Thursday, January 14, 2016

How to defeat the "leaving home" blues

Kaixo everyone!

So, on Saturday, I am flying back to Illinois to start my second semester of my first PhD year. As usual, I am a bit nervous, since crossing an ocean is a tedious, burdening experience which usually results in my stomach acting weird or my fever rising. Something that I've talked about here is how hard it is for me to go back every semester. I am not sure of my future or where I will end up, if I will finish the PhD, if I will move there permanently or move back, etc. And all these questions usually start making an appearance right when I've had a relaxing, lovely time back home with my family and friends. I didn't do anything special for Christmas, and that made it the most special. Being around family and friends is the biggest blessing for me. Being back to "normal" life. So when those questions come to my head and the time to leave my loved ones comes, I usually get anxious, depressed, and cry more often than usual (and I mean, I cry when I see a random street in my town because I won't see it till summer).

In spite of this, the world is not stopping, and I am catching that flight on Saturday. And many others are too, no matter if it is going to school two hours away, 8 hours away or 2 countries away. It is a common experience to feel sad when leaving home, family, friends and what is normal to you. Since I have had to do this for 5 semesters now, I have learnt to cope with the following strategies:

- Cry it out: This sounds like a childish solution, but crying is cathartic and if you express your sadness and even tell someone about it while sobbing, let me tell you, it feels SO GOOD after it. Do not bottle up your worries and your sadness, it'll be worse if you do so.

- Pack early: I'm leaving on Saturday, so I started packing on Tuesday and plan to finish today. You don't want to be stressed out the last minute before leaving, and my golden rule is to keep my last day to myself, my friends and my closest family (my parents and sister).

- Say your goodbyes early: Not as early as packing, but avoid having to cram all your grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins the day before you leave. You will feel less emotional and will not start crying and make them feel terrible after. They are worried and sad they will not see you for months, so make the last time they see you a happy experience, or at least try to (no judgment if you cry, we're all humans after all).

- Treat yo self to things from home that make you happy: AKA food and drinks, for me. That delicious baguette from the bakery? Check. Real-deal chorizo? Check. Custards? Check. A nice, inexpensive, vodka orange Fanta cocktail? Double check. No time to think about dieting, you are sad, about to leave your home and you won't see those delicacies (or at least some of them) in months. TREAT. YO. SELF.

- Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you: Hug your family and friends, tell them you love them and you will miss them. Because you will, and they will too.

- Get excited about at least one thing for when you go back: I'm visiting a Lilly Pulitzer store right when I get to Chicago and taking the bus from the mall later to go back to Champaign. No long wait in the airport and cute clothes? I'll take it.

- Be happy that being away from home means you value it more than you ever could: There's no place like home.

Do you all have any strategies to deal with parting from home. Let me know!

- Ane


  1. Honestly, sometimes crying it out is the best option. :]

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    1. It really does help! Thank you Carmen! :)

  2. These are really great tips. and yes i agree about crying! lol
    XO Ellen from Ask Away