Homesickness and seasonal depression make life hard entering college

Saniya Powell, Contributing Writer

It’s getting to that time of the semester where most freshmen — including myself — start to feel homesick.

This is the first big adventure on our own terms. There are no parents to tell us to do things, no more bells ringing when class ends and most important of all, no more home-cooked meals.

Illustration by Connor Lawless

It’s true what people say, college is supposed to be the best four years of your life, but partying, going out and staying up until 4 a.m. gets boring after a while.

According to, “over 30 percent of college students experience low-level homesickness. And about 69 percent of first-year college students experience severe homesickness.”

Something that doesn’t help is not having a support system at school. When I first got to Quinnipiac University, I felt like everyone else already came in with friends in our class, while freshmen like myself were just meeting people for the first time. I recently observed this in my dorm building. Everyone knows everyone, but when someone doesn’t socialize on the floor, they feel out of the loop.

Homesickness also coexists with seasonal depression, which is a mood disorder characterized by depression that happens at the same time annually. Mine is usually around the start of school, while someone else’s could be around spring and summer. As someone with seasonal depression, it is really hard to find any motivation sometimes. It creates a numbness and manic feeling of not wanting to do anything.

My emotions run on the sunlight hitting my skin. I tend to sit out while it’s a sunny day, but rainy days make me want to curl up in bed and take a nap.

Seasonal depression affects many people, but college students are hit harder because they stay up later and wake up early for class. Students spend so much time doing homework and getting involved in clubs that they often don’t spend much time outside during the colder months.

Seasonal depression for first years isn’t uncommon. I hear countless times in the halls from first-year students about the sunny days we had at the beginning of the year compared to these sad, gray days.

New college students also experience a lot of stress as they are living in a new environment for the first time, typically with someone that they have never met before.

“Students have experienced a change in their normal biological circadian rhythms in college,” said Gabrielle Fiorella, editor-in-chief of The Monitor. “Going from being with family everyday, to being independent, to living with strangers who hopefully become close friends, to choosing close friends to live with if possible.”

It is depressing not being in the family environment that I have grown to love or not seeing the friends from home everyday like I used to. It is hard to live with strangers for the first year you are at a college or university. Most people choose to have a roommate randomly selected for them, hoping to find their best friend, support system or just someone to talk to.

I was nervous about having a random roommate since I had no idea who I would be living with. I answered various questions like what time I went to bed, if I like the room cold or hot or if I am messy or neat. I was so happy when I met my roommate for the first time, and now we get along so well.

Going home this weekend made me realize how many things I miss while I’m at college. I miss hanging out with my high school friends, sleeping in my own bed, driving, being with my family and, most of all, I miss having the privacy in my home.

I now realize the simple things I took for granted.