By Cameron Copeland |

Dorothy was right when she said “there’s no place like home.” 

Nothing beats the comfort of your own bed, homemade meals, or the warm embraces from loved ones. I had always valued these aspects in my life, but I never realized how much I could miss home until I moved to Baylor University. 

Before starting school at Baylor, I was impatiently counting down the days to move into my dorm and Welcome Week. I dreamt of all the events and games I’d go to, the friends and connections I’d make and the freedom I’d finally have. 

I was eager to start the next chapter of my life in my new home away from home.

During the move-in process, I was so eager to see my friends and attend the events on campus that I said goodbye to my mom before the day was over.

As much as I loved the idea of living 115 miles away from my parents in Carrollton, Texas, my first month at Baylor was rough. All the excitement of living away from my parents quickly diminished and I desperately wanted to go back home.

My homesickness was a complete surprise to me because I felt that I had been prepared for the start of a new chapter in my life. 

Within my first month of living in Waco, I’d come to realize how losing the conveniences of home negatively affected me and contributed to my homesickness. 

Instead of going back to my house after class, I came back to the old, poorly air conditioned dorm I shared with my roommate. The amount of times I got sick within that month of staying in my dorm, suffering from both homesickness and actual sickness, did not help my case.

I no longer had the luxury of the convenient distances between my friends houses and mine. I lived 2 hours and 45 minutes away and the only thing I could do was tough it out. 

I’ve never been the type to breakdown, but the second my parents asked me if I had missed home, that’s exactly what happened; I broke. I cried hysterically and begged them to come down and visit me, or to pick me up and let me spend the weekends with them. 

It wasn’t until my parents shed light on the support systems I had in Waco, that I saw my silver-lining.

Blinded by my feelings of loneliness and negative perception of independence, I had completely forgotten about my family friends who lived 15 minutes away from campus and were always available. So, I started taking the opportunity to visit them whenever I could. 

Whenever I was having a bad day or just wanted to get away from campus, I’d call my family friend and the next thing I knew, I was playing Uno and Catchphrase or learning how to make fabric pumpkins. 

She would pick me up to go grocery shopping, run errands, or just have a day with only the two of us. I got home-cooked meals out of every visit and a warm embrace to match them. She gave me advice and became not only the closest person I could call when I just needed to vent, but also my second mom in a matter of a month. 

It was initially difficult for me to find my sense of home in Waco, but for those who aren’t from Texas or don’t have anyone they can go to when life gets overwhelming, it may be even more difficult. 

So, here are my words of advice: When you’re feeling lonely or homesick, branch out and find the right community that speaks to you and gives you your own sense of home. 

Join a club that sparks interest in you. If you already have a church group, connect with peers and do bible study or go get coffee together. Talk to people in your classes and schedule study sessions with them. Or, even if you’re in line at Starbucks or Common Grounds, strike up a conversation with the baristas, they’re extremely friendly.  

Whether it be a church group, club/organization, or another family, go out and find the support system you need to get you through the times when you’re missing home the most.

Finding your own home away from home will be one of the best things you’ll do in college.