After dreading the seven-hour drive from Corpus Christi, I felt a sense of relief when my family and I arrived in Nacogdoches. Our little, gray Nissan Pathfinder was overloaded with junk, clothes and necessities. I was ready to get out of the car and stretch my legs. Not to mention my little brother asking, “Are we there yet?” every five minutes was getting annoying. As we turned into Steen Hall’s parking lot, I looked up at the two tall circular buildings and thought, “This is going to be my new home!” Only then I did not know how much I was going to miss my family, especially after what happened my first semester.
I was living my best life. I loved all of my classes, made new friends and was discovering a new town. However, just when I thought everything was going perfect, my mom called with devastating news: my nana was dying.
“Amanda, nana’s cancer came back,” my mom told me as she fought back the tears. “This time it’s stage four, and has metastasized in her liver.”
My heart stopped, and I could barely breathe. My nana was my best friend, my comforter and the person I could always turn to. She was dying, and I could not be there. I was seven hours away with no car. I was stuck in Nacogdoches, while my cousins from Missouri, North Carolina and Alaska were coming in to say goodbye. I was mad at myself because I could not be with my family when they needed me the most. Why did I go to a college so far from my home? Why did I leave my family behind? I questioned why I chose to go to SFA. I had never felt more alone.
When my nana passed away, my dad drove to pick me up so I could attend her funeral. I emailed my professors, letting them know what was going on and that I was going to be out of town for a couple of days. I was utterly shocked by their responses. I was expecting them not to really care, but I was very wrong. All of my professors told me that they would keep me in their thoughts and prayers. They said that if I needed anything, they were there for me. They reassured me that I was not alone. Even though I was going through a depressing time in my life, they made me feel at home.
During this time, I was extremely homesick and wanted to leave SFA, but my professors encouraged me not to quit. They reminded me I had a goal that my nana would want me to achieve. I’m glad I never left. I love where I am and who I’m becoming. This experience has made me a stronger, more independent person. I realized I had a dream I was not done with.
My friends were also a big help. They took me out, and we explored Nacogdoches. It may be a small town, but it has a bunch of hidden treasures. I developed relationships that I hope last a lifetime because I can’t imagine life without them. They helped me see Nac as my home away from home.
Homesickness is very real, and most college students have it, but don’t let it defeat you. You already took the first steps. You applied, got accepted and went to Orientation. You have your goal set. People are rooting for you. Make them proud, but most importantly, make yourself proud. If you need someone to talk to, professors help a lot. SFA also offers counseling services, for those who need them. Don’t let homesickness get in the way of your goal. When it hits you hard, think about why you started and why you are here.