Oberlin Blogs

The Reality of Homesickness

February 28, 2024

Angelina Martinez ’25

I was born and raised in North Side Houston, an enclave of working-class, brown families. Busted concrete to maize fields; street lights to dark, endless roads; and most notably, taco and pupusa trucks along every corner to ONE Latine restaurant that serves a menu catered to Oberlin’s majority white residents. The geographic and ethnic differences chipped at my heart every day of my first semester at Oberlin. While not fully mended and with new cracks since then, I have embraced so many delights in attending college. We move away from all we have ever known to materialize our dreams and desires.  

Yet, I want you to know that homesickness is no joke. Even for the city girls who are glad to shed their cocoons and all the dead weight that comes with it, you will catch yourself spacing out. You will come across your home in a reading for one of your classes and memories will shuffle right before your eyes. You will catch yourself feverishly telling tangential stories of your home when a word reminds you of where you have come from - of what built you. You will crave home-cooked meals after Stevie has upset your stomach for the second time that week. You will passively see your siblings grow taller and into a face that does not match your precious memories. When you get the chance to visit, you will notice crow's feet in your mother’s eyes, much more than you remember leaving her with. You will miss birthdays, holidays, and traditions. For a moment, you will feel the comfort you yearn for when your warm tears fall and dampen your pillow while thinking of what you have left, of what you miss. You will mourn the experience said to haul you a step ahead in life. You learn to be appreciative when you understand what it is like to be without.  

This is not to say to prepare for the worst. There is gained freedom and choice when starting anew. There is joy in this experience! I am so excited for you to feel the autonomy in moving into a new home, a new life, and a new self. Trust me, I understand the building anticipation in watching move-in day vlogs. If you are a first-generation student, I am overjoyed for you to be the first in your lineage to take that unprecedented step. A step that will change the lives of your loved ones who have nurtured you and ones you will eventually nurture. Don’t let this blog taint your eagerness. I speak for many when I say attending a college away from home has helped us grow. New friends, new classes, new mentors, new spaces, and new joys!!! I write this not to make you any more worried than some of you may be. Instead, I write this to tell you to embrace the oncoming ensemble of new feelings!!

As the first in my family to attend college, let alone move across the country, I am not entirely sure that I could have fully prepared for the move from Houston to Oberlin, even if I knew what was to come. This may seem melodramatic, but the only one who can help you ease through the longing and newfound agency is yourself. This is for the ones who know they will ache and who are aching now. Feel through it. The clogged throats and the smoldering in your chest do not make you any weaker. Instead, it is proof of your perseverance. You got this! Think of the joy, the chances, and the agency! Embrace it all while keeping it pushing. Most importantly, keep pushing for the you with big dreams. 

And, remember, be kind to yourself

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