Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Summer research away from home

  1. Jul 13, 2008 #1
    It finally happened. I got to do some summer research away from home and for the first time left on my own. I found a room to rent and all, but whenever I stop actually doing some activity and start thinking, I just want to start balling my eyes out. My parents never really went on vacations or anything, so they or at least one of them would always be home.

    Now it's not just them, but my brother, sister, and dog. I had to take a plane, light rail, and bus to get to where I am and it didn't really hit me that I am away from home until I lied down on the bed.

    To add to that I am getting frustrated that things aren't going the way I'm used to. Of course they wouldn't. I'm someplace else now. But I have this weird OCD condition where I need routine. All of that is in shambles. I am at the mercy of my landlord. I can sort of buy the kind of food I like (we reach compromises, which is fine with me) and operate on my kind of schedule, but any sort of power I had over my own life is mostly gone now.

    How did you all cope with home sickness the first time you left home or just the first time you felt homesick?

    EDIT: I should also add that I'm still feeling a lot of anxiety. Today is just Day 2 and tomorrow is the first day I officially go and do work. I'm hoping that after a week or so (I'm here for the summer) I'll get used to it and start relaxing?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 13, 2008 #2

    lisab

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: Homesickness

    The first time I felt homesick was when I was 14. I spent the whole summer in England, meeting my new stepdad's family. I remember one night I had an intense dream of American quarters and when I woke up I just wanted to cry (:confused:).

    Homesickness is a bad feeling, with no quick-fix. The worst thing is that you have little control over your routine! I really have empathy for you.

    Can you call members of your family? That might help a little.

    Now you need to establish a new routine for yourself. Start right away - I suggest exercise, like a walk or jog in the morning or evening, if you can fit it in. Exercise will help to clear your mind.

    Hang in there - the first few days are the worst - it will get better!
     
  4. Jul 13, 2008 #3
    Re: Homesickness

    I've called my mom several times in the past two days.

    Yeah, the routine thing is the worst part. I'm staying with this family, a mother, daughter, and son (They won't always be here. Apparently I'll have the house to myself for 6 days at one point.) and they go do things together a lot. Today they took me bowling and shopping (which I have to get used to anyway), tomorrow it's a barbeque, things like that. So I'd look like a total *** if I just refused.

    But also, whenever I am doing something with them my mind is occupied so I forget about the homesickness. It's kind of a trade off, but I think what I need above all else now is to keep my mind occupied. I need to study for the GRE's, but since that's a solitary activity (I don't know anybody here or anything) my mind will start drifting.

    The thing that really hit me, though? If I ever had to go to prison, I would kill myself. The worst part of this is that I can't just get up and leave to see my family. If I had to stay in prison? Not happening. Of course, I don't do anything illegal, but for some reason that just came to my mind.

    Oh, and I'm 22, so I just feel kind of pathetic for being so homesick at this age.
     
  5. Jul 13, 2008 #4
    Re: Homesickness

    Don't feel bad about it everyone is homesick to some degree when they first leave home. I think once you start work and your mind and time are more occupied you will have less time to feel homesick. Just do what you are doing and phone home or email your family a lot so you stay in touch. Let them know you are home sick. Maybe they would be able to come visit you for a day or two. It gets easier but it will take a bit of time. Just try to stay occupied. Sounds like you are living with a nice enough family and do take them up on their offers to go out but if you need to study I am sure they will understand if you tell them you can't go because school comes first. I feel your pain about having no control over how things happen there, that can be really frustrating. It will take you time but you will soon settle into a groove.
     
  6. Jul 13, 2008 #5

    LowlyPion

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Re: Homesickness

    There will likely always be a connectedness with your past and that is a good thing to be in touch with. It's who you are - where you came from. You should be happy that you can still touch that past, because in the passing years it will surely change.

    What you may be feeling now in some ways may really be a new found appreciation for things you may have taken for granted before. Shopping, laundry, etc. It's good that you do appreciate it though. It's not a bad thing to let your folks know you appreciate them either. But in moving away now you are like a bird that is out of their nest and it's your turn to take your place in the world too, and use your wings and soar.

    I had never been away from home much through high school. Never even had been to the city, much less the campus of the school I went to. I arrived a total caricature with my reversible raincoat, umbrella, typewriter (before laptops) and a suitcase to a room with a bare mattress, a bare bulb in the ceiling and a desk that must have had 20 mm of dust from the summer on top. When I heard the door close behind me, I was overwhelmed. I laid on the bed and cried. I figured that was the worst and better must lay ahead and the sooner I got to it ... Well it did just get better from there. I called home a number of times the first week, even wrote a couple of letters (before email). Then I called a couple of times over the next month and then just tapered off as I got busy.

    The short of it is that you're sure to adapt. Remember moving away from home is like McDonalds hamburgers - Billions Served.
     
  7. Jul 14, 2008 #6
    Re: Homesickness

    My mom is a huge worry wart. I'd rather not let on that I'm seriously homesick, although I've told her that I have a lot of anxiety still. My dad would just laugh...

    Anyway, it's too far for them to come and I wouldn't want them to any way. I don't want to create a sense that they will always be there to bail me out.

    Yeah, that's one of my problems that I can't really shape my surroundings like I would like. I'm at the whim of everyone around me and that's kind of frustrating. I like controlling every aspect of my own life (don't care much about others, they can do as they like).

    Yeah, it didn't hit me either until I finally lied down on my bed and took a deep breath.

    Thanks everyone. I do actually feel better just by reading your replies.
     
  8. Jul 14, 2008 #7

    JasonRox

    User Avatar
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    Re: Homesickness

    I had none.

    I don't particular understand homesickness. As my girl and I are thinking about leaving to France, she's always talking about family and home. To me, that just ruins it because I rather she be fully open to seeing France as a home country if we enjoyed it there.

    I'm in Quebec City right now, in area where it is not my main spoken language, very far from home, and I live in an apartment where you would swear I am on crack. The reality is that this summer has been the time of my life. Going back home in 3 weeks and I will miss it here. (Coming back next summer for sure. :) )

    Homesickness? I've never talked to any friends from home or family. I don't see the purpose of "keeping" up while not there.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2008
  9. Jul 14, 2008 #8

    Integral

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: Homesickness

    I did not have much trouble with it. Though I recall one specific instance that actually changed my life. In January of 1970 I was 19 yrs old and stationed at Great Lakes Naval Training center. I was Northwest born and raised and had never experienced cold like you find in the Midwest. Also I spend much of my teen years camping and hiking in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. One night I was standing a mid watch which consisted of standing behind a podium waiting for new students (this was at the Navy Electronics school) to check in. I was looking out through glass doors to a frozen windblown wasteland. I closed my eyes and listened to wind in the forest canopy, smelled the fir trees and dreamed of being back in woods at home.

    I then was faced with the fact that that was not my reality, if I continued to dream such dreams and wish for the unobtainable I would go crazy. At that moment I understood that I had to accept life, and the current conditions what ever they may be. I had to do my best to deal with present conditions. In that instant I ceased to be a creature of the outdoors and became an inside person. I have never changed back,

    You must but your past behind you, maintain the memories but do not dwell on them, deal with what life presents you. Every moment is an adventure, live life and relish the changes. You will always be dealing with changes, learn to love them.
     
  10. Jul 14, 2008 #9

    BobG

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Re: Homesickness

    I never had a problem with homesickness. I don't think homesickness runs in my family. At one point, my parents had seven kids with each one living in a different state.

    It's great to be visiting my parents at the same time one of my brothers and sisters are visiting, since we almost never see each other, but all of us were pretty independent before we moved out of the house, let alone after.

    I wouldn't consider visiting my parents as going back home, because they moved again after I'd already left home. For the first 40 years of my life, the longest I ever lived in one house was base housing in the military (after I'd moved out). The second longest was another house in base housing in the military. I've never lived in one place long enough for it to become permanently affixed as home, although where I'm getting pretty close to it where I live now. I don't think I'd be very enthusiastic about leaving Colorado.
     
  11. Jul 14, 2008 #10

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: Homesickness

    I never got homesick, couldn't really understand why others did experience it. When I left home, initially for college, I was more than ready to get out on my own. While everyone else's parents were hanging around, clinging, helping them carry everything into the dorms, lingering, etc., mine just unloaded everything from the car onto the lawn in front of the dorm, and said "bye," and I was on my own to move my stuff in.

    I was talking with some people the other night while at a wedding, and they were talking about all the times they moved, or their kids moved, and parents getting tired of moving their kids...I didn't really have anything to contribute to that conversation. I never had help from my parents. Some moves I did totally solo, some I grabbed a few friends with trucks and who could help lift heavy stuff, and one I had professional movers.

    Like BobG, my parents left home about 10 years after I did, so where they live never was my home anyway.

    Though, I'm not sure why you say you have no control over your life now. That seems odd if you're finally living on your own. You should have more control, not less. If you want to do things a certain way, you can, there's nobody else to tell you otherwise.

    Yeah, I have experienced the challenge of finding food I like in different places I've lived though. It takes a while to get used to the different brands in the stores, or living in a place where some things just aren't in the stores at all and need to be mail ordered, or require finding specialty shops to buy. But, you should be able to find all the basics. Sometimes it has even inspired new challenges and hobbies. When I lived in MI, I could NOT find bread I liked anywhere, not even in bakeries (well, unless I wanted to pay $10 a loaf, which I didn't), so I learned to bake bread. Aside from eventually getting the knack of it so I could have bread the way I liked it, it also gave me something to do on the cold, snowy nights when I didn't have anything else to do. I also made more friends that way...apparently I wasn't the only one there who craved good bread, so I just brought some to the office with me and found all the kindred spirits.

    I think it's even easier now than when I first started out on my own. Back then, you didn't have websites for every town in the US telling you exactly what there was to do in that town, and it could take a while of exploring to start finding things you liked to do. Now, I just get online, look up what there is for nightlife, or weekend activities, or summer festivals, etc., and quickly find new things to do and new people who also like doing them.

    Or, just ask some of the other students in the lab what they do for fun.
     
  12. Jul 14, 2008 #11
    Re: Homesickness

    You can also become "sick of the home" if you know what I mean.
     
  13. Jul 15, 2008 #12

    BobG

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Re: Homesickness

    Shoot! When I moved out of the house, my parents sold everything I left behind at a garage sale!

    Okay, actually it was a little over 2 years after I left home and they sold it because they were moving to a different state, but still ....... :frown:
     
  14. Jul 15, 2008 #13

    berkeman

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Homesickness

    I'm an Army brat (a term for the child of a career military officer), so we moved all over the world when I was a kid. I got pretty used to leaving friends and familiar places, and relocating and making new friends and getting to know new places. That's probably why I didn't get homesick when it was time for me to go to college and beyond.

    One suggestion for you -- do you have a webcam on your PC? How about your parents? Instead of just talking on the phone, you could talk with video on your PCs. Being able to see familiar faces and surroundings and pets may give you some comfort, to help you ease past this intial difficulty.
     
  15. Jul 15, 2008 #14

    Astronuc

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Re: Homesickness

    I was ready to leave home when I was 4 - but it was more like wandering around. I didn't know I was supposed to stay home. :biggrin: I was curious from stories like "Jack and Beanstalk" who set off to find his fortune, only I didn't have any magic beans. A nice policeman found me sitting under a tree down by the bay.

    Actually I couldn't wait to get out my parents home. I had already been working for 2 years in order to pay for college, and when it came to college, I took a dorm rooom, and then an apartment either by myself or with friends.

    In Australia, my parents moved about every two years, and then we moved to the US (so I'm far from my original home), where we lived in a rented house for 6 years, and then they bought a house, where I lived for 2 years, when I left for university.

    I'm settled now, and have been in the same house for 18 years, but I enjoy traveling overseas whenever possible. I prefer the stability for my family. If I was single, I'd probably drift about.

    Home is wherever I happen to be, and I have many friends around the world whom I'd like to see more often.
     
  16. Jul 15, 2008 #15
    Re: Homesickness

    The family I'm staying with is really going out on a limb to take me in, so I feel it would be rude if I refused to do some activities they are inviting me to, like bowling or dinner or something.

    It's not anything major, it's a bunch of minor things that adds up. Like if I want to go to the store, I have to go when they do, because I don't have access to a car or anything. And with something like bread, there's no way I'll eat a loaf by myself before it expires, so I compromise with them on what type to get. That actually turned out for the better, but that's just kind of my point.

    I guess you're right, though. I can always refuse and do something else. I think I'll get a bit more "freedom" as the days go by and everybody gets used to me and I get used to the new place.
     
  17. Jul 15, 2008 #16

    turbo

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Re: Homesickness

    Do you have a hobby around which you can build a routine of regular activities? For instance, if you have a camera and you make it a habit to go out every nice evening and take pictures, the family might not be at all offended if you wanted to spend the evening doing that instead of going to a bowling alley. It would be nice if you shared the pictures with them too, since they would see that the hobby is important to you and that your daily forays are something you enjoy.

    It doesn't have to be photography, either. That's just a suggestion, but nature photography is a good excuse for me to get out and about, and it came to mind. If there is a nice pedestrian park nearby, you might want to consider a daily jog or at least a brisk walk for 1/2 hour to an hour. The exercise is great for you, and if the park is a non-threatening place, you may find yourself getting to know a few of the locals outside of your host family - that will make the new town more "yours". Good luck.
     
  18. Jul 15, 2008 #17

    Moonbear

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Re: Homesickness

    Ah, I didn't realize you weren't just living in an apartment. I don't think that's the same as homesickness. I think it's more you're feeling the stress of having to adjust to another family's lifestyle rather than just that you've left your own family. And, if you're dependent on this "surrogate family" to do stuff, then it's probably also some boredom since you can't just head out and explore in your free time.
     
  19. Jul 15, 2008 #18
    Re: Homesickness

    Can you try to socialise a bit with some of the people you work with? That is a good distraction. Even doing something simple like bringing cookies to share will help you feel a bit more rooted.

    [​IMG]

    Even though Canada geese poop all over everything back home, spotting this one in a Dutch canal made me very homesick. The goose (and his girlfriend) have moved into the kitsch little floating nest box.
     
  20. Jul 15, 2008 #19
    Re: Homesickness

    It's like going to sub-urb camp.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?



Similar Discussions: Summer research away from home
  1. Work from Home scams (Replies: 18)

Loading...