leaving home and being dropped into a completely new place with unfamiliar people.

For out-of-state students, the new California environment can prompt a feeling of displacement. Halle Quadracci, Seventh College junior, described the culture shock she experienced moving from Wisconsin to UC San Diego. 

“I miss how friendly people in Wisconsin are,” Quadracci said. “People I’ve met here kind of just want to fulfill their own fantasy, and that makes them cold.”

Piper Crane, a Seventh College freshman, mentioned the difference in culture between her hometown in Massachusetts and UCSD.

“Sometimes I’ll just mention some random slang, and someone will be like ‘Piper, what the [f—] are you talking about?’’’ Crane said.

Crane elaborated on the differences between living in a small town and a large campus like UCSD. While she felt like she “knew everyone” in her Massachusetts town, at a school with over 30,000 students, knowing everyone on campus is impossible. 

Another struggle for out-of-state students is that it is more difficult for them to go home, whether on weekends or over longer breaks. 

Quadracci reported that she can only go back to Wisconsin over longer breaks due to flight lengths and prices. She is attending both summer sessions, which last until September 7, only a few weeks before the start of Fall Quarter. That means she won’t be returning home for the entire summer. Despite this, she plans to fly home for the Fourth of July and a few other weekends during summer session.

“I definitely have a greater appreciation for Wisconsin now. I miss the trees, the humidity, and all the grass,” Quadracci reminisced.

Culture shock and inaccessibility of visits are major causes of homesickness for out-of-state students. The absence of these obstacles makes for an entirely different college experience for local students.

Pablo Valasqez, a Seventh College junior, is local to San Diego. Although he does get homesick during harder weeks, he enjoys having the opportunity to go home every other weekend. 

“Sometimes it can feel lonely being away from home for too long,” Valasqez said. 

There are also students who live in-state, but not locally. Macy Millen is a freshman in Seventh College who is originally from Santa Cruz, California. Millen has been able to go home once or twice a quarter but has not during this quarter.

“I miss places that I used to go to and people that I was really close to, like my best friend,” Millen said.

However, not every student experiences homesickness throughout the year. Maya Siple, a freshman in Revelle College from Colorado, said that although she experienced some homesickness at the start of the year, she now feels more comfortable with her life at UCSD. 

“My homesickness was the worst when I felt like my life was still in Colorado,” Siple said. “Now that I’ve built more relationships here and have more of my life out here, I feel like my life is here now.”

When asked if she is ready for the end of the year, Siple answered, “Yes and no. I’m going to miss the people here, but am also excited to take a little break and go home for a bit.”

While some students feel that time in college has curbed their homesickness, others have found it progressively more difficult to be away from home.

“As time goes on, I’m more and more like, [f—], I’m never going to live at home again,”’ Quadracci said. For her, this was a daunting realization.

Crane said that she did not feel homesick at all in the fall, but that her homesickness has increased more and more as the year has gone on. On the other hand, Millen said that her homesickness was the worst at the start of college, and has gotten better over time. 

Stella Riley, a freshman in John Muir College from Chicago, explained how her emotions toward home changed over the course of the school year.

“At the beginning of the year, it was a lot of change,” Riley said. “There was a little bit of sadness wanting to go back to a safer place. As the year has gone on, it’s become more of an excitement to see people from home.”

However, for those who have friends on the semester system, the end of the year can be difficult. Because semester schedules end about a month before quarter schedules, UCSD students begin their summer later than their semester system counterparts.

“I want to be home because everyone else is,” Crane said.

“The old high school group chat is back and everyone’s hanging out,” Siple added. 

However, there are always ways to fight homesickness. Riley recommended keeping in touch with friends from home while continuing to build relationships with friends at UCSD.

Riley has been able to do this through her sorority, Pi Phi. 

“It’s a really great group of people who are really welcoming,” she said. “I’ve made a ton of friends through it, and had so many great experiences.”

As UCSD students settle into their new lives, they will continue to find ways to cope with their homesickness. 

About the Contributors
Kyan Baker
Kyan Baker, Staff Writer
Kyan Baker is a 2nd year at UCSD. His interests include hiking, eating leftovers, and competitive Mario Kart.
Allen Chen
Allen Chen, Illustrator
Allen Chen is a third year HCI Design major, and a lactose-intolerant ice cream lover.
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