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Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership for Diverse Learning Communities
Homesickness is a complex phenomenon that operates on a spectrum and impacts individuals' psychological, cognitive, and physical functioning. Sufferers experience a preoccupation of home and a strong desire to return home. In higher education, homesickness among first-year students has been linked to a higher risk of dropping out of school, symptoms of depression and anxiety, and a lack of satisfaction with the overall college experience. Through the lens of belongingness theory, this phenomenological study examined the essence of the homesick experience among first-time undergraduate college students living in the residence halls of a private Catholic college in the Northeast. The seven participants self-identified as experiencing homesickness during their first week away from home and agreed to participate in three semistructured interviews across the span of the Fall 2020 semester when COVID-19 precautions were in place. Most participants spoke about homesickness as a paradoxical experience filled with mixed emotions. Common triggers of homesickness included reminders of home, a lack of activities and connections, and being alone. Participants indicated that establishing a sense of comfort in their new environment played a central role in reducing symptoms of homesickness. Lastly, the COVID-19 pandemic prolonged students’ homesickness and created an additional obstacle from achieving a sense of belonging at college. This study adds important dimensions to the complex nature of homesickness and its progression for first-year college students. Recommendations for parental guardians, higher education administration, and students are outlined for reducing or avoiding homesickness.
Ferrara, Talita Santos, "Understanding the Homesick Experience Through the Narratives of First-Year College Residential Students" (2022). Theses & Dissertations. 119.