Behind the Scenes of Homesickness

By: Tiffany Contreras

I sat on my bed and cried all night. I didn’t want to talk to anyone or leave my room. The crazy thought of walking home to California from Idaho had crossed my mind, which is over 900 miles.

I’ve been through many difficult storms in life, but nothing hurt worse than leaving my parents: the two people I love more than anyone. And if you know me, you know why.

This was a feeling I had never experienced. Everything around me made me feel like a Martian: the small-town, the kind people and the surviving on my own. Little by little things became easier and I began to realize what it meant to be on your own, but I still felt that no one could relate to what I was going through. Sure: we’re all in school, trying to make a better life for ourselves, but how many had a beautiful, intense, loving, caring relationship with their parents? Everyone has these wonderful, big families. As much as I admire that, I love my small family of just my parents, myself and my two dogs.

In a world where you feel you’re alone and non-relatable, you find something that proves someone out there is just like you. You’re not the only one who waits for letters from home or boxes of goodies. I often find these moments of relation in film: a wondrous place of creativity, fantasy and reality.

“You’ll feel so homesick that you’ll want to die, and there’s nothing you can do about it — apart from endure it,” said Ailish in the new, striking movie “Brooklyn.”

Photo Courtesy: Brooklyn; The Weinstein Company; Focus Features; Fox Searchlight Pictures

“But you will, and it won’t kill you. Then one day, the sun will come out – you might not even notice straight away – it’ll be that faint. And then you’ll catch yourself thinking about something or someone who has no connection with the past – someone who’s only yours, and you’ll realize that this is where your life is.” 

According to statistics reported by Adam’s WRD Blog, “about 35 percent of college students will experience homesickness,” and “30 percent of the college students that will drop out do it not just because of grades or finances, but also because they don’t feel at home at school.”

Ailish had moved to Brooklyn, New York all the way from Ireland. I watched her cry as she ached for her home. Even though I’ve been going through this for four semesters now, the first four days are always the hardest. Knowing someone had gone through the same thing – even if it is a movie – made me feel better. There’s a form of comfort in not only knowing, but seeing someone experience your experience.

If you’re at a point in your life where you’re far away from home and loved ones and feel like you’re losing your mind, find what comforts you and take refuge in it. Sometimes all it takes is one powerful song, one powerful movie or one powerful person to ease the pain and let you FEEL that you’re not alone. That’s all it took for me.

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